Bell saved from Creemore school annex

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The old school bell was unveiled during a special ceremony at Nottawasaga and Creemore Public School Wednesday morning. 

The bell was removed from the annex, which served most recently as the school’s junior site until it closed in 2014.

It has been mounted inside the school lobby on a base made of reclaimed red brick, as a tribute to the school’s roots. It complements an existing mural of the original high school and weathervane.

The bell was purchased in 1882 by the citizens of Creemore and the surrounding township for a new four-room school built the previous year. When a larger six-room school (the annex) opened in 1917, the bell was mounted on the roof.

Current and former students, staff, parents and board dignitaries gathered for the March 20 ceremony, which included entertainment from the school’s guitar and ukulele club and choir. 

Principal Mark McCain said the bell will ring on the first and last day of school, and at Grade 8 graduation. 

“Although the bell will not ring everyday it remains an important symbol. It will symbolize that we come together ready and prepared for school,” he said. 

A surplus of money from the Creemore school reunion committee, which was active until 1999, will be used to purchase a plaque to be displayed with the bell. 

Committee member Gerry Blackburn was one of the guest speakers. He campaigned for several years the bell preserved, before the school sold. 

“I’d like to personally thank them and any other board members who facilitated the transaction,” he said. 

Local historian Helen Blackburn was also asked to say a few words. 

She told the youngsters in the audience the story of the bell; she told them how years after the community raised funds, purchased and installed the bell on its perch at the top of the original school, it fell from the roof. 

“Luckily it wasn’t recess and nobody was hurt,” she said. “The bell was ok too so they put it up again and it rang as before.”

It rang four times a day back then to mark the beginning of the day and the end of the lunch hour. 

At the end of the presentation, the Blackburn cousins were invited to ring the bell, along with custodian Kevin Charman. It rang loudly in the small school lobby, as everyone watched a live stream from the gymnasium. 

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