Right from the early years, picnics were a popular tradition at St. Ann’s. Sister Mary Angèle would set off with frying pans, brown sugar and batter, make a fire out of driftwood, and cook pancakes for her companions. The first outdoor pancake banquet was held on the feast of Saint Ann, and grew into a semi-regular event.
The picnic tradition continued over a century later. Sisters encouraged the girls to spend time outside. Their picnics were ‘rain or shine’ events, and although their first experience outside in the cold and rain left the students happy to hop into warm baths and sip tea, indoors, they were soon waking up in the dawn hours of picnic days in great excitement.
Outings to Goldstream Park were popular, and many girls were invited for boat rides and trips to properties owned by the Church and the parents of students. Class field trips other than local walks were a new idea in the early 1940s. Ruth Hall (McIntyre) remembers going up to Duncan, one Saturday afternoon, to see a farm connected with the school. They met the poor chickens they had been eating for dinner. She comments, “We were NOT impressed with that.”
St. Ann’s was notorious for its fantastic plays and pageants. People would come from the Victoria community to watch the talented performers in the auditorium. Costumes were sewn, scripts were written and parts were rehearsed for “Lady of the Lake”, the dance of the “Nutcracker Suite”, and other dramatic and theatrical productions. A newspaper clipping from 1929-30 critiqued a performance. The headline read: “St. Ann’s Girls Give Joan of Arc: Historic Play Presented for Big Audiences at Convent Auditorium”. It gave them a glowing review: “Joan of Arc” was presented in the auditorium of St. Ann’s Convent on Friday afternoon and evening by the Aquinas Literary Society before most appreciative audiences ... the acting showed careful training and attention to detail, and clever lighting effects, suitable costuming and excellent stage setting enhanced the effect. The performance was such a success that it was repeated at the convent last night.”