Happy Birthday!

Happy Birthday!

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 it 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. To teach these kids, 260 teachers had been hired to teach those students.

There were no portables in those days, with only the front facing portion of Elizabeth Gardens being constructed. With a surging student population, the Board quickly decided to build an extension and it open 2 years later.

In the meantime, subdivisions continued to spread west and north, with Prospect Gardens subdivision opening it’s 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.

Wanted: Your Stories

Wanted: Your Photos, Stories, and Oral Histories

EGphoto01d

The Elizabeth Gardens Community Art Project is an artistic effort to capture the growth and change that has occurred in one community from the early 1950s to the present. The area under study is bounded by Lakeshore Road, QEW, Burloak Drive, and Appleby Line.

The Project’s aim is to collect photos, stories and oral histories from current and former residents and business owners.  Using these reference materials, a body of art work will be created (informed by a sense place, meaning, and identity).

Once completed, the goal is to display the art within the community and then at a regional art gallery.  At the end of the project, original reference materials (photos, written documents, and oral histories) will be donated to an archive collection (if possible) in order to preserve the community’s history.

The EGArtProject website will be the primary source for updates.

If you are interested in participating in this project then please send me an email at fcsdstudio@gmail.com.

Look forward to hearing from you.

Chris Erskine, Artist