Tuesday, Sept 4th, 1959 – Elizabeth Gardens Public School open its doors for the very first time.
There are many ways to mark the birth of a community: first settlers(1812), breaking ground for new subdivisions (1956); or when Burlington annexed Nelson Township in 1958.
In my view, the heart of a community is a school, particularly in the 1950s and 1960s, when the entire project of building homes was for new families. Elizabeth Gardens even predates the opening of the St. Elizabeth’s Anglican Church, which held its first services at the school.
As I ready to send my kids off to a small elementary school with declining enrollment, parents in 1959 faced a different reality. Burlington’s public elementary schools were expecting 7,730 students; a 1,000 student increased from Sept 1958, and the Board hired 260 teachers.
The original Elizabeth Gardens was only the front section of the building. With a surging student population, the Board quickly decided to build a rear extension, and it open two years later.
In the meantime, subdivisions continued to spread west and north, with the Prospect Gardens subdivision opening its model home during the summer of 1959. However, for a brief moment in time, the community of Elizabeth Gardens was the center of the world.
In many ways, the birth of Elizabeth Gardens also marked the birth of modern Burlington.
Happy Birthday everyone.