St Ann’s Academy – Dunsmuir Street

St Ann's Academy 406 Dunsmuir 2

Dunsmuir was a street with a concentration of institutional buildings. The High School, Athletic Club and YMCA were all close to St Ann’s, the city’s first Catholic school. It was opened in 1888 by the Sisters of Saint Ann and was also known as Sacred Heart Academy. We’re not sure who originally designed the building, but in 1903 William Blackmore & Son designed additions to the premises. Our 1900s Vancouver Public Library image must be taken after that, as it looks the same in the 1947 picture below, when it was being demolished.

The Catholic Congregation purchased three lots separated by a narrow lane from the Church property on Dunsmuir Street. Sisters Mary Alexander, of the Infant Jesus, and Teresa of the Sacred Heart made up the first group of Sisters for the school. In 1901, two Sisters staffed the Boys School. In 1904 additions to Sacred Heart Academy allowed for more students and the name of the school was changed to that of St. Ann’s Academy. The school closed in 1946. The sister’s weren’t local -the early school records were written in French.

Today there’s a low podium associated with 401 West Georgia, a mid 1980s office tower. The building was kept low, and set back to allow a better view and more open setting for Holy Rosary Catholic Church.

St Ann's Academy 406 Dunsmuir v2

Image sources: Vancouver Public Library, City of Vancouver Archives Bu N201

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Posted September 10, 2015 by ChangingCity in Downtown, Gone

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