Craigflower Schoolhouse National Historic Site of Canada
Victoria, British Columbia
(© Parks Canada/Parcs Canada, 1994.)
2765 Admirals Road, Craigflower, Victoria, British Columbia
Historic Sites and Monuments Act (R.S.C., 1985, c. H-4)
1854 to 1855
1854 to 1911
1927 to 1927
Event, Person, Organization:
Hudson's Bay Company
Native Sons and Native Daughters of B.C.
Puget's Sound Agricultural Company
Maple Point School
Research Report Number:
Existing plaque: 2765 Admirals Road, Victoria, British Columbia
Built in 1854-1855, Craigflower Schoolhouse was one of several established and paid for by Vancouver Island's colonial administration. It was constructed with lumber obtained from a steam-powered sawmill at the Hudson's Bay Company's Craigflower Farm. Its one schoolroom served children from the farm and nearby districts, while the upstairs provided living quarters for the teacher's family and student boarders. The schoolhouse operated from 1855 until l911, and since 1931 has served as a museum. It is the oldest surviving school building in Western Canada.
Description of Historic Place
The Craigflower Schoolhouse National Historic Site of Canada is a two-storey timber-framed building located on the north bank of the Gorge Estuary in the greater Victoria area. Built in 1854-1855, to meet the educational needs of children at Craigflower Farm, the building’s five bay plan, gable roof, Georgian proportions and white clapboard exterior echo the form and design of the nearby Craigflower Manor House National Historic Site of Canada. The schoolhouse is a conspicuously sited historical landmark. Official recognition refers to the building on its lot.
The Craigflower Schoolhouse was designated a national historic site of Canada in 1964 because: preserved virtually intact, it is the oldest surviving school building in Western Canada.
The Craigflower Schoolhouse was constructed with lumber obtained from a steam-powered sawmill at the Hudson’s Bay Company’s Craigflower Farm. Designed with a schoolroom and accommodation for the teacher and his family on the main floor and several rooms for boarders on the second floor, it served children from the farm and nearby settlements. The building was also used for church meetings and public gatherings. After the schoolhouse ceased operations in 1911, the building quickly fell into disrepair. In 1927, it was acquired and restored by the Native Sons and Native Daughters of British Columbia and preserved as a museum. Its well-preserved interior and exterior illustrate architectural and construction practices associated with the transition from fur trade to settlement on the West Coast, and convey the importance attached to education during the early stages of European settlement in Western Canada.
Sources: Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada, Minutes, October 1964, June 1983.
The key elements relating to the heritage value of this site include: the situation of the schoolhouse on its original site and relationship between the building and its grounds and the waterfront; its siting on the north bank of the Gorge Estuary opposite the Craigflower Manor House National Historic Site of Canada and the former site of the Craigflower Farm settlement; its rectangular, two-storey massing under a gable roof with end chimneys, and its two clapboard lean-tos located on the south-west side and along the rear; its mortice-and-tenoned timber frame construction with clapboard siding; its use of local construction materials; its five-bay façade with evenly spaced double-hung multi-pane windows; its pedimented and protruding single entryway; its surviving original interior layout, materials and finishes, including original furnishings.