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Little White School

St. Albert

Other Names:

Statement of Significance

Description of Historic Place
The Little White School is located midway on a south-facing embankment called "Seven Hills" in downtown St. Albert facing Mission Avenue and the downtown. It has attained the status of a local landmark as a result of its prominent and highly visible location.

Heritage Value
The heritage value of the Little White School lies in its architecture, its association with Roman Catholic public education, and its status as a prominent local landmark.

The Little White School is valued for its simple vernacular architecture. Constructed in 1946 by the St. Albert Roman Catholic School District #3 the Little White school is a simple, two-roomed wood frame and stucco schoolhouse that was built to house grades one and two, and alleviate the overcrowding in the larger Father Mérer School. It is a rare surviving example of the many similar schoolhouses that were constructed before and after WWII to accommodate the growing number of students in Alberta.

The Little White School is also valued for its association with Roman Catholic public education in St. Albert. The school was officially named the Father Jan School in honour of Father Alphonse Jan, OMI the St. Albert Catholic Parish priest from 1926-30. The naming of the school also reflects, the anomaly within the province, that in St Albert the Roman Catholic schools are the public system. By 1956 the population of St. Albert and the rural areas had increased and a new Father Jan School was built on an adjacent site. The Little White School was renamed the Father Jan Annex and it continued to be used for elementary grades and as the St. Albert Parish Kindergarten until 1987 when the two-roomed school was no longer required by the school district.

The Little White School is valued as a local landmark because of its prominent hillside location, simple architecture and white exterior. When it was built the only other school in St. Albert was the Father Mérer School, an imposing two-story brick building. Consequently the comparatively small white stucco Father Jan School quickly became referred to in the community as the Little White School.

Source: City of St. Albert Bylaw No. 15/2009.

Character-Defining Elements
Key elements that define the heritage character of the Little White School include its:

- prominent location on a downtown hill facing the Sturgeon River;
- institutional form, scale and massing, as expressed by its simple vernacular single-storey design and rectangular plan with two classrooms on the main level;
- steeply-pitched cedar shingle hip roofs;
- wood frame construction on concrete foundations;
- lightly-textured stucco finish;
- fenestration on the west, east and south elevations, with double-hung three-over-three wooden sash windows and matching storms;
- basement wood windows and storms;
- entrance double door with transom configuration, and rear exit door flanked by 2 double-hung wood windows;
- brick chimney;
- enclosure for stair from basement on north elevation; and
- painted formed stucco letters and number above the front entrance and original bells on the side walls.

- typical school layout with 2 classrooms, 2 adjacent offices and a large corridor on the main level;
- washrooms, mechanical room and multi-use spaces on the lower level;
- hardwood floors;
- wood double-hung windows with painted sashes, clear varnish wood rail and stile doors, clear varnish wood trims and baseboards;
- wood basement windows;
- entrance stair configuration with clear varnish wood treads, dark varnish risers and wood handrails;
- clear varnish wood wainscoting throughout the main level;
- fixed, original classroom furnishings including multiple chalkboards; and
- basement boys and girls washroom configurations with original fixtures.


Street Address: 2 Madonna Drive
Community: St. Albert
Boundaries: Lot 28, Block 8, Plan 3159KS
Contributing Resources: Buildings: 1

ATS Legal Description:
Mer Rge Twp Sec LSD

PBL Legal Description (Cadastral Reference):
Plan Block Lot Parcel

Latitude Longitude CDT Datum Type
53.63737 -113.62932 Digital Maps NAD83

UTM Reference:
Northing Easting Zone CDT Datum Type
24515.585 5945201.95 Digital Maps NAD83


Recognition Authority: Local Governments (AB)
Designation Status: Municipal Historic Resource
Date of Designation: 2009/04/27

Historical Information

Built: 1946 to 1948
Significant Date(s) N/A
Theme(s) Building Social and Community Life : Education and Social Well-Being
Historic Function(s): Education : Primary or Secondary School
Current Function(s): Education : Museum

Additional Information

Object Number: 4664-0249
Designation File:
Related Listing(s):
Heritage Survey File:
Website Link:
Data Source: Musee Heritage Museum, 5 St Anne Street, St Albert, AB, T8N 3Z9 (LWS file)
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