WHO WAS R. ROSS BEATTIE?
Where did he come from and why was our school named after him?
Robert Ross Beattie was born and raised in the city of Guelph, Ontario. He attended both public and high school there. When he was 17 years old he lost his left hand in an industrial accident in a part-time job he was doing. It was at this point in his life that his dreams of becoming a dentist had to change. He did not need two hands to become a teacher. He attended Guelph Normal School and taught at Guelph’s Central School from 1926 to 1927. From 1927 until 1930 he was the principal of the King Edward School in Guelph.
He had wedding plans and came to Timmins. His annual salary was $500 dollars in Guelph. Coming to Timmins, his yearly salary doubled. He arrived in Timmins in August of 1930. He served as principal of Moneta Public School, now Flora MacDonald Public School. He was transferred to the same position in 1932 at Mattagami Public School where he stayed for 16 years.
Next to see him were the pupils of Birch Street Public School, now known as Queen Elizabeth Public. He worked as principal from 1948 until 1951 and was then appointed to Central Public School, now the 101 Mall. He completed his many years of service to the teaching profession in 1966 and retired.
He developed the concept of senior elementary schools in Northern Ontario and had been a teacher and principal for more than 40 years.
He was one of the founding members, in the early 1950’s, to create the Porcupine Association for the Mentally Handicapped Children and was one of the founders of Brousseau Avenue School.
He remained in Timmins for only a short time following his retirement from the Timmins Board of Education. He and his wife returned to Guelph for his remaining years. The highest honour was given to him on September 15, 1970 when the new Senior School was dedicated in his name. He, his wife and his family were fortunate enough to witness the scarlet ribbon cutting ceremony on the front steps of the school. He felt this honour was like a birthday gift as it was the 40th anniversary of coming to work in the schools of Timmins.
How great it was that this honour was given to him, for his long years of service, while he was able to enjoy the fruits of his labour. R. Ross Beattie died in December, 1974 in Guelph.
We have a special school and R. Ross Beattie was a special man.