Monday, 10 June 2013

Ellice Avenue: Knowledge is Power

John M King School tablet

One of my favourite West End landmarks is the "Knowledge is Power" tablet on Ellice Avenue just west of Maryland, (artist unknown). From 1905 - 1963 it stood above the main doors of the original John M. King School, named for John Mark King, a long-time principal of Manitoba College.

Manitoba Free Press, October 30, 1906

Though considered cutting-edge when it was built, the first official call to demolish the structure and build anew came in 1948. At that time a commission found the school in poor condition and, despite a 1920s addition to the rear, provided inadequate space for the expected post-war influx of students.

By 1961 the building was still in use but pressure was mounting. The school had 700 students and grade 6 classes had to be bussed to Isbister School for lessons. 

The original John M. King School ca. unknown (source)

In 1963 plans were drawn up for a new single-storey, 30-room school with a unique, enclosed playground in the courtyard of the building. Construction began on August 1 and the building was ready for the 1964 / 65 school year.

Demolition of the original building took place over the summer of 1964 and the tablet was installed on the same spot over which it stood for 60 years, the exact date of the installation is unknown.

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