The first common school in the area of Cedar Dale was School Section. No. 2, built sometime in the early 1800s. The log structure was situated on the west side of the “main highway,” Simcoe Street South, halfway between the centre of the settlement of Oshawa and the lakeshore. Plans for a grayish brick school were completed in February 1867 when the original log schoolhouse was demolished. This one room school eventually became a two room structure when an addition was needed to accommodate the growing class size.
As the area continued to be settled, the trustees of School Section No. 2 proposed to build a six roomed school located across the road on the east side of the street. The site for the proposed structure was owned by G.D. Conant (whose family were early settlers to the area) who had a farm and orchard on the land. Three acres of this property were used to erect the Cedardale Public School which opened in 1920.
The school was designed for the enrolment of 300 pupils. When Cedar Dale was annexed in January 1923, there were 1,449 names on the assessment roll. Attending the school were 161 girls and 153 boys. Children from the old Cedardale school who had not been incorporated were taught free of charge in the annexed portion of the school.
When the new school opened in 1920, Miss Belle (Isabella) Swanson was to be the first principal of the school. She unfortunately died in a fire at her home in April 1920. She was replaced by Miss Leah E. Smith who supervised the school until 1939.
Cedardale School was constructed of red brick with ornamental stone trimming with a frontage which faced upon Simcoe Street. This $42,000 school was built with six rooms; a two room addition was added in 1927, followed by renovations in 1928. Another two rooms were added in 1960 to replace a portable being used since 1958.
Since the 1970s, the school struggled and saw proposed Board closures due to low enrolment and upkeep costs. In the early ’70s, the Board talked about closing the school, but community pressure kept it open. Again, in 1983, the Board wanted to close the school due to expensive roof repairs. During the winter of 1983, school classrooms were being propped up by wooden columns to support sagging ceilings caused by heavy snow accumulation. Beams were first propped up in the northwest part of the school and then in the southwest corner as the problem expanded. New beams also had to be added to the gymnasium altering the physical education program. Parents continued to keep their children in the school throughout this period as they felt the Board was taking all necessary safety precautions.
In 1995 the school celebrated its 75th anniversary holding a reunion during the weekend of June 23rd and 24th. Events included a tree planting ceremony, choir performances, a dance and the placing of a time capsule.
Cedardale Public School officially closed at the end of the 2001-2002 school year. The students from Cedardale P.S. and Conant P.S. were to be combined and a new school built. With the start of the 2002-2003 school year, students from these schools began attending Bobby Orr Public School. However, a new school building had not yet been built, so the former Cedardale Public School continued to be used, known as Bobby Orr Public School North, and the former Conant Public School was known as Bobby Orr Public School South.
Work was completed on the Bobby Orr Public during the summer of 2004 and the new school opened for classes in September 2004.
The school that was built in 1920 still stands and is currently (mid-2021) occupied by a music studio known as The Rehearsal Factory.
A note on spellings – when speaking about the community, the spelling ‘Cedar Dale’ is used. The school appeared to use the spelling ‘Cedardale,’ and this spelling is maintained for the school.