Since the COVID-19 pandemic began in early 2020, outdoor education has transformed teaching and learning at Balmoral Hall School, perhaps more so than ever before.
With a focus on being a healthy school, teachers in all grades have found innovative ways to adapt their programs and increase opportunities for students to be outdoors. Outdoor areas of campus previously underutilized now require advance scheduling to be reserved for certain classes. A multipurpose ice surface constructed on the front field was frequently and fervently used from November 2020 to February 2021 and has just been reinstalled for students’ use in Winter 2022.
With support from families, employees, alumnae, neighbours, and friends, to expand the teaching/learning environment at Balmoral Hall School, improvements include accessible technology, unique educational experiences, and enhanced campus safety.
As we strive to establish an unlimited learning community, insights from our stakeholders will continue to drive innovation at Balmoral Hall School.
Donations to our 2020–2021 Annual Campaign funded a variety of initiatives, including the installation of additional Wi-Fi access points to provide continuous coverage around campus from north to south, east to west.
With significant teamwork, and with support from families, we were able to coordinate virtual Convocation ceremonies for our 2020 and 2021 graduates — streaming “live” from the Aikins House porch!
Donors generously contributed to a refurbishment of the riverside patio that leads from Kozminski Common Room to Sifton Family Theatre to Benidickson Centre for Arts & Design, which involved building covered areas (pergolas) for shade and protection from the rain, purchasing new, comfortable, durable outdoor furniture, as well as installing a fire pit, spotlights, and twinkle lights.
Boarding students, in particular, have benefitted from additional donor-funded projects such as new bicycles to ride through the historic West Broadway neighbourhood (and beyond), grills to be able to host family-style barbecues, and cedar fence panels to surround a greenspace north of the boarding house to encourage, weather permitting, outdoor recreation and relaxation.
The City of Winnipeg’s construction of bike lanes along Westminster Avenue in Summer 2021 have made cycling safer as a means of commuting to/from campus. The Cornish Path has become more pedestrian- and cyclist-friendly where campus borders the Assiniboine River. Balmoral Hall School is the owner of all riverfront acreage along the southeastern campus perimeter, granting an easement in 1993 to allow public access. The City of Winnipeg had not adequately tended to the pathway’s maintenance, nor had we before becoming aware of the details of the easement during the construction of Benidickson Centre for Arts & Design in 2018–2019.
After consultation with community stakeholders in 2019–2020, we implemented a multi-year riverbank access and restoration initiative.
In Summer 2021, term employees Sam Loewen and Nate Trickett were responsible for clearing felled trees and removing undergrowth along our riverfront property, completing a cleanup along the perimeter fencing of the entire property, and preparing garden beds for the planting of native prairie perennials, which attract pollinators.
In Fall 2021, a partnership with Winnipeg Trails Association
created an opportunity for our Grade 7 and Advanced Placement (AP) biology classes to spend a brisk, misty morning in late October planting Manitoba maple trees on both sides of the pathway parallel to the Assiniboine River.
Campus renewal is a priority we all share as community stakeholders, and, together, let’s continue to demonstrate our support for sustainability, our commitment to growth, and, as always, our love of learning.