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In northern Ontario school comes to the children by rail in 1954

The Story


How can children learn when they live too far from a school? In northern Ontario, it comes to them. In this CBC Newsmagazine report, we meet William Wright, who has taught in a school car since 1928.  His classroom -- a train car -- is pulled from town to town by the Canadian Pacific railway, and he stays in each place for a week to teach the children of woodsmen, trappers and railway section men. The railway car is also home to Wright and his wife, who is seen preparing a meal in their kitchen on wheels.

Medium: Television
Program: CBC Newsmagazine
Broadcast Date: Dec. 12, 1954
Duration: 3:27

Did You know?


• A Jan 14, 1927 article in the Globe and Mail tells the story of railway car schoolteachers bringing Christmas gifts (organized and donated by such groups as the IODE and the Presbyterian Women's Missionary Executive) to children living along the rail lines.

• On May 3, 1937, the Globe and Mail reported that School Car No. 1 served the districts between Cartier and Chapleau, Ont. The places it stopped were Pogomasing, Matagama, Eureka, Ramsey, Rideout, and Kinogama. The car stayed for one week, with classes held between the hours of 9 a.m. to noon and 1 to 4 p.m.  This meant that each child had one full week of school every six weeks.  In the winter the children arrived by skis, snowshoes, and in one instance, by dog team.

• The founder and director of the “car schools,” as they were known, was James MacDougall. He was born in Scotland, and died in Toronto in 1950.


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