Originally located on Academy Close, the Sisters of St. Ann Pioneer School and Convent now stands on the grounds of the nearby Royal BC Museum in Victoria. This square-timbered log cabin was built in the 1840s by the Hudson’s Bay Company. The cabin was purchased by Bishop Modest Demers in 1857 and then sold to the Sisters of St. Ann for a nominal sum.
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 location is significant as it also marks the first physical beginnings where the impact of the Sisters of St. Ann had throughout Victoria and beyond.
This place is also valued for its association with Leon Morel, a French Canadian from Quebec who worked for the Hudson’s Bay Company, and who lived in original structure before the property was sold to Bishop Demers. Morel’s daughter Emilie was one of the first pupils at St. Ann’s Convent School.