During the early redevelopment and restoration of St. Ann’s Academy led by the British Columbia Buildings Corporation in 1996, a small group of St. Ann’s Academy Alumnae, Sisters and archivists met together for presentations and informative talks regarding the proposed Interpretive Centre, and the site itself. It was a very exciting time!
The Sisters of St. Ann Archivist and her assistant along with several alumnae also served on the St. Ann’s Advisory Committee chaired by the Provincial Capital Commission. As the name implies, the committee advised of historical accuracies, traditions, and general information not readily known by the public at large.
Also during this time, a series of gatherings continued to occur in the homes of keen individuals who were to form the nucleus of the Society of Friends of St. Ann’s Academy - Victoria, BC. A Mission Statement and Constitutions were written and in February 1997, it was decided that membership in the society would be initiated. This small group grew into a society of 300 members.
In May 1997, office space including a computer and telephone were provided in the Provincial Capital Commission building on Pandora Avenue. Shortly thereafter office space was provided in the academy itself. An effective working relationship developed with the Provincial Capital Commission, stewards of the site. On July 12, 1997, the Friends provided their assistance at the official re-opening ceremonies on the grounds of St. Ann’s Academy.
At the first Annual General Meeting held on September 20, 1998, an executive was elected for the Society of Friends. Registered Charitable Status was received on October 1, 1998.
Three strategic directions evolved under the leadership of Michele McBride, a former President of the Board. Grounds and Gardens; Heritage Education; and Women and Leadership, continue to be the focal points of our work.