In 1871, the rate-payers of “Dennison’s Bridge” (now Combermere) organized themselves into a school section. They purchased land from Mr. John Dennison Jr., father of Mr. “C.B.” (Charles Bertram) Dennison, for the sum of one dollar. A log one-room building was erected, which was used for school purposes and church services. The first teacher was Miss Josephine Williams, who taught for the sum of one hundred and fifty dollars a year. The second teacher was Miss Elsie Lake; the third was Mrs. Jones, wife of the village Doctor. Secretary-Treasurer was entrepreneur Daniel Johnson who operated a general store where the Valley Market store is located and was also the first postmaster.

The name “Combermere” was given to the village in 1880 and in that same year a new frame white board and batten building was erected on the school property; the little log building became a wood shed. In 1883, Mr. John E. H. Miller (later was Combermere Postmaster) became Secretary, an office he held until 1919.

In 1892 the schoolhouse burned mysteriously in the night and another school building was erected the same year. In 1929 the old log building was torn down. Cloakrooms were partitioned off and indoor toilets installed in1936. Prior to that outhouses were located at the back of the school.

Work started on a new school in 1952 and completed in 1953. On May 13, 1953, the official opening of the $20,000 C. F. Cannon Public School took place. C.F. Canon was the Ontario Deputy Minister of Education at the time. Miss Kathryn Farmer was the first principal and teacher and she and her pupils moved in on the 20th of January 1953. Her photo is inserted. This school was located about 300 feet from the original log schoolhouse. At its peak, the school had up to 75 students of all grades. Other teachers included: Joan (nee Baker) Bellisle, Gail Inwood, Mrs. Stringer, Don Rouss, Ken Norton, Mrs. Sullivan and Bruce Felhaber (the last teacher). The school closed circa 1968.

In 1994 Bill and Elaine Schweig purchased the C.F. Cannon school building and property from Tom Hoy who had purchased the property from the School Board several years earlier. The school was rented out as a residence for many years. In 2005 the Schweigs opened the “Mayflower Laundry and Coffee Shop” in the renovated old school house. They later added an internet café, movie videos, books and other items and a chip truck added outside in 2008.

The Schweigs sold the business and property in 2012 to Cheryl Stanley who continues to operate the business as it was when the Schweigs owned it. In 2013 Cheryl added a large vegetable and flower greenhouse.

COMBERMERE HERITAGE WALK, A PROJECT BY THE COMBERMERE HERITAGE SOCIETY INC. – 2013