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Tillicum School

3155 Albina Street, Saanich, British Columbia, V9A, Canada

Formally Recognized: 1997/11/03

Exterior view of the Tillicum School.; Derek Trachsel, District of Saanich, 2004.
Oblique view.
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Links and documents

Construction Date(s)


Listed on the Canadian Register: 2004/11/01

Statement of Significance

Description of Historic Place

Tillicum School is a two-storey wood-frame Arts and Crafts-influenced institutional building in the Tillicum area of Saanich.

Heritage Value

Tillicum School is a valued monument to the importance of the educational system in Saanich in the early twentieth century. Designed by Saanich (and Victoria) School Board architect C. Elwood Watkins (1875-1942) and built by prominent local contractor Williams, Trerise and Williams in 1917, Tillicum School is an eclectic Arts and Crafts-influenced building. It was one of two schools constructed in Greater Victoria at the same time with virtually the same design considered to be Watkins' signature architectural style. The solid institutional form of this building reflects the gravity of the public works system, and the importance of the establishment of modern centres of education within the community.

Tillicum School is also valued as a symbol of the public spirit and optimism during the time of the worst devastation of the First World War. Additions and alterations were needed for the growing school population, undertaken in 1921 and 1929 to the designs of architect Hubert Savage (1884-1955), which speaks to the continuing expansion and development of Saanich throughout the 1920s. It is also of importance that this structure still functions as a school, almost ninety years after its construction.

Tillicum School is also valued as a tangible link to the growth and context of the Tillicum neighbourhood. Tillicum is bounded by the salt water of Portage Inlet and the Gorge Waterway to the west and south. It was an agricultural area during colonial times, but with its proximity to downtown Victoria, became one of the earliest residential areas in Saanich. The Gorge was a summertime recreational destination from the 1890s to the 1930s. A single-family housing boom prior to World War One was enabled by the extension of Victoria's water services to the area.

Source: Heritage Planning Files, District of Saanich

Character-Defining Elements

Key elements that define the heritage character of Tillicum School include its:
- form, scale and massing
- situation within a substantial schoolyard
- long-ridged hipped-roof form
- Arts and Crafts-influenced design elements, as exemplified by the prominent entry portico, front entry with side lights, registers of multi-paned double-hung wood-sash windows with transoms; the roof vent; and shingled cladding



British Columbia

Recognition Authority

Local Governments (BC)

Recognition Statute

Local Government Act, s.954

Recognition Type

Community Heritage Register

Recognition Date


Historical Information

Significant Date(s)


Theme - Category and Type

Building Social and Community Life
Education and Social Well-Being

Function - Category and Type


Primary or Secondary School


Architect / Designer

C. Elwood Watkins


Williams, Trerise and Williams

Additional Information

Location of Supporting Documentation

Heritage Planning Files, District of Saanich

Cross-Reference to Collection

Fed/Prov/Terr Identifier




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