For today’s adventure together, we’re going to take a look at a facility that is one of the original cornerstone buildings for Victoria. St. Ann’s Academy was one of the first buildings constructed in the area and is now considered a heritage site.
St Ann’s Academy is of a typical architecture employed for the design and building of convent’s in Quebec and the west portion of Canada during the late 1800’s and early 1900’s. The original building was constructed in 1871, and additions were added in 1909 and 1910. The attached chapel was originally constructed in 1858 as the first Roman Catholic cathedral in Victoria, and was subsequently moved and attached to the main structure of the Academy in 1886. The academy itself sits on a 6.5 acre garden.
Completed in 1871, the facility was the largest and best-equipped educational institution in the region. Their original focus on health care resulted in the creation of Saint Joseph’s hospital across the street. We have a few images of this hospital to share at a later time. By 1971, the maintenance and upkeep of the facility became too large a financial burden for the ability of the sisters to manage, and the academy was then sold to the Provincial Capital Commission. The hospital across the street was donated to the people of Victoria. The sisters continue their good work today from other locations in the area.
It truly remains an icon of our city and most locals are well aware of it. From talking to some of the local dwellers during the shoot, many weddings are held on the grounds and inside the chapel due to the beauty of the facility. I noted that some of the older buildings and areas in the facility are open to the public at specific times, and Mrs. Toad and myself are planning on heading back here soon to grab some interior shots. I did not have enough time to do this on my initial photo shoot.
Ornate gates adorn the entrance-way complete with gorgeous brick and iron workings. In the background, the academy looms on the horizon. We get our initial peek at the detailed architecture used for buildings of this sort during the late 1800’s, and all the windows and stone-work really add an old world feel to the entire setting.
This is a slightly different view from the above picture. I don’t normally like to post the same angle shot, but I just loved both of these images for different reasons and hoped you’d enjoy viewing them.
I am not sure at all, but I believe this is one of the additions to the original structure. I absolutely loved the trees that framed with woman sitting on the bench there, and found this scene to be full of drama. The large park that surrounds the buildings is a popular destination for folks to come and enjoy some quiet time in the inner city. It was really great to see everyone on the grounds during this day; it was one of the first real nice days we’ve had here in Victoria in what seems like 10 months now, so it felt like the entire city came out to enjoy the day.
The main building is absolutely brimming with architecturally interesting elements to take in, from the intricate stone-work to the red roof and the shiny crosses glinting light back to the viewer. There is no shortage of wonderful things to take in with this facility.
The main entrance path leads the viewer naturally right up to the glorious wooden front door. Framed on both sides by lush, green trees, this idyllic setting really personifies what living in Victoria was like for the residents in the early days.
As mentioned above, my initial photo foray to the facility was a short one and I did not have time to go inside to grab some shots. This is definitely planned for the future, and now that the weather appears to be improving we are hoping to get to some of these projects sooner rather than later. In the meantime, we are thrilled to bring you these photos and to have a chance to share some of the history of our city.
We sure do appreciate your visit today, thanks so much! Please feel free to leave us some comments as we always love to hear from our visitors!