This is the site of the St. Ann residential school and farm in Duncan, which was opened in 1864 by the Sisters of St. Ann. Originally established as a school for Indigenous girls, the 400 acre property also became home to orphaned girls from St. Ann’s Academy in Victoria as well as later a boarding school for boys.
The Sisters of St. Ann arrived in Victoria from Quebec in 1858, to establish education and health service for new settlers and Indigenous people. While many of their contributions are celebrated, in 2014 the Sisters acknowledged that their involvement in Canada’s Indian Residential Schools contributed to a form of cultural oppression that has had a lasting effect not only on those who attended the schools but also on subsequent generations.
This place is valued for its association with the Francophone Sisters of St. Ann, and their profound impact on southern Vancouver Island by providing educational and health services that continues today. The property is named in memory of Sister Mary Providence, the founder of the Duncan school in 1864.
Following its closure in 1964, the Sisters transferred ownership of Providence to the Vancouver Island Providence Community Association and the farm reopened in 1979 to continue its use as an organic therapeutic farm, which it remains to present day.