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Remembering the good old school days at Pinecrest and Queen Elizabeth

The year 1968 marked the end of the Picton Public School Board after more than a 100 years.

Chairman W.W. Evans noted in a 1968 commemorative Picton Public Schools yearbook, that a new County Board will assume educational policy.

“Naturally, it is regrettable when long-established institutions are replaced but this 1967-8 board is proud of what we have been able to plan and bring to reality during this last year – the fine new addition to Queen Elizabeth Public School… that will serve the community well for many years.”

Queen Elizabeth School was built in 1953-54 on the site of the old Picton Collegiate that burned to the ground in May, 1952. As the population of students increased, Queen Elizabeth became the main school for children in Picton.

Principal Carl Reid stated both the Mary Street and York Street schools would be closed permanently at the end of June.

“These old buildings have provided the educational setting for literally thousands of boys and girls. Hundreds of teachers, may with names long forgotten, have shephered and corrected and inspired pupils in the old classrooms over half-a-dozen generations.

“As we write, the vibrant sound of construction drifts in through the open office windows and we can envision the fine, new accommodation for increased educational opportunity going up at Queen Elizabeth. In September, all of our boys and girls, all our teachers, will be in one location.”

Mary Street School

Ann Walmsley, based on an interview with Miss Mary Dunkley, shared recollections of Mary Street School, erected in 1871, with an addition built in 1930. Walmsley notes the janitors lived in the school and were given three small rooms in the basement.

“There wasn’t a very large playground because most of it was taken up by 50 cords of wood which was used to heat the school,” she said. A pump at the far end was used by the children to acquire their water. In the nicer weather, flowers and vegetables were grown and the children took the products home.

Walmsley notes a piano was often moved into the hall and Miss Mary Dunkley would ‘give the kids a big kick’ when she played it there and sang.

“Every month there was a complete set of examinations and they were said to be extremely difficult.”

York Street School

The Picton Public Schools yearbook noted a small stone school house was built on the site where York Street School now stood. It had one storey, and one room, which held about 25 children ages six to 14.

The first teacher was Mrs Ackerman. In 1893 the teacher was Miss Jessie Redman. In 1907 the school was torn down and replaced by the double storey red-brick building

Faculty 1967-68
Back row Angela Hall, Dorothy Lockyer, Myron Porter, James LeBreton, Jack Laundry, Andrew Benvie, James Bird, Wallace Dever, Grace Buchanan. Middle: Carl Reid, Helen Weeks, Bernice Thompson, Vera Valleau, Marion Church, Kathy Camp, Helen Nelson, Kathy Galt, Sheila O’Grady, Marjorie Noron, Earl Holt. Front: Mary Lake, Patricia Bettes, Eileen McCalpin, Jean Brandon, Diane Aquino, Verna Pixley, Margaret Haight, Marilyn Dean, Carol Carver, Betty Ostrander. Absent: Alice Webb.


Seeking former staff and students from Queen Elizabeth and Pinecrest schools for a Reunion Saturday, June 8, 2019!

Hosted by the Quinte Educational Museum and Archives, organizers are reaching out to County residents in hopes to share the news with alumni!

Also, if anybody has old yearbooks – or memorabilia – from both schools that they are willing to share, or donate, contact Kathryn Reed at 613-645-2035 or Gloria Jowett at 613-476-5405.

Click here for more old school photographs and stories.


Pinecrest Memorial Elementary School opened to receive classes on Sept. 5, 1967.

The word ‘Pinecrest’ was derived from the modern landscaping technique devised to beautify the school surroundings. Numerous pines were placed on crests of land to create a three-dimensional effect. ‘Memorial’ was added to honour all school trustees, educators and former institutions of learning which served the Hallowell School Area since early settlement.

Pinecrest’s first classes included students from  Hallowell schools including No. 1 Glenora, No. 2 Upper Greenbush, No. 3 Lower Greenbush, No. 4 Yerexville, No. 5 Warings Corners, No. 6 Shannon’s, No. 7 Bloomfield, No. 9 Cooper’s, No. 11 Scoharie, No. 12 Union Vale, No. 13 West Lake, No. 14 Mount Pleasant and No. 16 Bowerman’s.

A contest among students was held to determine the school crest.

Joanne Rutter’s design of the pine trees on a hill was chosen.

Three classes of students were honoured at the first graduation in June 1968.

Back row: Robert Kleinsteuber, Sam Mulholland, Terry Northorp, Blane Thompson, Ron Mainprize, David Leavitt, Wayne Cronk, Barrie Matthie

Middle row: Richard Hitchen, Anna-Marie Harrington, Jean Baxter, Pam Barrett, Dean Turcotte, Joanne Rutter, Betty Duetta, Ron Cunningham, Teacher E Parks.

Front row: Margo Marshall, Nancy Marshall, Cathy Moon, Louise Helm, Patt Hoag, Diane Struthers, Kristine Cole, Roxy Wager.

Back row: Garry Pearsall, Terry Cooper, Calvin Struthers, Morley Badgley, Bill Snider, Paul Hennessy, Alan Turkington, Michael Munnings.

Centre row: Teacher C. Brooks, Marilyn Lawrence, Debbie Hyatt, Brenda Lund, David Culmer, Dorothy Prinzen, Vicki Roloson, Gwen Brodsky, Shirley Bannister.

Front row: Susan Cole, Ann Bassett, Joan Jessup, Nina Fraser, Bonnie Johnston, Doris Bannister, Susan Wilson, Brenda Noah.

Back row: Robert Henry, Douglas Deacon, Tom Slatter, Christina Latz, Bonnie Stacey, John Cockburn, Lanna Head, Cathy Hendry, Mark Pierce, Larry Spence, Leslie Johnston, teacher H. Cooper.

Front row: Elaine Miller, Penny Laundry, Heather Banfield, Susan Williams, Cathy Hogg, Joanne Craig, Nancy Knight, Karen LeDrew, Holly Banfield.

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  1. Debbie Hanna says:

    I was a student at Mary Street School for one year. Queen Elizabeth till 1975. My year book for both schools are at the Wellington Branch for the County Archives. I’m sure Kristen will let you look at it. Won’t make it to the reunion. Hope to see pictures of the event.

  2. Jane Makari says:

    I was a Pinecrest student from JK in 2004 until Grade 2 in 2007, then my family moved to Picton and I attended Queen Elizabeth until I graduated.

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