Links and documents
1911/01/01 to 1912/01/01
Listed on the Canadian Register:
Statement of Significance
Description of Historic Place
Ridgeway School is a two storey plus basement, elementary school building in the Edwardian Baroque style, with a prominent central hipped roof and belfry. Richly articulated surfaces and a high level of design sophistication distinguish this as the most handsome of North Vancouver's early schools. Located on a rise of land in a block square school yard, the school has a commanding view of the area and is a local landmark.
Ridgeway School is important as an indication of the social and economic conditions in North Vancouver at the time of its construction in 1911-12, and the resulting population growth. North Vancouver grew explosively from the turn of the twentieth century until the general financial depression in 1913 halted the ambitious construction of the previous years. Ridgeway School was built to alleviate pressure on other local schools, which could not cope with the rapidly expanding population. It was located strategically to serve not only the area west of Lonsdale, but also the burgeoning Grand Boulevard neighbourhood, and was the main elementary school north of Keith Road and east of Lonsdale Avenue.
The School is valued for its sophisticated architecture. As the nearby Grand Boulevard subdivision was being promoted as the finest on the North Shore of Burrard Inlet, no expense was spared in the design and construction of this school. Unlike earlier schools that were constructed of wood, Ridgeway School was built of fireproof masonry throughout, including a concrete structure, with pressed brick, stone and stucco claddings. The horizontal banding, richly modelled surfaces, and classical details such as the broken pediments above the entries, are all hallmarks of the Edwardian Baroque style, popular in England at the time; the architects had both worked in London before emigrating to Canada.
Ridgeway School is significant for its association with architects Jones and Gillam. Claude P. Jones (born 1879) and William Charles Frederick Gillam (1867-1962) had just formed a partnership when they won the commission for this school; Gillam was known as an expert in the field of school planning. The school was designed to be fully modern and mindful of current attitudes regarding the education of children; many large windows allowed for natural light and good airflow, producing an atmosphere conducive for learning. The additions of a wing on either side of the original building were designed in 1926 by the architectural firm of Benzie and Bow, in a style sympathetic to the original.
Many of the mature trees planted around the perimeter of the school were planted by students and teachers over the years starting in 1918, a tradition that continues today whenever a tree is removed.
Source: Heritage Planning Files, City of North Vancouver
Key elements that define the heritage character of Ridgeway School include its:
- horizontal proportions, linear form on rectangular plan, imposing scale and symmetrical massing
- linear north/south alignment to maximize light in the classrooms
- elements of the Edwardian Baroque style such as horizontal banding, highly articulated surfaces, classical revival detailing, broken pediments and a formal use of symmetry
- tall hipped roof over entrance, with landmark central bell tower
- continuous horizontal roofline, with alternating arched and triangular parapets
- masonry construction: random ashlar granite foundations with raised pointing; alternating bands of pressed red brick and sandstone; roughcast stucco panels; precast concrete trim on 1926 additions
- paired central entrances for boys and girls, with elaborate surrounds surmounted by curved broken pediments
- fenestration: combination of double-hung and casement wooden-sash, consistently multi-paned and in a variety of assemblies; circular windows over entries; arched windows in basement
- continuous sheet metal cornice with brackets
- intact interior floor plan and layout, with double-loaded central corridor
- numerous original interior features such as plaster walls, wooden trim and doors
- exterior setting and landscape, including large open block square schoolyard, with a rock retaining wall and many mature plantings such as Maples, Ash and Catalpas, and mixed street trees
Local Governments (BC)
Local Government Act, s.954
Community Heritage Register
Theme - Category and Type
- Building Social and Community Life
- Education and Social Well-Being
Function - Category and Type
- Primary or Secondary School
Architect / Designer
William Charles Frederick Gillam
Location of Supporting Documentation
Heritage Planning Files, City of North Vancouver
Cross-Reference to Collection