The Martin H. Ainley Archives Centre

St. John’s-Ravenscourt is fortunate to have its own archives centre and archivist on hand to both preserve and provide access to the collective memory of our School. This wonderful centre is available to the School community and welcomes you to visit and to use its facilities. Donations of school memorabilia are gratefully accepted.   
For more information about the archives and its services, please contact School Archivist
Ms. Calla Grabish at 204.477.2487 or email


1820s to 1840s

  • 1820 – Mission School founded by Rev D. West (Anglican)

  • 1832 – The Red River Academy was founded.  Factors and traders of the Hudson's Bay Company were deeply interested in schooling for their children. HBC officers, with school-age children, retired to the settlement and sent their children to the parish day school on the mission grounds. Jones proposed a residential school for “the sons of Gentlemen belonging to the Fur Trade”, and Governor Simpson and the HBC officers wanted a similar establishment for the education of girls. 

  • 1820s-1830s – William Cockran (Jones’ assistant) enlarged the farm to 29 acres from 3.5. As the farm and its yield increased so did the numbers and kinds of pupils on the mission ground

  • 1849-early 50s – St. John’s Collegiate School and the St. John’s College School founded by David Anderson, Bishop of Rupertsland


1850s to 1890s

  • 1850 – To encourage pupils, the Bishop instituted scholarships that provided free tuition, £10 sterling as pocket money, and the privilege of sitting at the teachers’ table at meals

  • 1859 - 1866 – Both the Collegiate School and the College closed their doors

  • 1866 – Collegiate School and College re-opened by Bishop Robert Machray

  • 1877 – St. John’s College was one of the founding colleges of the University of Manitoba

  • 1884 – Construction of a new St. John’s College at Main and Anderson (demolished in 1950)



  • 1913 – Memorial Window from St. John’s Chapel. Now resides in Hamber Dining Hall. Memorial in honour of 2 Individuals: Eric Hamber, Master & Deputy Headmaster, SJCS/ Blanchard Jaques, student who drowned in the river

  • 1913 - 1914 – Construction of Thomson House by Colonel R.M. Thomson. Col. Thomson died in the Battle of the Somme in 1916. The house remained vacant until 1934

  • 1916 - 1920 – Charles Bonnycastle '20 remembers the night Andy Blair (also an alumnus of SJCS) scored 60 goals against a local team at the start of midget hockey. The young players were promised a pop for each goal they scored; Andy had “enough to open a corner store”. Andy Blair went on to become a very successful hockey player for the Toronto Maple Leafs

  • 1916 - 1920 – Charles Bonnycastle played intramural hockey with Murray Murdoch (Murdoch, also an alumnus of SJCS, was a former great of the New York Rangers and the coach of the Yale hockey team) while at SJCS. Their team was the winner of the “Masters’ Shield”. Murdoch was captain and Bonnycastle was goal keeper because he never could skate

  • 1918 – SJCS Chapel converted to Infirmary during the Influenza Strike



  • 1924 - 1946 – Walter Burman was one of the founders of the game of rugby football in Manitoba. Although he was a scholar in the classics, he took a keen interest in sports because he believed that the purpose of education is the development of sound minds and sound bodies

  • 1929 – Founding of Ravenscourt School  by Captain Norman Andrew  Thomson Young. Located in Armstrong’s Point in Tupper House or Bannatyne’s Castle  

  • 1929 – Ravenscourt School's initial location was the extravagant Tupper mansion. A billiard room became a library, the lawns were large enough for cricket and later a hockey rink, the large barn housed scenery and props for plays

  • 1929 - 1939 – A headmaster has actively to do with so many faces of a school’s life. Wykes occasionally even washed dishes with a relay of boys doing the drying when there was a “domestic crisis”. He also became acquainted with the operation of the coal furnaces in buildings and usually filled in for the night watchman “Smitty” on his evenings off



  • 1934 – Re-location of Ravenscourt School to Thomson House (Ft. Garry). Remained at this location until 1950 (Amalgamation)
  • 1934 – After Ravenscourt relocated to its present location (Thomson House), the woods were cleared and an orchard was planted on the new property. Each boy was allotted his own tree to plant and care for, and on frosty nights it wasn’t uncommon to see school sweaters wrapped around the trunks of several little fruit trees
  • 1937 – Opening of the New Building, later called the Richardson Gymnasium



  • 1948 – In 1948 came the first flood. The school was not then hooked onto the city water-line. Wykes remembers going to the old pumping room in the basement of Thomson House to help fix the cap on the well in order to save the water supply from contamination



  • 1950 – The Great Flood. Re-location of students to the School of Agricultural, University of Saskatoon

  • 1950 – Amalgamation of St. John’s College School and Ravenscourt School. St. John’s-Ravenscourt School (SJR) located in Thomson House

  • 1952 – On the morning of Richard L. Gordon’s first day as headmaster, he went out to see the Blue Bombers practicing on SJR’s field. He asked them if they had permission and was told by George Trafton, the Coach, to mind his own “bloody business” 
  • 1952 - 1968 – The garbage cans were on a lattice enclosed stand behind Thomson House and the rats were plentiful. One Saturday morning when Richard L. Gordon and some boys removed the cans and fence and upended the platform, the boys rushed around clubbing the vermin.
    After that they employed some pest exterminators
  • 1952 - 1968 – When Richard L. Gordon received the hundredth application to the school, he rushed home and had a glass of sherry with his wife
  • 1955 - Shepard House (Headmaster’s Residence) built through the generosity of Mrs. Clarence Day Shepard Sr. in memory of her husband

  • 1956 - 1957 – Conversion of Thomson House Dining Room to Library

  • 1956 – Hamber Hall/Burman Residence opened by Hon. Eric Hamber in memory of his father, E.F.M. Hamber, Master at SJCS, 1887-1913



  • 1961 – Camsell Science Wing/ Rifle Range/ New Lower School Building

  • 1965 – Lower School built through the vision and generosity of James  A. Richardson and Thayer Linsley

  • 1967 – Official Opening of the Dutton Memorial  Arena (International Rink). Mervyn Red Dutton Benefactor In Memory of Joseph and Thomas Dutton who died serving with the R.C.A.F. in WWII




  • 1971-1972 – Admission of girls

  • 1977-1990 – John Messenger used to coach boxing in the foyer because the gym was being used. Messenger served a brief stint as a professional boxer with the Willy Pep Boxing Shows in Massachusetts

  • 1979 – During the flooding in 1979, the students not only dyked for the School but all over Winnipeg wherever needed 



  •  1980 – Humanities Wing
  •  1984 – $1.75 million was Max Bell gift was the largest ever made to any Canadian School

  •  1988 – Moffat Richardson Building (Upper School Classrooms, Offices, Moffat-Richardson Theatre, and Art Room)

  •  1989 – Opening of Tom Bredin Athletic Centre

  •  1989 – Installation of Time Capsule to be opened in 2018



  • 1990 – Opening of Albert D. Cohen building (New Science and Library Wing, the Albert D. Cohen Building on Oct. 3, 1990 in Focus Fall 1990 B.jpg)

  • 1991 – Kiddell Building Renovations

  • 1997 – New Memorial Wing (Middle School Classrooms & Labs, Offices and Rousseau Hall)

  • 1998 – Opening of the SJR Music Center, Robinson-Wolinsky Hall, McGarry Guild Gallery, Max Bell Primary Centre, Rousseau Hall, and the SJR Archives



  • 2003 – GAP student program begins

  • 2004 – Kindergarten Classrooms, French Classroom and the SJRPA Music & Arts Studio

  • 2005 – Phase 2 of Max Bell Primary Centre, (SJRPA Music Room, 2 Kindergarten Classrooms and French Classroom Upstairs)

  • 2006 - 2007 – Fully co-educational from Kindergarten to Grade 12

  • 2007 – Creation of the SJR Sports Hall of Fame

  • 2007-2008 – SJR builds a house for Habitat for Humanity
  • 2009 - 2015 – Distinction: named Manitoba’s top 25 employers

  • 2009  – Campus Master Plan created and the quiet phase of the Capital Campaign began

  • 2009 – 50th Anniversary Holly Ball



  • 2012-2017 – Strategic Plan

  • 2012-2015 – Second Boarding Action Plan

  • 2013 – February - Public Launch of Build Our Tomorrow Campaign

  • 2013 – July - Demolition of Senior School, construction begins on new Senior School and Fitness Centre
  • 2014 – October - Richardson Senior School and Riley Fitness Centre opened