St. Ann’s Academy is a gem of 1858, which was initial opened as a Catholic girls’ school. Over the years it has gone through renovation and restoration by BC and is seen today by the public as a national heritage and historic site. St. Ann’s Academy includes the Chapel build and the grounds of approximately 6.25 acres, the gardens contain over 100 original fruit and historical trees. St. Ann’s Academy is located just in the heart of Victoria City on 835 Humboldt Street.
Attractions around the St. Ann`s Academy
The St. Ann`s Academy is conveniently just in the heart of Victoria, BC located just minutes away from other various activities and attractions such as:
- Lord of Our Lord – just across the street, you get a chance to visit the oldest Victoria Church and spend your time in prayers.
- Empress Hotel – where one can visit for an afternoon tea;
- Royal British Columbia Museum – where human and natural histories of British Columbia have been preserved through centuries;
- Inner Harbour – across the road with blooming flowers, palms and trees alongside gorgeous boats and yachts, makes the walk on the harbor an unforgettable experience;
- BC Parliament Building – steeped in all its history and beautiful architecture is a must see;
- Beacon Hill Park – go for a picnic and/or simply explore a mix or urban and rural nature.
St. Ann`s Academy today
From a distance the St. Ann’s Academy monumental brick-clad building welcomes you, take a walk along the pavement, through the wrought-iron gate and up the staircase and enjoy the beauty of the well-maintained gardens and landscape.
St. Ann’s Academy with its Victoria’s Quebec Colonial style architecture is open to the public to tour the grounds. Following the closure of the Academy in 1973 due to financial reasons, during the time the building was seating futile and several beautiful stained glass windows were destroyed however they were replace after the city bought the Academy. Within the St. Ann’s Academy building there are several magnificent art works, like the painting of the Immaculate Conception in the Sisters waiting room painted by Sister Mary Osithe, who was also the architect of the Little Flower Academy in Vancouver and St Ann’s Boy’s school in Quamichan. The building also contains modern offices today as well as the Chapel.
Services available at St. Ann`s Academy
St. Ann’s Academy provides other services such as:
Admission to the tour is by donation. You are free to drop in any time during regular operating hours for the tour, if you are in a group greater than 10 you will need to arrange before-hand, there are volunteers who are always willing to provide information and answer question. Typically the tour lasts for an hour.
For information on programs and tours follow the link here and for a PDF guide to the gardens and grounds, click here.
Today, the Chapel remains a distinctive consecrated place, however there are no regular services as the Chapel has no congregation. It remains consecrated following the restoration by the government, this was consecrated as an interfaith facility in a multi-faith ceremony. Visitors are allowed to view the Chapel during regular operating hours.
At St. Ann’s Academy gift shop you will find a wide variety of original souvenirs and other items for rent or purchase such as bridal items, for more details click here.
History of St. Ann`s Academy
In 1858, the Quebec-based Sisters of St. Ann replied to the need in the West Coast, they opened convents, hospitals and mission school throughout BC, Yukon and Alaska. The construction of the building was in 1871 which was due to the need for accommodations in Victoria based on the Sisters missionary success. It was built by the Roman Catholic women’s congregation, and the chapel was encased in bricks. Subsequently, in 1886 and 1910 there were additions made to the building. St. Ann’s Academy was an all-girls Catholic school and was known as a significant educational institute up until its closure in 1973. In 1974, the government of British Columbia purchased the Academy and grounds and restored the building for the public to have access to view.
Travelling to St. Ann`s Academy
If you drive to the St. Ann`s Academy, there is free 1-2 hours street parking and pay street parking available on surrounded street – Blanchard Street, Humboldt Street.
For a long term, you can also use City of Victoria Parkade located under the Central Library, which is 5 mins away:
- First 1 hour free;
- Statuary holidays and Sundays are free;
- Check more information.
If you use the bus, please check the BC Transit schedule here.
Hours of operation and public access
St. Ann’s Academy is open 1:00 pm to 4:00 pm, Thursday through Sunday from September to Mid-May; and 10:00 am to 4:00 pm every day from Mid-May to Labour Day