Excavators began slowly clawing away at the wood skeleton of Sir Alexander Mackenzie School in Inuvik, N.W.T. Friday.
The school closed in 2012 with the completion of the new East Three superschool.
Sir Alexander Mackenzie was built in 1959 as a residential school before becoming an elementary school managed by the territory.
Many in the town gathered to watch the demolition, including former student Sydney Dunlop.
"A lot of people had bad memories in this place," she said. "Taking it away is kind of letting that all go, I guess. Then there was my generation where this was my childhood, and this was a good childhood. As much as you hate school, it is still your school."
It will take the crews a day or two to bring down the whole building. After that, the community will come up with a plan for the property.