Dundana Elementary School was built in 1953 on the grounds of the former County Home. The architect on the project was W.W. Allen.
The name chosen for the school was a combination of Dundas and Ancaster, acknowledging that the property on which the school stood had once been part of Ancaster.
One of the first activities held in the school was on March 10, 1954. It was a panel discussion organized by Dundas students about the values of academic education. Sponsored by the Home and School Association of Dundas, the discussion was reported to have been lively and exceedingly informative.
Stanley H. Clute remembers that he attended grade 1 in the basement of St. Paul’s Sunday School in the fall of 1953 while construction on Dundana was completed. He writes:
When school reopened in January, 1954 after the Christmas break our classes met in the newly opened Dundana Public School. The school, when it opened, stood alone at the near end of it’s street. Over the next couple of years a few houses were built. During a particularly boring lesson on a pleasant day I would often find my eyes straying to the view outside the window and lingering on the construction work.
Dundana Public School had a good sized playground. In nice weather during the next two and a half years of my residence in Dundas many of us would gather by the chain link fence at the back. A train often roared by during recess and we would wave to the crew, who waved back.
The classrooms were bright and modern…. The big, new classroom windows were a great change from the Sunday School basement of the previous semester.
To get from home to Dundana Public School I would have to leave University Gardens and walk along the sometimes busy Osler Drive, then cross Osler to South Street West. I would then walk down South Street to Lynden Avenue and then along Lynden to Dundana Avenue and the school. On one corner about midway along the part of South Street that I had to walk was a big old “horse chestnut” tree. We kids would often knock down enough chestnuts that we could take home.
Just a block or so away from the chestnut tree, closer to the school, was a great white mansion standing in its own grounds. We never knew who owned this delicately sculpted residence so we gave it a rather romantic name, the Wedding Cake House. Many years later while on a visit back to Dundas, I drove down that street. The chestnut tree was gone but the Wedding Cake House was still there, just as I remembered it.