Description of Historic Place
The Former Mount Pleasant School House consists of a solid, one-storey, rectangular red brick building with a wood-frame shed addition on the primary façade, a broad, low gable roof featuring returned roof eaves, and a small, arched bell tower. The building also features two doors on the front, gable-end façade (one for each gender), a date stone lunette between the doors, and symmetrical rows of large, multi-paned windows with stone sills on both side elevations. The former Mount Pleasant School House is located in the midst of rural Pickering Township, on the south side of the 7th concession road, at the southern end of 20th Side Road. The designation is confined to the footprint of the building.
The Former Mount Pleasant School House is a Recognized Federal Heritage Building because of its historical associations, and its architectural and environmental values:
The Former Mount Pleasant School House is a very good example of the historical theme of the on-going development of a publicly funded system of education in Ontario, following the Common School Acts of 1846 and 1850. The building is also associated with local artist, designer, sculptor, and award-winning filmmaker, William Lishman, who lived in the Former Mount Pleasant School House between 1964 and 1974, and was well known in the community as an activist. The Former Mount Pleasant School House is one of the best early examples of a public institutional presence in Pickering Township, illustrating a significant phase of cultural development for the community in both recognizing the importance of education and supporting its funding through taxation.
The Former Mount Pleasant School House is a good example of the simple and adaptable functional design of the open, well-lit, one-room layout of schoolhouses from this period, which was later subdivided into several rooms to serve as a residence. Constructed of good quality materials and craftsmanship, the Former Mount Pleasant School House is an early example of the use of plain, solid brickwork in Pickering Township.
The Former Mount Pleasant School House is compatible with the rural character of the setting, which is predominantly composed of large cultivated fields. As one of the few public buildings in the neighbourhood, the Former Mount Pleasant School House has always been a familiar landmark for the community. However, the building gained wider fame when artist William Lishman constructed an exact full-scale replica of the first lunar module on the property in 1972.
Sources: Dana Johnson, Former S.S. #12, Mount Pleasant School (P.I.N. no. 232), 1503 Concession 7 Road, Pickering, Ontario, Federal Heritage Buildings Review Office Building Report 05-016; Former Mount Pleasant Schoolhouse, Pickering, Ontario, Heritage Character Statement, 05-016.
The character-defining elements of the Former Mount Pleasant School House should be respected.
Its role as an illustration of the historical theme of the development of a publicly funded system of education in Ontario, following the Common School Acts of 1846 and 1850 is reflected in:
- its simple aesthetic design, scale, and solid, well-built appearance which illustrate the influence of efforts in the 1850s by the provincial education department to encourage “modern” school design and are evidence of local support for formal publicly supported education.
Its good functional design, and its good quality materials and craftsmanship as manifested in:
- the simple and adaptable design of the open, one-room layout which was easily converted to serve as a private residence;
- the extant raised teaching platform and blackboard located at the southern end of the former classroom, which are presently concealed under modern finishes;
- the effective provision of natural light by means of the large, multi-paned windows lining both sides of the former classroom;
- the use of plain, solid brickwork which provides the character of permanence generally associated with institutional buildings.
The manner in which the building is compatible with the rural character of the area and its landmark value as evidenced in:
- its small scale, simple form and massing, and the choice of materials used for its construction;
- its familiarity to the community as a public building.