The First Building Project 1883

by Monica Hammond

In 1881, the orphanage building needed repairs. Its roof was re-shingled and other repairs were done, at a cost of $50. This was a lot of money in those days. For example, it cost $50 to care for one orphan for six months in 1881. The building was wearing out, and could no longer fit the number of children who needed a home. A new building was needed.

On July 28, 1883, 40 members of the Masonic Fraternity of Victoria paraded through the streets of downtown Victoria to lay the Home’s new cornerstone.

The new Home was officially opened on November 29, 1883, on the site of the original building at the corner of Rae and Blanshard Streets.

Photo: Orphans and matron outside the BC POH’s Rae Street building, c1880 (BC Archives B-01570)


This piece is based on the work of Vernon Storey, Terry Worobetz and Henry Kennedy in their book The Home: Orphans’ Home to Family Centre: 1873 to 1998. Copies of the book are available for purchase at The Cridge Centre for the Family.