British and Canadian School, Saint Margaret Street School
Dates of Operation: 1823 - 1894
NAMELOCATIONDATESBritish and Canadian School, Saint Margaret Street SchoolRue Sainte-Marguerite1829 - 1894British and Canadian SchoolRue Sainte-Famille, Hope Gate Guard House1823 - 1829The British and Canadian School was an early attempt at providing an affordable non-denominational elementary education to poorer children.

The school opened in the former premises of the National School within the Hope Gate guard house but later moved to its own building in Saint-Roch. Like the National School, it used the Bell-Lancaster system, whereby older pupils taught younger ones. Some of the better pupils became qualified to teach at country schools. Unlike the National School, it was not affiliated with any particular religious denomination and tended to provide more advanced training, promoting upward mobility of the poor. A nominal fee was also charged. The school was founded largely by the English-speaking elite but the teaching was bilingual, and in the early years nearly half the students had French as their native language.

A girls’ school was added on the second floor of the building in July 1831. Girls spent their mornings doing needlework and their afternoons in literary instruction.

Although Roman Catholics predominated in the early years, the school became increasingly identified with Protestants. Catholic priests objected to pupils learning directly from the Bible. The school was eventually taken over by the Protestant School Board in 1878 and became known as the Saint Margaret Street School. It was sold by the board in 1894, when the larger Elgin Street School was opened to consolidate smaller Protestant schools.