Saturday, July 9, 2011

Everything starts with a beginning . . .

Tolmie School
556 Boleskine Road,
Saanich (Victoria), British Columbia

I chose this building as my first entry because it was my first school. I attended grade one here in the 1960's.  

Located in the Victoria, BC suburb of Saanich, Tolmie School was designed by noted Victoria architect Harold Joseph Rous CULLIN (1875-1935). 

Built in 1912 by the prominent local contracting firm of Luney Brothers, Tolmie School is valued as an example of Edwardian era Classical Revival architecture, highly favoured for its civic symbolism during the early years of the twentieth century. The building was designed to convey a sense of dignity and academic achievement through the use of solid and symmetrical imposing architecture. The building was most recently renovated in 1982 to accommodate the offices of School District No 61 (Greater Victoria).
The school was named after Dr William Fraser TOLMIE, an early pioneer of the Victoria area. Trained as a Surgeon in his native Scotland, he abandoned his vocation upon immigrating to North America, preferring instead to be the manager of the Hudson's Bay Company's farming subsidiary, the Puget Sound Agricultural Company. He arrived in Fort Victoria in 1859.

Dr TOLMIE was elected to the House of Assembly of Vancouver Island as member for Victoria in January 1860. He was re-elected in 1863, and remained a member until Vancouver Island was annexed by the mainland colony of British Columbia in 1866. On 15 May 1865, the Vancouver Island Assembly passed the Common Schools Act, legislation that provided for free, non-sectarian public schools. Under the terms of the act, colonial schools were administered by a General Board of Education. Dr. TOLMIE served as chairman of the board from 1865 to 1867.

In 1859, TOLMIE and his family moved to Cloverdale Farm in Saanich. Their home was the first stone house ever built on Vancouver Island. His son, Dr Simon Fraser TOLMIE was a veterinarian and served as federal Minister of Agriculture (1919-1921, 1926) and Premier of British Columbia (1928-1933) Dr. William Fraser TOLMIE died at Cloverdale Farm on 8 December 1886.

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