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Significant Structures

Significant Heritage Structures

The following are a few of the more familiar heritage structures in Saanich:

770 Vernon Avenue
Municipal Hall

Following the Second World Ward, the old Saanich Municipal Hall was unable to accommodate the growth of municipal administration.  In 1947 Hubert Savage was commissioned to design an addition and alterations to the old hall.  In 1957 an additional 9,000 square feet of space was again required.  A Municipal Hall Reserve Fund By-law was passed in 1959 which set aside funds for a future new hall.  It was decided that a more central location for the hall would be better.  In 1961-62 the new Police-Fire Hall building was constructed on Vernon Avenue.  The following year, the Health and Welfare building was built on an adjacent site on Vernon, to designs by architect Clive Campbell.

Photo of 770 Vernon AveFinally, in 1963 Wade Stockdill Armour & Partners were appointed as architects for the new Municipal Hall, with John W. Armour in charge of Administration and Peter Blewett responsible for design.  The firm was also hired to design the furniture and special fixtures in the building.  Lone V. Nielsen did the interior design.  In July, 1964, George H. Wheaton Limited (with a bid of $611,616) was hired as the construction firm.  Philip Tattersfield and Associates were the landscape architects.  The new hall was officially opened on December 1, 1965 by Lieutenant-Governor George R. Pearkes.  Final cost, including furnishings, was about $800,000.  It now accommodates about one hundred and fifty municipal inside employees.

The flat-roofed building, constructed of reinforced concrete, has bands of windows the full length of the front and rear walls.  Stairwells on the centre front and the south end are placed inside towers which exploit the sculptural properties of poured concrete.  The front tower is a part of the ceremonial entranceway to the centre of civic government.  This entranceway to the centre of civic government.  This entranceway has a sweeping stairway up to a cantilevered deck which is used as a speakers' podium for civic ceremonies.  Mature landscaping beautifully complements the facade.  The interior concrete is given colour and warmth by the use of teak for paneling in the council chambers, and for balustrades and walls in public areas.  However, in common with many 1960s designs in concrete and glass, the interior overheats in the summer and is cold in the winter.  This is particularly true on the second floor where the summer heat from the huge skylight over the central well is unmanageable.

2755 Admirals Road  (1854-1855)

Puget Sound Agricultural Company

Photo of 2755 AdmiralsThe Craigflower Schoolhouse (originally called Maple Point School), the oldest surviving school building in Western Canada, was built on orders from Kenneth MacKenzie.  He came from Scotland with his family in 1852, on the Hudson's Bay Company ship Norman Morison, to establish a farm for the Puget Sound Agricultural Company, a subsidiary of the Hudson's Bay Company.  A school was needed for the children of farm employees, as well as those of arriving settlers.  Gideon Halcro and his workmen began construction on Monday, August 21, 1854 and completed the project Friday, February 23, 1855.  Lumber and foundation bricks were produced at Craigflower Farm across the Gorge.  Glass, hardware, and large bricks stamped "Stourbridge," were imported from England.  Total cost was about $4300.  The two-storey building had one schoolroom, and six rooms for the teacher, his family and students boarders from the western communities.  The school opened in March, 1855, the same week a ship's bell from the steamer Major Tompkins, wrecked off Macaulay Point, was hung in the yard.  The first Craigflower bridge was built the next winter linking the school to the Craigflower settlement.  The building became a focal point for social and religious events.  It was used as a school until 1911, when the new Craigflower School was built across the road (superceded by a third building in 1964).  The old school was vacant until it was converted to a museum which the Native Sons and Daughters of British Columbia ran from 1931 until 1975.  The provincial Historic Parks and Sites Branch then acquired the property, restored it and reopened it as a museum.

This simple Georgian Revival structure is side-gabled and has brick chimneys both ends.  There is a large fireplace in the schoolroom and another in the teacher's quarters.  The fourteen-inch-thick walls are composed of sawn clapboard siding applied to diagonal sheathing over standard Hudson's Bay Company log construction.  Hewn horizontal logs were slid down from the top between vertical uprights, the joists hewn and sawn, and the roof timbers sawn.  The building was set on a concrete foundation in 1929.

5071 West Saanich Road  (1915-1918)

His Majesty the King in right of the Dominion of Canada

Photo of 5071 W. Saanich RdThe Dominion Astrophysical Observatory telescope was designed by Dr. John Stanley Plaskett, astronomer with the Department of the Interior in Ottawa.  The 72-inch reflecting telescope was the largest of its kind in the world when it was built.  The large mirror disc weighing 1,960 pounds was made in Belgium at the St. Gobain glass works, and shipped from there just days before the beginning of World War One.  The disc was ground at the John A. Brashear Company in Pittsburg.  The sixty-six foot dome and mounting required to house the telescope was fabricated by the Warner and Swasey Company in Cleveland, Ohio.  It was then dismantled and shipped to Victoria, where it was installed in the double-walled steel observatory constructed by the McAlpine-Robertson Company of Vancouver for a contract price of $75,000.  Eight hundred tons of concrete were used in the construction of the foundation and piers inside the building, on which the telescope and its mounting rest.  The buildings were designed by William Henderson, resident architect of the Dominion Public Works Department in Victoria.  These included residences for the chief astronomer, Dr. Plaskett, and assistants, and an office building.

Various areas in Western Canada were considered as possible sites for the observatory, but Saanich was chosen because of the stability of atmospheric conditions and the equability of year-round temperatures, more than for the clarity of its air.  The provincial government constructed the road from West Saanich Road to the summit of Little Saanich Mountain as a relief project for the unemployed of the municipality.  The province also contributed $10,000 to the project, which cost over $200,000.

4512 West Saanich Road  (1911)

Saanich Municipal Hall

Photo of 4512 W. Saanich RdSaanich was incorporated on March 1, 1906.  Council meetings were held initially in the Hilliger house, and from February 9, 1907, in the converted James Pim farmhouse at the corner of Glanford and Vanalman Avenues.  In the 1911 election debate over the location of the new municipal hall, Frederick and William James Quick were instrumental in choosing Royal Oak.  John Charles Malcolm Keith, the architect of Christ Church Cathedral, designed the hall, C.H. Merkly built it for $4364, and D.L. Hickey and Company did the wiring for $288.  The first addition was built in 1915 by Arthur Stewart.  In 1948 Dillabough and Luney made repairs and built an addition.  In 1958 two huts from Gordon Head Camp were purchased and moved to the hall.  The new municipal hall was opened in 1965.  The old hall was sold and is now a restaurant.

This hipped-roof building has been altered considerably over the years.  The low-pitched, bell-cast roof has lost its open, octagonal cupola or bell-tower on the roof ridge.  The symmetrical, formal front facade had a hipped-roof open entrance porch with proportionately large, square, shingled pillars.  The building's fieldstone foundations are visible only from the parking lot, under a wooden ramp, and its former dark-stained shingles are now light. 

1950 Lansdowne Road  (1913-1914)

His Majesty the King in Right of the Province of British Columbia

Photo of 1950 Lansdowne RdThe Provincial Normal School was opened January 4, 1915, with about fifty students.  Its purpose was to train teachers for the elementary and high schools of British Columbia.  The school drew its students from the islands, and the mainland east of Hope and north of Powell River.  Teacher-trainees from the lower mainland and the Fraser Valley attended the provincial Normal School in Vancouver.  The principal in Victoria was Donald L. MacLaurin and the head of the model school was Mr. McLean.  The Young Building was named after the Hon. Dr. Henry Esson Young, Provincial Secretary and Minister of Education at the time.  From 1942 until 1946, the school served as a military hospital.  After the war, the campus was shared by the Normal School and Victoria College.  They were united by statute in 1955 as Victoria College.  The College moved to the new Gordon Head campus in 1967 and the young Building became the home of the Institute of Adult Studies.  Three years later, as Camosun College, it became a two-year diploma-granting college, which has grown considerably in size.

The Young Building was designed by Vancouver architect W.C.F. Gillam, who won the competition from among sixteen architects.  It was constructed by Luney Brothers of Victoria for about $307,000.  Although first designed in brick and terracotta, the provincial government requested that brick and stone be used, in order to give local employment and use local materials.  Whitworth and Stewart of Vancouver did the masonry work with sandstone from the quarries of the Denman Island Stone Company.  The roof slates were from a Welsh quarry.  The building is in an eclectic Beaux Arts-style.  The facade is symmetrical, with wings flanking the long horizontal mass of the main portion.  This horizontality is emphasized by the contrasting sandstone first level and brick upper levels.  These are divided by a sandstone string course, and the horizontal chamfering of the sandstone blocks on both the central entrance and the quoining of the wings.  The monumental clock tower above the central entrance is visible for miles across the city, and the building is beautifully sited on the southern slope of Mount Tolmie.  The symmetrical massing of the building is emphasized by the formal landscaping which includes a grand avenue of trees leading up from Lansdowne Road.

4139 Lambrick Way  (ca. 1859)
Captain Charles and Grace Dodd

Photo of 4139 Lambrick WayThis is the oldest house still standing in Saanich and was originally situated at 1710 Kenmore Road.  It was built for the Dodds as a country home.  Dodd, a servant of the Hudson's Bay Company, came to the Coast in 1836 on the paddle wheeler S.S. Beaver.  He was promoted to master of the Beaver and later the Labouchere.  He eventually became Chief Factor for the northwest coast, but died shortly afterwards on June 2, 1860.  In accordance with Dodd's will, Roderick Finlayson and William Fraser Tolmie were appointed Trustees of his estate.  A handsome tabletop monument over Dodd's grave still stands in Pioneer Square in Victoria.

This simple, one-storey, cedar-shingled house is country Georgian in style.  The interior, with its twelve-foot ceilings, is lined in redwood.  In 1978 the house was moved from its original location at the corner of Kenmore Road and Torquay Drive by developer Charles Van Veen, who wished to subdivide the property where it stood.

3815 Haro Road  (ca. 1911)

Letitia Jean and Algernon Henry Pease

Photo of 3815 Haro RdThis water tower is one of the last remaining in the municipality.  Until the Saanich Waterworks reached rural areas, many framers had water tanks in towers.  This one was reportedly designed by architect Percy Leonard james, along with the Peases' house (part of which was moved and serves as the University of Victoria's Student Health Services Centre).  The tower was originally a tank on a raised platform.  In 1933 it was enclosed as a stable, with hayloft and tackroom in the tank section.  Windows were added, it was shingled, given a shake roof, and the tank portion was covered in rough weatherboards.

The Peases named their property "Hamsterley Farm" and operated a strawberry jam factory on it.  After they sold it, they opened the "Hamsterley Tea Room" on the Malahat, then "Hamsterley Lakeside" and later the "Toby Jug" at Elk Lake.  From 1933 to 1946 the property was owned by Alice Maud (Mrs. Fred) Robertson of "The Spode Shop".  She called the property "Drummadoon," and it became "Upper Drummadoon" when her daughter's house, "Lower Drummadoon," was built lower down the hill.




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