The Early Years... Barrydale Dormitory

As the Peace School of Hope became established in Grande Prairie, residential accommodation for its students became necessary. Increasing numbers of students were attending from surrounding communities and in 1962 Barrydale Dormitory, a twenty-bed residence for children, was built beside the school.

The Dorm was named for its first residents, two young students named Barry Ferguson and Dale McQuaig. The two boys were about seven years old when the dorm opened and they continued to live there for the duration of its operation.

Throughout the 1960s, Barrydale Dorm expanded to meet the demands of a growing school population. Accommodation for thirty children was made possible through local and federal funding, with the aim of making more space available for aboriginal children.

The dorm was run by live-in staff. House parents and two residential workers were responsible for the thirty children in residence. The first years of operation were difficult for residents and staff alike. There was a lack of funding and a resulting lack of staff. Strict routines were depended upon to help keep so many children safe. Eventually the focus turned to providing a more home-like environment for the children.

Barrydale Dorm operated until 1980. The first residents were getting older and moving into family homes so there was no longer a pressing need for a children’s residence. The remaining young students were moved to a rented duplex on 65th Ave.

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