Beginnings Early Education in BC


Fort Victoria is established by the HBC.

1840s Log cabin constructed in Victoria by a French Canadian employee of the HBC (situated on Humboldt Street).

1846 The Oregon Treaty establishes the 49th parallel as the international boundary between
the United States and British territory. The HBC moves its operations from Fort Vancouver to Fort Victoria.

Dioceses of Vancouver Island created.

1847 Modeste Demers ordained Bishop of Vancouver Island.
1848 The Institute of the Sisters of Saint Ann was founded in Quebec by Marie Esther Blondin.
1849 The Colony of Vancouver Island is established by the British Government.
1849 A Catholic school was established in Fort Victoria under the guidance of the Reverend Honore Timothy Lempfrit, O.M.I. (The school lasted until October 8, 1851 when Father Lempfrit left for the Cowichan Valley.)
1849 “Company School” was established in Fort Victoria under the guidance of Reverend and Mrs. Staines who arrived from England on March 17th. However, the school building provided by the HBC was not officially opened to students until January 23, 1850.
1852 “Common School” established in Fort Victoria for “the children of the laboring and poor classes.”
1853 First purpose-built schoolhouse opens in Minie’s Plain, near Victoria.
1853 Log cabin purchased by another French Canadian, Leon Morrells. (When his wife dies, his daughter Emily becomes the first orphan border at the school).
1855 Craigflower common school established by the HBC, building still in existence today.
1856 Bishop Modeste Demers first meets the Sisters of St. Ann at Lachine, Quebec. (All thirty-eight nuns of the order volunteer to travel to Victoria with the Bishop although only four are chosen.)
1858 Gold rush starts
1858 Log Cabin purchased by Bishop Demers for $500
1858 The Bishop and the four sisters arrive in Victoria. Classes begin immediately.
1858 The mainland Colony of British Columbia is created.
1858 Additions to the log cabin: chapel completed, renovations on the convent, and a new bell in the 12-foot belfry.
1859 Twenty-two year-old Sister Mary Providence arrives in Victoria and begins her duties as Superior of the Sister’s of St. Ann accompanied by Sister Mary Bonsecours.
1859 Select School opens up on Broad Street.
1860 School moved to a new brick building on View Street. The View Street Convent was built at a cost of $5000 and will renovated three years later in order to accommodate boarders and day students.
1863 St. Louis College for boys established in Victoria by the Oblate Fathers.
1863-1864 Log cabin briefly used as a dormitory for boys.
1864 Sisters establish the Cowichan Convent School in Quamichan, BC for aboriginal girls.
1865 St. Ann’s Academy established in New Westminster, BC.
1865 Common School Act established on Vancouver Island.
1866 The Colonies of Vancouver Island and British Columbia are amalgamated to create the single Colony of British Columbia.
1869 Common School Ordinance established
1871 Entry into Confederation
1871 St. Ann’s Academy established at its present location in Victoria.
1872 Public Schools Act established. This allowed schools to be funded through revenue from the Province. School districts were created, and a Board of Education and School Superintendent were also appointed. The objective of this act was “to give every child in the Province such knowledge as will fit him to become a useful and intelligent citizen in after years.”
1876 St. Joseph’s Hospital established by the Sister’s of St. Ann in Victoria.
1858-1876 The Sister’s of St. Ann ran an orphanage alongside their girl’s boarding school.