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St. Ann's Academy main gate

Walk through the wrought-iron gate, along the drive, up the grand staircase and in the former school’s formal entrance. View the 1920’s era parlours then enter the chapel. Once Victoria’s first Roman Catholic Cathedral, it was built in 1858 and moved and added to the school in 1886. Like the many rural French Canadian churches it is modeled after, it has ornate altar and ceiling carvings, gold-leaf detailing, original oil paintings, stained glass windows and a 1913 Casavant pipe organ. The resplendent Novitiate garden at the side entrance to the Chapel has a geometric herb bed, perennials and a recreated 1925 summerhouse. The 1910 formal garden at the north-west corner of the property contains rare trees and the remains of a unique fountain.

The Public Works Department of the BC government purchased the building from the Sisters of St. Ann in 1974. Initially used as office space, the old wood and brick building suffered from years of minimal maintenance and was eventually condemned by the City of Victoria. The building remained closed for more than a decade as plans were considered for the redevelopment of the property. With the completion of the Victoria Accord, a redevelopment plan was recreated. The Provincial Capital Commission partnered with the BC Buildings Corporation to complete a two year, $16.2 million renovation of the 76,000 square foot building. A portion of the building (the Interpretive Centre) was restored to a 1920’s appearance while the majority of the building was converted into modern office space. The Ministry of Advanced Education leases the office space while the PCC operates the Interpretive Center, celebrating the history of this important landmark. The restored 1910 auditorium has also been restored and, along with 6 acres of grounds, is also available for public use.