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Wilkinson Road Jail

4216 Wilkinson Road, Saanich, British Columbia, V8Z, Canada

Formally Recognized: 1981/08/24

Exterior view of the Wilkinson Road Jail, 2004; District of Saanich, 2004
Front elevation
Exterior view of the Wilkinson Road Jail, 1914; District of Saanich
Front elevation
No Image

Other Name(s)

Wilkinson Road Jail
Colquitz Centre for the Criminally Insane (1916-1954)
Saanich Prison Farm (1913-16)
Colquitz Gaol
Oakalla Prison Farm, Vancouver Island Unit (1964-1966)
Colquitz Provincial Mental Home (1919-1964)
Vancouver Island Regional Correctional Centre (1966-present)
Provincial Government Pheasant Farm (1918-1919)

Links and documents

Construction Date(s)

1912/01/01 to 1914/01/01

Listed on the Canadian Register: 2004/10/26

Statement of Significance

Description of Historic Place

The Wilkinson Road Jail is an Edwardian era brick-clad reinforced concrete building situated on a manicured, 10 hectare property surrounded by a low stone wall, located in a suburban area along Wilkinson Road, in the Carey area of Saanich. At the front of the building is a circular fountain.

Heritage Value

The heritage value of Wilkinson Road Jail is associated with growth and development within its neighbourhood context. Carey lies in the southwest portion of Saanich, and was first settled in the early 1850s by Hudson's Bay Company officials and farm settlers from Britain. The coming of the British Columbia Electric Interurban Railway through the area in 1912 spawned wild land speculation and the development of the Marigold subdivision. Other subdivisions of farmland occurred as early as the 1890s, in the boom years of the late 1940s and the 1950s, and have continued up to the present day. Carey is now predominantly suburban, although parts of the Wilkinson Valley remain rural.

The heritage value of the Wilkinson Road Jail also lies in its architecture. This landmark structure illustrates the development of Saanich from one of the oldest agricultural settlements in B.C. to one of a strong pattern of settlement and incorporation, reflecting the efforts of the pioneer era to administer the growing community. Colonel William Ridgway-Wilson's design has elements of medieval castles - a reinforced concrete structure symbolic of fortification, strength and permanence. Crenellated parapets and towers give a romantic Gothic interpretation to this building. Ridgway-Wilson (1862-1957) was also the prolific and versatile architect of the Bay Street Armoury, St. John's Church, and South Park School in Victoria. The interior of this building was reconstructed in the mid 1980s, at which time the facade was braced and rehabilitated. The stone barn on the property, and the long stonewall along Wilkinson Road are also landmarks.

The heritage value of the Wilkinson Road Jail lies in its history as a corrections facility and psychiatric hospital. During the First World War, the jail housed prisoners of war and offenders against the Naval Discipline Act. The facility has now been returned to its original use as a corrections centre.

Source: Heritage Planning Files, District of Saanich

Character-Defining Elements

Key elements of the heritage character of the Wilkinson Road Jail include its:
- location on an expanse of manicured lawn
- complex articulated form and massing, and prominent scale
- symmetrical plan/ layout
- configuration of the stone barn, feature fountain in front drive and stone boundary wall in relation to the original building
- central classical revival entrance
- projecting entry bay, featuring twin battlemented and machicolated bartizans
- flanking octagonal towers
- three storey central portion
- belt courses and quoins that divide the wall masses into panels
- sandstone and granite foundations and front pillars
- sandstone keystone with date "1913" at the principle entrance
- Tudor arched windows located in the bays created by the repeated pilasters
- battlemented roof line to match the administration block
- mature landscape features, including scarlet oak trees (Quercus coccinea)



British Columbia

Recognition Authority

Local Governments (BC)

Recognition Statute

Local Government Act, s.967

Recognition Type

Heritage Designation

Recognition Date


Historical Information

Significant Date(s)


Theme - Category and Type

Governing Canada
Government and Institutions

Function - Category and Type



Correctional Facility

Architect / Designer

William Ridgway-Wilson



Additional Information

Location of Supporting Documentation

Heritage Planning Files, District of Saanich

Cross-Reference to Collection

Fed/Prov/Terr Identifier




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