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.

St. Ann's Academy - Victoria BC Canada

St. Ann's Academy - Victoria BC Canada

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.

St. Ann's Academy - Victoria BC Canada

St. Ann's Academy - Victoria BC Canada

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.

St. Ann's Academy - Victoria BC Canada

St. Ann's Academy - Victoria BC Canada

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.

St. Ann's Academy - Victoria BC Canada

St. Ann's Academy - Victoria BC Canada

St. Ann's Academy - Victoria BC Canada

St. Ann's Academy - Victoria BC Canada

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.

St. Ann's Academy - Victoria BC Canada

St. Ann's Academy - Victoria BC Canada

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!




  1. avatar Jim Nix says:

    such great colors, all around stellar processing, well done Toad!

  2. avatar Chris Wray says:

    Lovely photos of the nunnery! Your second photo through the open gate is my favorite–beautifully framed.

  3. avatar Heather says:

    I need help. My jaw is stuck to the floor…..seriously awesome Toad…..

  4. avatar Chris Nitz says:

    Absolutely gorgeous setting Toad. I gotta agree, I really like the second shot with the open gate. So inviting!

  5. avatar A.Barlow says:

    That last shot takes the cake man, good stuff for sure!

  6. avatar Kristi Hines says:

    Looks like a beautiful building – can’t wait to see what’s inside! 🙂

  7. avatar Cathy Ross says:

    Really felt like I was right there on that amazingly gorgeous campus! Love It!

  8. avatar ChrisdMRF says:

    Great images Toad. From never having heard of Victoria BC previously I now find myself captivated by your images of the town.

  9. avatar Jerry Denham says:

    All of the shots are great but I really love the second image through the gate. Great job Toad.

  10. avatar tom dinning says:

    You just keep getting better and better at this, Mr and Mrs Toad.
    One day I’ll get you to show me your HDR work flow. You’re on a winner.

    • Oh my God, what a huge and kind comment! Thank you so much Tom, that means more to us than you can possibly know. Get on over for a visit, my good friend, we’ll show you our Toady ways and give you and Christine the Top Drawer Tour of the island! Thank you SO much Tom!!!

      • avatar tom dinning says:

        Its my new ‘nice’ image. Apparently I’m scaring all the children in the neighborhood. Why, I even scared myself the other day. We want to go somewhere at Xmas but BC is a bit chilly, unless you can heat the place up for us. Do you know anyone?

        • We’ve got a wood stove here, I am wondering if we were to light that puppy up and open the windows… would it heat the entire province? Gosh, Tom, you are a really great friend to us Toad’s here at The Hollow and all, but I do get concerned slightly when I see that you are being pressured into being someone you are not. Spread your wings; be the best Tom you can possibly be… even if that means BBQ’ing up the odd local neighborhood child here and there.

  11. really like the second image – a sneaky look into the forbidden world – very good.