North Spirit Lake First Nation is a remote, fly-in, winter road accessible community 170 kilometers north of Red Lake, Ontario. Inspiration for the new K4-9 school reflects a connection to both global knowledge and the powerful beauty of the boreal forest, its geographic context, and local legend.
Generations of community children have been spellbound by the tales of the Maymayquayshwak, a half-man and half-fish, which has been sighted along the cliffs of North Spirit Lake. The rugged cliffs along the lake, home of the Maymayquayshwak, are also the inspiration for the new school, connecting the facility to its place and giving it meaning for students, teachers, as well as for community members who use the facility after hours for recreational activities, community functions and feasts.
The school contains a kindergarten room, four classrooms, a gymnasium and a media centre (computer library/resource facilities), illuminated from above by clerestory lighting. Full-height tackable walls running the length of the school hallways form an easel to display students’ artwork. Construction systems include a glulam wood structure, fir ceiling
decking, acrylic stucco, western red cedar cladding, and a pre-finished metal roof.