New West invited to celebrate McBride’s 90th anniversary at a special event

The community is invited to celebrate the 90th anniversary of Richard McBride Elementary School at an event next month.

“It’s kind of especially important given that this is probably one of the last couple of years for this building since McBride is being rebuilt,” Jen Arbo, McBride parent advisory council chair, told the Record.

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The celebration is meant to recognize the important role the school has played in the community and in the lives of many generations of New Westminster residents.

The existing school was built in 1929, after the original two-storey school, built in 1912, burned down. Last year, Education Minister Rob Fleming announced the school would be replaced by a brand new, $22.6-million school, set to open January 2021.

“I think there are some people in the community who are a little bit sad that the building itself will be replaced with the rebuild of the school and this is, I think, an opportunity to say good-bye, touch the walls one last time and remember some of the moments that made it a special place to grow up,” Arbo said.

The party is planned for Saturday, May 25, and it is open to everyone. There will also be a celebration on Friday, May 24 but that one is just for staff and students, Arbo said.

The events are being organized by McBride staff with funding from the school’s parent advisory council and a grant from the City of New Westminster. Part of the money from the grant will also be used by students to create a timeline depicting the history of the school.

“It’s essentially a long hallway art piece,” Arbo said.

“It gives them the opportunity to not only learn about the history but immerse themselves in it. Plus it pays a bit of homage when we open up the new school that there’ll be a piece of the old school that’s left behind.”

Folks are welcome to donate any McBride-related historical items to the project, Arbo added. They can do so by contacting Deidre Wrightman at the school at

Arbo is also hoping the community will help support the event by buying commemorative McBride items from an online store the PAC set up.

mcbride anniversary
The logo designed to commemorate the 90th anniversary of Richard McBride Elementary School.

There are keychains, sweatshirts, T-shirts and mugs all with different McBride logos on them available for purchase. The school has also created an anniversary logo that is available on several items, too.

All the items for sale are available for pre-order at

The event on May 25 runs from 1 to 3:30 p.m. Doors open at 1 p.m. and at 1:15 p.m. there’ll be speeches by superintendent Karim Hachlaf and school board chair Mark Gifford, a show by the High Notes, McBride’s school choir, and cupcakes and tea. At 1:45 p.m. the community will be invited to tour the school and check out classrooms featuring different videos and presentations about McBride’s history.

Organizers are looking for volunteers to help throughout the day. If you’re interested email

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