Description of Historic Place
Midwinter School, constructed in 1917, is a one-storey wood-frame structure in East Braintree. The municipal designation applies to the school and its grounds.
Midwinter School is representative of the rural educational experience in Manitoba in the early twentieth century, and of the significant advancements made in public school design throughout the province at that time. Beginning in 1903 provincial authorities provided standardized plans to guide the development of practical, well-lit, affordable buildings that responded to evolving educational theories and concerns. Midwinter School is a good example of a one-room scheme commonly used after the mid-1910s, featuring a broad canopied porch, a bank of windows on one side of the classroom to optimize natural lighting, and transom windows for cross-circulation of fresh air. Built on property donated by Charles Midwinter, this facility also became a social hub in its southeastern Manitoba village, hosting dances, Christmas concerts, calf club meetings, etc. The school closed in 1968 but, now restored, continues to serve the community in a social role.
Source: Local Government District of Reynolds By-law No. 25/88, October 9, 1990
Key elements that define the heritage character of the Midwinter School site include:
- the expansive grassed and treed grounds bordered on two sides (west and north) by Boggy Creek in East Braintree, with the building set well back from, and facing, Road 308
Key exterior elements that define the school's standardized design include:
- the basic symmetrical massing composed of a large rectangular expanse and a smaller porch, both of wood-frame construction clad in horizontal wood siding, with gable roofs of cedar shingles
- the openings, including double-hung rectangular windows with simple glazing bars, casings and sills, notably a large six-window bank on the west side with transomed end windows; also, two windows high on the east side, square nine-pane fixed windows on the front, etc.
- the restricted details, including the basic ribbon board reading 'MIDWINTER SCHOOL' and the hipped and bracketed canopy above the front door, the simple carved wood finials at the apex of each gable end, the ancillary rear entrance, the trim painted to contrast with the siding, etc.
Key elements that define the school's practical interior layout, finishes and details include:
- the formal plan composed of a small vestibule, closets and storage/service areas, all set behind a plank pony wall dividing them from the spacious, unobstructed main school room with its modest teacher's room in the southeast corner
- the high ceiling of pressed metal contrasted by the standard-height plank ceilings in the service areas
- the sensible details and finishes, including some wainscotting and plank floors, simple moulding, a plank storage closet, etc.