Description of Historic Place
Located at 2000 Trimble Street, high above English Bay in the west-side neighbourhood of West Point Grey, Queen Mary Elementary School was built in several stages. The oldest extant structure is a two-storey red-brick-clad building with a tall central monitor and grand front entrance, opened in 1914. A large poured-in-place reinforced-concrete addition was built in 1926-30. The gymnasium/auditorium was designed by Alan W. Gray and built in 1954. A four-classroom addition was built in 1964. Also on the site and a part of the historic place is a one-storey structure designed with Craftsman features; its history is uncertain.
Queen Mary Elementary School has heritage value for its architecture and history. Its construction is associated with the tremendous expansion of Vancouver before World War I.
Queen Mary Elementary School is an outstanding example of school architecture. The first wing was built in 1914 in the Collegiate Gothic style. It was, and remains, attractive and substantial relative to the residential neighbourhood. Views of the school from nearby enhance its considerable iconic value. Queen Mary was built to standard plans for eight-room schools commissioned by the Point Grey School Board following a competitive process. The design by architects Twizell & Twizell, who produced many fine institutional and residential buildings, reflects a systematic building program, typical of the bureaucratic approach to school architecture. Value is also seen in the differences from the more restrained and less flamboyant schools built in Vancouver at the same time. This reflects the historical geography of Vancouver, as Point Grey remained a separate municipality until 1928.
Heritage value is also found in the evolution of the Queen Mary ‘campus’ and in the range of school architecture represented at the site. A second structure, built in 1926, accommodated the growing school-age population. Point Grey, like Vancouver, reduced its architectural ambitions with its straightened financial circumstances. Designed by architects Gardiner and Mercer, the relatively utilitarian design reflects a pattern evident throughout the province. The gymnasium (1954) and classroom annex (1964) are good examples, in form and timing, of later additions made to many Vancouver schools. The undated (1920s') small wood-frame building was likely built to accommodate manual training.
For most of its time Queen Mary has been an elementary school. During the 1930s, to relieve crowding at Kitsilano Junior High School, it also accommodated students in grades 7 and 8.
Queen Mary Elementary School has heritage value for the collective memory of its past and present staff and pupils. Its fine archival record includes Parent-Teacher Association minutes, scrapbooks, photographs, and school records. Early students likely remember sports days at Maple Grove Park, where Point Grey’s school children participated in track-and-field events, Maypole Dancing, and costume parade. Later students might recall the influx of children from the nearby Jericho Armed Forces Base during and after World War II.
Source: City of Vancouver Heritage Conservation Program
The character-defining elements of Queen Mary Elementary School include:
- tradition of use as a school
- the high, sloped site, with a panoramic view of English Bay, Stanley Park, downtown Vancouver, and the North Shore mountains
- views to the school from West 4th and 5th Avenues
- the campus-like ensemble of buildings on the site
Brick Building (1914)
- the Collegiate Gothic style, seen in features such as the notched and gabled parapet, the wall buttresses, the stone copings above the brick walls, the pointed arch over the entrance, the enclosed entrance porch with its buttresses and notched parapet, and the quoin-like brick patterning between the windows and their stone surrounds
- the symmetrical facade
- the tall central monitor/cupola
- the use of red brick, stone trim, and a concrete base
- the multi-paned wood-sash windows and the transom over the entrances
Concrete Building (1926)
- the symmetrical facade
- the exposed concrete walls
- the restrained ornament, including the rusticated ground floor, the tall pilasters on the second and third floors, the pointed projections on the parapet above the corner pilasters, and the entrance portico with its red-tiled canopy
- Interior features, including:
- intact spatial configuration of interior spaces, high ceilings, millwork and wide casements, clocks, public address speakers, high floor boards, multi-paned and multi-paneled doors with original hardware, repeating motif of interior segmental arches as transition areas in halls, exposed mechanical systems, fixtures and plumbing in bathrooms, boiler room with two original fireproof doors with hardware, art room
- classrooms: teachers’ storage cupboards, blackboards and wood surrounds, ‘ante-rooms’
- gymnasium/auditorium: clerestory windows, wall-mounted metal gym equipment, dressing rooms with built-ins and fixtures, stage with stair access on either side
- stairwells: full-height bank of multi-paned wooden windows in stairwell to maximize daylight, banister bumps for safety concerns, narrow staircases
Auxiliary one-storey, wood-frame structure
- Features include bellcast,front-gabled roof, Craftsman-style decorative knee braces, louvered ventilation, bargeboards, drop siding, porch, and double wooden entrance doors
- terraced site
- covered play area