The School House
While attending University in Guelph, Ontario, newlyweds Mike and Connie spent many hours searching for the perfect place. Along their travels they came across an old school house for sale just north of Arthur. The basement of the school house, “which we accessed through the sliding doors, and we’re not saying how”, was 2000 square feet. It was constructed with 6×6 ceilings and an enormous octopus furnace. The house, complete with the bell tower seemed like the coolest place to live and work. The only problem; it was too remote.
‘Cains Corners’ was actually posted in the Globe and Mail. It stated, “school house plus 4 acres in Stayner, Ontario”. Take off a few zeros from today’s price and it was ‘hippy affordable’. Oddly Connie’s Mom and Dad were in Cobalt visiting during one of the festivals where Mike and Connie were selling their wares. That weekend they made the most money they had ever made at one time. Nana and Papa looked after the girls, while Mike and Connie went to view the school house.
Mike recalls driving past the school house around the age of 15. “My old man had a secret way from Richmond Hill by way of Maple to Thornbury. Drive Hwy #10 to Angus and on. We used to call the area “dog patch”. It was meant to be.
“We made arrangements with the Kellys to meet us, but we had already gone through the place before they arrived, and we’re not saying how we did that either, but we just knew it was the place for us”.
Mike and Connie’s first meeting with the bank manager went fairly smooth. Daughters Ivy and Ana, put their CN International truck into gear and rolled it back into traffic. They’ll never know who it was, but the bank employees never forgot those “rubby dub” potters. As with any older home, it is a deep well of expenses that never ends. Mike and Connie have been obliged to keep it up, it’s an investment, but furthermore it is a place of history and community memories. The list of people that have contributed to keeping the school house fit and updated is endless.
The Cains Corners School House was a school for 55 years, owned privately for 10. Mike and Connie, along with their family, have lived and worked there for another 42 years. It is a landmark that continues to be as valuable to the community now as it was back then. “It is our dream that the Cains Corners School House remains integral to the landscape and always provides you with a beacon of light on your travels”.