Langara School for Boys

CVA M-11-62 - A West End home [probably on the 1100 block of Georgia Street] 191- Richard Broadbridge photo

CVA M-11-62 – A West End home [probably on the 1100 block of Georgia Street] 191- Richard Broadbridge photo. This was the temporary quarters of Langara School for Boys (1913).

The Langara School for Boys was one of two private schools (the second was a school for girls known as Braemar) that were under the authority of Western Residential Schools. Principal McKay (of Westminster Hall) was president of Western Residential Schools and Rev. E. D. McLaren was the superintendent.

The photo above shows the temporary quarters of Langara. The school was at this downtown location on the corner of Bute and Georgia streets, apparently, for the best part of 1913. The principal of the School for Boys at this time was A. R. Tait.

vdw 7 Aug 1915

Vancouver Daily World. Ad. 7 August 1915.

Sometime in 1914, the school moved into its permanent quarters which had been under construction during 1913. This new location was located on 15 acres of land “adjoining the Shaughnessy Golf Course between Bodwell [33rd Ave.] and Whitehead [37 Ave.]”. The main building was situated at the corner of what is today 33rd and Heather.

vpl 20311 Langara School for Boys 1917. Dominion photo

VPL 20311. Langara School for Boys 1917. Dominion photo. This is the ‘permanent location’ of the school at 33rd and Heather.

The ‘permanent’ site of the school proved to be less than stable. By 1917, Langara was asked to shift out of its building so that a military hospital could be established there. Langara would move to Kitsilano to one of the corners at Larch and 2nd Ave. Residency was to be located in a separate building across from the school. I couldn’t find a photograph of the school at its Kitsilano location.

CVA 99-5096 - Patients and Staff - Langara Military Hospital June 1917 Stuart Thomson photo

CVA 99-5096 – Patients and Staff – Langara Military Hospital (aka Fairmont Hospital). (Formerly Langara School for Boys). June 1917 Stuart Thomson photo.

By 1920, Western Residential Schools was in the hands of the liquidators and negotiations were underway with the federal government to buy the Fairmont Hospital (formerly Langara school). It isn’t clear to me exactly why Western Residential Schools faced liquidation less than 8 years after establishing the schools. But I would speculate that being moved from their custom-built quarters near the end of the Great War probably didn’t help.

The federal government converted the former Langara property into a Vancouver barracks for the RCMP. The former Braemar would have a wing added to the Shaghnessy Hospital as a training site for Great War veterans (to be known by the awkward bureaucratic title: “Soldiers’ Civil Re-Establishment”.

CVA 780-288 - [Canadian Government RCMP Fairmont Barracks at] 4949 Heather [Street]. 1976.

CVA 780-288 – [Canadian Government RCMP Fairmont Barracks at] 4949 Heather [Street]. 1976.

The RCMP barracks have now moved off the former Langara School site to a location in Surrey. In October 2014, the Heather Lands were acquired by the Musqueam, Squamish, and Tsleil-Waututh Nations and Canada Lands Company “in an historic joint venture. The agreement will see the joint venture partners working side-by-side with local communities and municipalities to establish new visions for this site.” The former Braemar school for girls site is today Braemar Park at corner of Willow and 27th Avenue.

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2 Responses to Langara School for Boys

  1. Thanks for posting this entry. The first photo of the West End home, was Dr. Alexander Monro’s, built starting in 1907, for $12,000 at 1185 West Georgia Street, at Bute Street (NE corner). Apparently around 1913, the Langara School was using the building, as you mentioned – it’s also listed as Langara in the city directories at this time.

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