Begbie Hall National Historic Site of Canada
Links and documents
Listed on the Canadian Register:
Statement of Significance
Description of Historic Place
Begbie Hall National Historic Site of Canada is located in the Royal Jubilee Hospital complex in Victoria, British Columbia. It is a large, three-storey brick building with a flat roof that was purpose-built as a nurse’s residence. The site is now part of a large institutional setting. Official recognition refers to the building on its footprint.
Begbie Hall was designated a national historic site of Canada in 1997. It is recognized because:
- it commemorates the contribution of nurses and nursing to scientific medicine and to women’s agency as health care professionals;
- it commemorates the residence, which was central to the nursing culture, and speaks to the training and professionalism of nurses, to their social life, to the development of their unique culture and to the emergence of leaders in the field of nursing.
Built in 1926, Begbie Hall represents the recognition and development of nursing as a profession. This former women’s residence was purpose-built to house students of the Royal Jubilee Hospital School of Nursing, who cared for patients as part of their training. The hospital was founded in 1890, and the school of nursing in 1891. Its modern lecture rooms, laboratories and reference library supported the scientific education that was critical to their work. Here, as elsewhere in Canada, a place of their own helped nurses shape a professional role indispensable to health care within the hospital and in the community. Their success inspired women to assume new roles in society. This former women’s residence now houses the Corporate Head Offices of the Capital Health Region.
Source: Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada, Minutes, June 1987.
The key elements that contribute to the heritage character of this site include:
- the location in an institutional setting as a component of the Royal Jubilee Hospital in Victoria;
- the purpose-built residential architecture including:
- the three-storey massing set under a flat roof, red brick construction;
- the regular placement of doors and windows, including the porticoed entrance;
- the exterior detailing including the banding under the parapet;
- the interior’s functional design that reflects its function as a residence, a site of learning and of leisure activity that includes the reception room and recreation hall called the Pink Room, the reference library, the octagon-shaped historic operating room, the Woodward Room, the classrooms in the basement, the nursing lab, instructors’ offices and some bedrooms that remain in their original state;
- the interior detailing including the surviving original fittings and finishes of the learning, recreational and accommodation areas.
Government of Canada
Historic Sites and Monuments Act
National Historic Site of Canada
Theme - Category and Type
- Expressing Intellectual and Cultural Life
- Building Social and Community Life
- Education and Social Well-Being
Function - Category and Type
- Health and Research
- Hospital or Other Health Care Institution
Architect / Designer
Location of Supporting Documentation
Indigenous Affairs and Cultural Heritage Directorate Documentation Centre 3rd Floor, room 366 30 Victoria Street Gatineau, Québec J8X 0B3
Cross-Reference to Collection