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Interpretive Centre: East Block, 1886

The Pupils' Parlour, or Green Parlour

Pupil's Parlour, c. 1950 Pupil's Parlour, c. 1950
(click for larger image)

Pupil's Parlour, c. 1955 Pupil's Parlour, c. 1955

The Pupils' Parlour was to the right of the main entrance, on the second floor of the building. It was a formal parlour where new students and the guests of the girls were escorted, after they entered the Academy.

For many girls, the Pupils' Parlour was a daunting place full of stiff chairs and heavy wallpaper. It was a formal parlour in the style of the Victorian era, its original decoration dating from the 1880s. Particularly in the 1940s, when meetings were called about student issues, the girls would file into the parlour to discuss and resolve any problems, in the official environment of the room. The Sisters were attentive to the care and cleanliness of the building and the parlour retained much of its furniture until the closure of the school.

At certain periods, a grand piano was placed in the room, and can be seen in old picgraphs, sitting underneath a large hanging light fixture. Plants and standing lamps were placed between the windows and the many paintings which hung on the walls. Many of these were the work of Sister Osithe and the other Sisters of the Convent, and focused on both religious and secular themes.

Parlour today Parlour today
(click for large view)

A beautiful leaded glass door led into the parlour from the hallway.Most of the glass had to be replaced or repaired when the Interpretative Centre was restored in the 1990s, involving glass workers who carefully re-cut the pieces, using techniques very similar to the ones employed in the 1800s. This art glass and the wood trim around the door and windows was often found in the parlours of private homes in Victoria, a city that could import art glass from California, Europe and Eastern Canada by ship. The casement-type windows in this room were typical of those commonly used in Quebec at the time, with a casement, the hinged part of the window attached to the upright side of the window-frame and opening inward.

Radiators from reconstruction Radiators from reconstruction
(click for large view)

Many girls simply remember the Pupils' Parlour as the first room they entered in St. Ann's Academy, as they waited to be registered, or the place where, as Novices, they received their friends and family, who were concerned about their well-being. One Sister has a very special memory of that room. She recalls, "When my brother returned from the war, he knew I was praying for him, and he came in and picked me up in full habit and swung me around the parlour, so I remember the parlour very well. He said, "Thank you for praying me home."

Another interesting feature of the room was the style of radiators. These extended along the wall underneath the windows in horizontal patterns. These pipe-radiators were actually formed from pipe sections, through which the hot water flowed to warm the room. The fittings that were used are no longer manufactured today. This posed a problem during the restoration, for, instead of ordering replacement parts, the plumbers from C&R Plumbing were forced to repair and re-use stretched and pitted pieces made in the 19th century.

Click here for more on the restoration of St. Anns Academy.

This room was chosen to be restored as part of the Interpretive Centre, so that people coming to St. Ann's today can get a sense of the school in earlier times. The period of the "1920s" was selected for the Pupils' Parlour restoration.