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Authority record
Schools -- Buildings

Kowalchuk, Nickolas

  • Person
  • 1941 - 1942

Nickolas Kowalchuk, son of Matiy and Barbara Kowalchuk, grew up north of Athabasca, Alberta and attended Greyville School. Received his teaching certificate from Edmonton Normal School and his first post was Ferguson School, 1941 – 1942. He lived in the log teacherage. He married Mary Hawiuk in 1950 and they had four children: Sonia, Larry, Dale and Grant.

Toles School District No. 2895

  • ath 21.06
  • Corporate body
  • 1913 - 1958

Toles School, School District No. 2895, was established February 25, 1913 and named after Nimrod Toles, an early settler who donated the property. Mr. Toles was among the black settlers who arrived at Pine Creek, Alberta (later Amber Valley) from Oklahoma in 1909. The settlers pooled their resources and materials to build the original log school which was replaced in 1932 by a one-room school. Students in Grades 1 to 8 attended class. George and Alice Cromwell from Chatham, Ontario were two of the early teachers. Marget Dobson, Velma Leffler, and Ruby Edwards were among the later teachers. The first schoolboard trustees were Samuel Carothers, Willis Bowen Sr., Jefferson Edwards and Thomas Mapp. Toles School was amalgamated into the centralized Athabasca School Division No. 42 in 1939. After Keyes School (1926) was permanently closed, the building was moved to Amber Valley in 1948 and formed part of Toles School. It was closed in 1958 when rural one-room schools were closed and students were bussed to Grassland, and later, Athabasca. It was eventually demolished to widen Hwy 55. In Amber Valley’s early days, there were no other public buildings, so Toles School also served as a venue for church services, weddings, funerals, meetings, elections and social events.
The one-room school interior was reconstructed in Canada Hall of the Canadian Museum of Civilization in 2006; however, the display has since been dismantled. The Museum’s Dr. Rhonda Hinther chose to re-create the school as it looked during the 1940s. The reconstruction was carefully reproduced from old documents and photographs. Museum staff was fortunate to be able to work with former students and their descendants who provided artifacts, photographs and personal stories that brought the display to life. Some of the artifacts have since been returned to Amber Valley and are housed in the Amber Valley Cultural Centre Museum.