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St. Ann's Academy (Victoria, British Columbia)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

St. Ann’s Academy
St. Ann's Academy, Victoria, British Columbia, Canada 09.jpg
Main building
General information
Architectural style French Canadian - Quebec Provincial
Location 835 Humboldt Street
Victoria, British Columbia
V8W 1B1
Country Canada
Construction started 1858 Chapel
1871 School
1886 & 1909 Convent
Client Sisters of Saint Ann
Design and construction
Architect Joseph Michaud, John Teague, Thomas Hooper
Official name St. Ann's Academy National Historic Site of Canada
Designated 1989

St. Ann's Academy was built by the Roman Catholic women’s Congregation of the Sisters of St. Ann of Lachine, Quebec. The chapel was built in 1859 and is the oldest part of the Academy. The chapel was the original St. Andrew's Cathedral. The chapel was later moved from its original location, encased in brick, and became the ’heart’ of the newly built school of St. Ann’s Academy (1872).[1] Later a convent was added (1887) to the west side of the Academy and behind the Academy (1910).

St. Ann’s Academy was an all-girls Catholic school and convent.

The Sisters of St. Ann closed the Academy and in 1975 sold the property to the provincial government of British Columbia which used it as office space for the public service for a few years, but it was in need of major repairs and had to be closed. Years-long civic debate of diverse proposals for the future of the building and site ensued.

Placed under the stewardship of the Provincial Capital Commission, the interior of the building was gutted and rebuilt, basement to attic, providing seismic upgrade and rehabilitation into modern office space. Once completed, the majority of the building was leased to the BC Ministry of Advanced Education, a use consistent with the Sisters' aims. The exterior facade of his heritage building was retained and repaired. The chapel, parlours and infirmary were retained as an interpretive centre and restored to their 1920s decor. The auditorium at the other end of the building was also seismically upgraded and restored and is used for public lectures and concerts. The building was re-opened in 1997.

The chapel was deconsecrated when the Sisters sold the property. Since the restoration of the chapel and the adjacent Novitiate Garden, these have been in great demand as a venue for weddings and other functions.

An annex behind the main building which had been occupied by the Victoria Conservatory of Music was demolished on September 11, 2001 following the Conservatory's move to the former Metropolitan United Church buildings. The site was cleared and became green space, merging the Academy grounds with the adjacent Beacon Hill Park.

Plaques & Signage

Andrew Petter, Minister Responsible for the Provincial Capital Commission, proposal to restore St. Ann's, at a cost of $16 million.[2]


St. Ann’s Academy is an excellent example of Victoria's Quebec Colonial style architecture.

The Chapel

St. Ann's Chapel was the original St. Andrew's Cathedral of the city of Victoria. The chapel of St. Andrew’s was designed by Brother (later Father) Michaud of the Clerics of Saint Viator.[3]

Other art works

The Sisters of Saint Ann had two cemeteries at the Academy, where many of the first sisters were buried. In 1909, the Sisters were exhumed and reinterred in the Sisters' plot in Ross Bay Cemetery. upon the closure of the Academy in 1974.[5]

Many of the stained glass windows were vandalized during its time of abandonment, and had to be rebuilt during the reconstruction.[6]

Sister Mary Osithe was the painter of 'The Immaculate Conception' painting that sits in the Sisters waiting room. Sister Mary Osithe was also the architect of Little Flower Academy school in Vancouver and St.Ann's Boy's School, Quamichan.[7]

See also


External links

This page was last edited on 17 October 2018, at 01:02
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