It’s the beginning of the end of a painful chapter for a northern Saskatchewan community’s history.

Residential school survivors in Ile-a-la-Crosse brought down a sledgehammer on the old school house Friday.

Two-hundred-and-forty people, most of whom were former students at the school, gathered at the ceremony that marked the long-awaited demolition. Minister of Indigenous and Northern Affairs Carolyn Bennett was on hand for the event.

The school closed in the mid-1980s.

A full demolition could begin as early as Sept. 12.