George Tomlinson - Hometown Hero


Onoway and District Historical Guild recognizes George Tomlinson - an early settler in the Brookdale area, a progressive farmer, a devoted advocate of improvement in education – as its Hometown Hero.

When 17-year-old George Tomlinson enlisted in the Canadian army in 1917, probably the farthest thought from his mind was the importance of a good education. But after being honorably discharged after being wounded at Passchendaele, like many servicemen, his life changed. He left his farm in Ontario, found a piece of land near Onoway and in 1920, began a lifetime of hard work, service to his community and dedication to improvement of education.

Tomlinson was one of the first trustees when Lac Ste. Anne School Division #11 was established in 1936 and maintained that position until the board was dissolved when County of Lac Ste. Anne was formed in 1964. He was the longest serving trustee in Lac Ste. Anne and Alberta.

George Tomlinson was totally committed to improving access to education and the quality of education offered. During his tenure, the centralization of the many one-room country schools was a major achievement. School buses changed schooling. No longer would kids have to walk to school, nor, if they wanted to go beyond grade 9, leave home to board in a larger centre (or the Dormitory in Sangudo).

The other huge improvement in education in Onoway was building schools. The original two-room Beaupré School increased exponentially over the years, then as more children pursued high school education, a separate six-room high school was built. This too increased in size during Tomlinson's term.

A small exhibit highlighting some of his accomplishments was on display at the Onoway Museum.

First School Board of Lac Ste. Anne School
                        Division No. 11 (1937)
Photo taken in 1937

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Last Updated: January 25, 2019