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Royal Oak Schoolhouse

4525 West Saanich Road, Saanich, British Columbia, V8Z, Canada

Formally Recognized: 1982/04/20

Exterior view of the Royal Oak Schoolhouse; District of Saanich, 2004
Front elevation
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Other Name(s)

Royal Oak Schoolhouse
Royal Oak Elementary School

Links and documents

Construction Date(s)


Listed on the Canadian Register: 2004/10/25

Statement of Significance

Description of Historic Place

The Royal Oak Schoolhouse is a front-gabled wood-frame rural school designed in a vernacular style, located at the northeast corner of the intersection of West Saanich Road and Elk Lake Drive, in the Royal Oak area of Saanich.

Heritage Value

The Royal Oak Schoolhouse is valued as an illustration of the pioneer values of selfless commitment to the community and children's education. This rural schoolhouse served the needs of the early South Saanich residents' children from 1885 to 1950. It reflects the early beginnings of this community and the families that built Royal Oak, including the district's first pioneer family, the Cheesemans, and other pioneers families. Jane and James Bailey donated the land to build a school in the Lake District, and additional property adjacent to the Baileys' was purchased. Built with private funds, the first school opened in 1865, but was destroyed by fire in 1883.

Opened in 1885, the second, extant schoolhouse was nine metres long by six metres wide with no cloakroom, blackboards, books, slates, cupboards, stove, running water or chair for the teacher. It was built through the efforts of the entire community of Royal Oak. The little schoolhouse was used until completion of the first of the buildings in the present middle school complex in the early 1950s. The building continues to be used as a public multi-purpose meeting place.

The Royal Oak Schoolhouse is also significant for its associations with the growth and development of its neighbourhood context. Royal Oak is located in the Colquitz River watershed, almost in the centre of Saanich. Royal Oak citizens led the move to incorporation of the District of Saanich in 1906 and it was the seat of municipal government until 1965. Royal Oak was farmed from the 1860s, and major suburban subdivisions, including Broadmead, did not occur until later in the twentieth century.

Source: Heritage Planning Files, District of Saanich

Character-Defining Elements

Key elements that define the heritage character of the Royal Oak Schoolhouse include its:
- form, scale and massing
- entrance porch with a hipped roof
- front gable roof
- wood-frame construction
- drop-siding cladding with corner boards and watertable boards
- round, louvred vent above the front entrance
- three windows with double-hung sashes on each side, set high up on the wall



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)

1951/01/01 to 1951/01/01

Theme - Category and Type

Peopling the Land
Building Social and Community Life
Education and Social Well-Being

Function - Category and Type


Social, Benevolent or Fraternal Club


Primary or Secondary School

Architect / Designer



Edward Rainaldi

Additional Information

Location of Supporting Documentation

Heritage Planning Files, District of Saanich

Cross-Reference to Collection

Fed/Prov/Terr Identifier




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