Former St. Joseph's Hospital
St. Joseph's Hospital
St. Joseph's Apartments
Links and documents
Listed on the Canadian Register:
Statement of Significance
Description of Historic Place
St. Joseph's Hospital is a four-and-one-half storey plus basement stone Neoclassical Edwardian structure located across the street from St. Ann's Academy. The designation also includes interior features.
St. Joseph's Hospital, built in 1876 with additions in 1888, 1897, and 1908, is valued for its association with the Sisters of St. Ann, its connection with the health care of Victoria's citizens, its architecture and architect, and its grounds.
St. Joseph's Hospital has value for its association with one of British Columbia's major pioneering religious orders, and for its role in the provision of health care in the region. It is a prominent reminder of the importance of the Sisters of St. Ann to the physical well-being of Victoria's citizens.
Founded in Quebec in 1848, the Sisters of St. Ann represent the strong presence of French-Canadian missionaries in British Columbia's formative history. From the Pacific Northwest headquarters of the order at St. Ann's Academy, directly across Humboldt Street from this building, they gradually expanded their missionary work in Victoria to include a school, a convent, a novitiate program, and nursing services to better serve the educational, medical, and spiritual needs of the population for over a century.
Architecturally, the historic place was designed and built in stages, but it is the 1908 addition by Thomas Hooper and C. Elwood Watkins that is most prominent in today's configuration. The first phase of St. Joseph's Hospital was built on Collinson Street (now renamed Fairfield Road) in 1876 under the leadership of Sister Mary Providence and Dr. John Sebastian Helmcken. In 1888, an additional 48 beds were added, and in 1897, another 67, bringing the total to 150. The 1908 addition was designed to face Humboldt Street. With its Edwardian solidity and strong Neoclassical features, it serves as a foil to the Hooper wing at St. Ann's Academy and further reinforces the significance of the Order in Victoria's development. A historic chapel on the northeast of the structure has been preserved and provides a visual link to the religious past. Several interior features have been retained, further enhancing the historic importance of this building. It has been rehabilitated for use as seniors' housing with units for transient accommodation.
In addition, the grounds contribute to Victoria's natural environment. The building is surrounded by a manicured lawn with mature plantings that create a park-like setting. The presence of this greenspace so close to downtown Victoria, coupled with the St. Ann's Academy grounds and Beacon Hill Park just to the south, provides a counterpoint to the hard urban landscape of the city core.
Source: City of Victoria Planning Department
Key elements that define the heritage character of St. Joseph's Hospital include:
- its monumental scale
- characteristics of the Neoclassical Edwardian style, such as the front entrance porch with paired Ionic columns, balcony above with stone and cement balustrade, multi-hipped roof with gabled front extension, stone corbelling under eaves, circular light in gable peak, slender turret with Christian cross at peak, front extension over porch
- semi-recessed second storey bays arcaded by pilasters
- form and pattern of fenestration
- design and detailing of the 1908 addition, attributable to Thomas Hooper and C. Elwood Watkins
- spatial configuration, form and interior finishes of the chapel
- main entrance and foyer located on the south side of the main floor
- entrance with oak doors
- mosaic tile floors located on the east and west sides of the main floor
- wooden doors and sidelights located at the entrances to the porches on the south side of the third and fourth floors
- its proximity to St. Ann's Academy across Humboldt Street
- its proximity to Beacon Hill Park
- stone wall on Humboldt Street frontage
- well-established landscaping including lawns, mature trees and other plants
- evidence of historical religious uses of the building as seen in the chapel
Local Governments (BC)
Local Government Act, s.967
Theme - Category and Type
- Building Social and Community Life
- Religious Institutions
Function - Category and Type
- Multiple Dwelling
- Health and Research
- Hospital or Other Health Care Institution
Architect / Designer
Location of Supporting Documentation
City of Victoria Planning Department
Cross-Reference to Collection