Seeing the INSIDE of Willow Plain School — FINALLY!

Back in January, I posted about visiting the OUTside of Willow Plain School. Yep, just the outside of the building. Because even though this is an official Historic Site, you can’t just walk in there whenever you want. It’s locked up. So, you have to be on the lookout for specific times when the doors are open to the public. I recently learned that just such an opportunity is available to us this summer — so Andrew and I hopped in the car and scooted off to Sarto!


Ah, I always get so excited when I see those brown signs marking Historic Sites. But this time I was even MORE excited because it was accompanied by an “OPEN” sign!

The door’s open — yay!

We were greeted at the door by Aleah, Tour Guide for the Willow Plain School. She’s a local high school student and LOVES history, and will take you around the school and point out interesting artifacts and tell you about the story this place tells about this building’s past, and also the past of the entire surrounding area.

I was excited to finally set foot inside this historic building!

From the inside, looking OUT — at the cairn, flag, and road sign announcing OPEN!

So, once inside, there’s a LOT to see. Someone has been lovingly collecting information about every person and event that has occurred in and around the Sarto, Pansy, Trentham area over the past century, and is conveying this information very carefully on many posterboards throughout the interior of this school. Aleah told me she just received the posterboards the previous day — so these are quite new arrivals, and it’s possible that when you visit, they may be arranged differently.

Close-up of just one of 50 (ish?) posterboards presently stored in the schoolhouse in Sarto.

She also told me that many people, when they visit the school, are delighted to see photos of their parents and grandparents in these community photo collections. If you’re of Ukrainian descent and have family that’s from Southeastern Manitoba, it may be worth your while to visit Willow Plain School even just to learn more about your family!

Lost in thought, and learning.
So interesting! “Their children watch as Joe Wacha and his wife plaster the timbers of their home six kilometres north of Vita, Manitoba, c. 1905 (W.J. Sisler Collection/Archives of Manitoba).”
A map of who settled was living where, back in 1923. Whoa.
I’m assuming this is recommended supplementary reading. I find the cover photo intriguing.
Cloakroom… and the open door!
A beautifully weathered door.
Since my last post about Willow Plain, it seems the plaque is aging a bit…
Every Friday, Saturday, and Sunday this summer, Aleah sits in this lawnchair, ready to greet you upon your arrival at this historic site!

The Willow Plain School Heritage Site is open to the public every weekend this summer from Friday ’til Sunday, 10am-4pm. It’s possible that *some* Sundays it might be closed… so if you’re driving from a long distance on a Sunday, you may want to call ahead. I failed to ask Aleah for contact info, but there are three different phone numbers on Travel Manitoba’s Willow Plain page, which you will find here: link.