City of Burnaby Publishes Comprehensive History of Local School System

February 9, 2021

The stories and memories of Burnaby residents from both past and present have been preserved by a team of local historians who partnered with the City of Burnaby to publish Inkwells to Internet: A History of Burnaby Schools, which details the growth of Burnaby’s school system from 1894 to present day.

While Burnaby is now home to one of the largest school districts in B.C., the earliest classrooms in this city were one-room schools with one teacher and students in multiple grades. Students often had to walk long distances to school, while teachers’ responsibilities included tending to a wood burning stove and filling inkwells with ink.

Inkwells to Internet is written by Dave Carter, Rosemary Cooke, Harry Pride, Janet White and Gail Yip. The authors are long-time members of Burnaby’s school community, having attended school, worked as teachers or served as school administrators in the Burnaby School District. The book includes histories of every school in Burnaby supplemented by chapters on the development of programs and services, visual and performing arts, and sports. It features many photographs, as well as anecdotes shared by former staff, teachers and students.

“The project took many years to complete, as the authors gathered research not only from books and documents, but also from the memories and photo albums of students and educators,” said Carter. “The result is a unique look at the history of Burnaby’s schools as it was experienced by the people who worked in and attended school in Burnaby.”

Publication of the book was a project of the City of Burnaby’s Community Heritage Commission, with funding support from the City of Burnaby, BC Retired Teachers’ Association Heritage Committee and the Burnaby Board of Education, which also contributed important content to the book.

“We’re so proud to have been a part of this beautiful book – a decades-long labour of love by educators who have meticulously documented the deep ties our schools have within the Burnaby community,” said Burnaby Board of Education Chair Jen Mezei. “We’re grateful to all of the staff and students – past and present – who made the project come to life, and to the City of Burnaby for their partnership, including providing a copy of the book to each of our school libraries. This will be a fascinating window for our students into the past and our shared history in Burnaby.”

Burnaby Village Museum is hosting the official, virtual book launch on Thursday, February 18 at 7pm on Zoom and Facebook Live through the Burnaby Village Museum Facebook page. The presentation will feature book co-author Janet White and the City’s Heritage Planner, Lisa Codd, who will share stories and photographs.

Zoom details:

Copies of the book can be purchased by calling Burnaby Village Museum at 604-297-4565 and arranging for curbside pickup. View the e-book version at The cost of the book is $45 plus GST, with $13 from every book sold donated to the Burnaby Retired Teachers’ Association Scholarship and Bursary Fund.

Media Contacts:

Chris Bryan
Manager, Corporate Communications
Corporate Communications and Marketing Departments
604-570-3616 |

Dana Bales
Managing Director, Communications & Community Engagement
Burnaby School District
604-296-6900 ext 661110 |


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