Capilano School History
Capilano School primarily serves the Pemberton Heights community, a small residential neighborhood comprised almost entirely of single family dwellings. Quiet streets frame blocks of well-treed properties owned by people whose pride is manifested in well-maintained homes and gardens.
Capilano Elementary School had its beginnings on a piece of land, at the intersection of Capilano and Keith Roads, which had been donated to the District of North Vancouver Board by J. C. Keith in February, 1908. To be known as the little green schoolhouse, the one room school was officially opened on Tuesday, September 8, 1908 with 12 students. Ths original site is a stone's throw from the present Capilano Pet Hospital near the tennis club. At that time, the Upper Levels Highway did not exist and Keith Rd. extended north through the present highway and turned left to Capilano Road - the corner where the original school was situated.
It was soon realized that a bigger school would be needed to accommodate the increasing population in Capilano and in July, 1913, three and one tenth acres at the corner of 20th and Bridgman were purchased from Mr. J. P. Fell for $37.50 an acre. The Provincial Government provided funding for the new school. By September 1914, there were 43 students attending Capilano School and although work had begun on the new Bridgman site in late 1914, the new two room structure with a seating capacity for 80 students did not open until Monday, December 6, 1915. By December 1920, the school enrollment had increased to 53.
The first of two fires at the school occurred in the early morning of Monday, November 29, 1921, burning the school to the ground. The District School Board decided to immediately replace the destroyed building with another two room wooden structure with stone foundation and hot water heating system. In the meantime, the 91 students returned to the little green schoolhouse building at Capilano and Keith Roads until Spring, when the Bridgman location was completed.
The second fire to destroy the school was in January 1924. Construction began immediately to replace the building, this time with a new four room structure. Again, the students, 98 in total, had to be relocated. Some returned to the little green schoolhouse, and others used the back of McLeod’s Store and the store on Keith Road to continue their education until the new building was complete. On Monday, April 28, 1924, the new four room school was officially declared open by Reeve J. M. Fromme, from the District of North Vancouver.
In 1946 the ‘Hut’ was added as a separate classroom next to the East side of the main building. A two-story addition was made in 1949, to add four classrooms onto the North end of the building. In 1958, an extension was made on the West side of the building, to include two classrooms plus the gym and office. Further construction in 1963 saw the addition of one more classroom on the West wing on the lower floor and three classrooms on the upper floor.
The enrollment at Capilano School peaked in 1965, when 491 students were registered. In September 1986, the school had 204 students.
Yet another addition and renovation was made to the school during the year 2000. The ‘Hut’ was torn down in November 1999 and eight classrooms and a multipurpose room were added on the east side of the school. In addition, considerable changes were made to the old wing of the building including a new computer lab, new library and new administration offices. The new wing was officially opened in November 2000. At that time there were 400 students attending the school. A time capsule was placed at the entrance to the new wing and is to be opened in twenty-five years.
Three parks, Bridgman, Sowden and Murdo Frazer, a pitch and putt golf course, public and private tennis facilities within or very near the community, offer residents a leisurely lifestyle and relaxed atmosphere.
A bus route provides transportation into the community linking Pemberton Heights conveniently to other transportation interchange points. Few, if any, communities in the Lower Mainland rival the attractive environment which Capilano School has the good fortune of serving.