About The Little Brick Schoolhouse
Prairie Wind & Silver Sage is Val Marie’s provincially recognized ecomuseum, offering a variety of services, including:
- Ecomuseum — Our museum highlights the unique character of Grasslands, Val Marie, and the surrounding area through a combination of artifacts, mapping, photography, sound, and stories, incorporating the historical, environmental, and cultural appreciation of both the land and the community. Expect to be engaged!
- Prairie Ground Coffee Bar — Enjoy a cup of well-brewed espresso and homemade treats for your coffee break; breakfast bagels to start your morning, or get together with a friend before or after a park tour. Internet access available.
- Bookstore— One of the best selections of titles of a regional nature you’ll find anywhere. Up to date and diverse. Books for all ages.
- Gift and Craft Items — We carry locally made, quality crafts and other items that make perfect gifts — for yourself or others. There is something for every age.
- Galleries — We have two galleries hosting an artist in each.
- Prairie Garden — Garden spaces featuring indigenous species of grasses and flowers.
Val Marie School No. 4636 was formerly established on September 29, 1925. The red brick school was constructed shortly after and finally opened its doors on September 29, 1927 (the Diamond Jubilee of Canadian Confederation).
The substantial brick and masonry construction reflected the small community’s commitment to education and its optimism for future growth. There were two classrooms on the main floor. By 1939, over-crowding caused some classes to be moved to the nearby Catholic Convent (restored as the Convent Inn, in 1996) and school was then taught by the Catholic Sisters until 1946. Due to another influx of students, they opened the basement of the school as extra classrooms in 1953.
The Val Marie School began operating the year that the village became incorporated (1928). As such, and because of its tradition, this building continues to be an important part of the history and development of Val Marie and surrounding communities. The school was closed in 1985, when a larger, more modern facility was built. By 1997 the schoolhouse was derelict.
PWSS (Prairie Wind & Silver Sage) volunteers saved the school from demolition by refurbishing it and having it declared a Municipal Heritage Site. PWSS took out a 10-year lease from the Chinook School Division and in 2007, ownership of the building passed on to the Village of Val Marie.
Today, the school is one of only a few of its era in Saskatchewan still in use. Its distinguishing architectural features include simple massing and form, hip roof with cedar shingles (the originals were replaced in 2007), double hung, multi-plane windows, and wood floorings and mouldings.
The considerable effort of the Sand Lake Hutterite community in restoring the roof is gratefully acknowledged.
Located across from the Visitor’s Centre on Centre Street
Operating Season: May – October