Interactive Documentary


St Ann's Academy


St. Ann's Academy is an incredible structure with an even more incredible past. Parts of the Academy predate Victoria's incorporation as a
city and the story of St. Ann's Academy goes back to 1858, when four Sisters of St. Ann in Victoria from Quebec to begin their mission of teaching and health care. Those first Sisters lived and worked in a small log cabin located on the Academy's grounds.

The centre section of the building you see today, built in 1871, was Victoria's first four-story masonry building. By 1886, the Academy had expanded with the addition of the east block and the chapel. The Chapel was built in 1858 and served as Victoria's first Roman Catholic Church and cathedral.

As the Provincial House of the Sisters operations in the West, St. Ann's Academy also housed a convent, A Novitiate (where new Sisters received their education and training), and the administrative offices for the Sisters educational, nursing, and missionary work throughout British Columbia, Alaska, and the Yukon. By 1973, declining enrollment and high operating costs forced the closure of St. Ann's Academy. The building was purchased by the Provincial Government.

Today, most of the building is occupied by government offices, but the Chapel and a number of rooms attached to it have been set aside as an Interpretive Centre.