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What did school look like in Vancouver over 100 years ago? Like this!

There's going back to school and then there's going way, way back.

It's back to school time and students are getting ready for another 10 months of classes.

In Vancouver, that's been going on for over 100 years. The first school was built in 1872, according to the Vancouver school board, at Hastings Mill, which was central to the early settlers' lives. It was created as B.C. joined Canada and new laws came into place, including the Public Schools Act.

While no photos exist of the earliest days at Vancouver's first school, there is one predating the Great Vancouver Fire. On June 11, 1886 a photo was taken of the Hastings Sawmill School. That was two days before the fire levelled much of the city.

Early photos capture how children's clothing has changed over the years. Even over the few decades depicted, changes be seen, as the rules and customs appear to loosen over time. Male students in the earliest photos have suits with vests, caps, and even pocket watches. Meanwhile, female students are clothed in full-length dresses.

It should be noted that because having a photo taken was a much bigger deal in the 1890s and 1900s people would get dressed up for the occasion. There aren't many photos of regular life from 120 years ago since technology made it difficult to capture. However, over time photography got easier and student life was captured on film.

Many of the old schools these photos were taken at are gone. For example, Vancouver High School, which became King Edward High School, eventually burned down; only the stone wall remains on Oak Street beside Vancouver General Hospital. 

However, a couple are still standing. One photo from 1898 was taken at East South Vancouver School, which was later renamed after a lieutenant-governor of Quebec who had been dead for 100 years. It's now known as Sir Guy Carleton Elementary School.

In the earliest days of public schools in Vancouver, sports teams weren't really a thing, but they quickly emerged, with cricket, rugby, basketball, volleyball, field hockey teams, and more all vying for city dominance. In one photo from 1920, you can see the King George High School hockey team pose with a trophy.

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