Heritage Register

3130 Jutland Road (ex-Oliver Avenue)
Burnside Elementary School

Built 1912-13

For: Victoria School Board Trustees

Architect: Charles Elwood Watkins
Contractors: Luney Brothers

3130 Jutland


This symmetrical, two-storey, brick school has one-storey entry bays on each side; balconets separate tall round-arched windows from the entry bay below. There is a full-height extension on the right rear side. The school is flat roofed, with coping on the brick parapet, denticulated cornice, and cornices over the entrances, all of galvanized iron. The front façade has concrete pilasters, lintels and sills; the water table and foundation are also concrete. The recessed centre front has banks of three windows. All windows on the building are wooden multi-paned-over-one.

The population of Victoria almost doubled between 1891 and 1911, putting pressure on the city to provide schools. In 1913 the school-age population grew by 700. A trustees’ meeting in May was told that a tent, one of several, was to be erected at Kingston St School (James Bay) “to relieve Miss Lawson’s class, which now consists of no less than 66 pupils.” However, three new brick schools, Burnside, Oaklands (2827 Belmont Av, Oaklands) and Victoria High School (1260 Grant St, Fernwood), all designed by Victoria-born architect C. Elwood Watkins, were nearing completion.

Burnside School, which originally had 10 rooms, is today one of the few prominent heritage buildings in the area. Luney Brothers’ bid of $43,975 won the contract for the six-classroom school, while Parfitt Brothers won with a similar amount for the almost identical Oaklands School (2827 Belmont Av, Oaklands). The 15,465 sq ft building finally cost about $55,000. An auditorium was added in 1940, a two-storey addition in 1963.


This was the NW edge of the city in 1913, with just a few isolated houses in the area. The school sits at Jutland and Burnside Rds, the latter originally a farm road into the city from the old Burnside Farm. By 1912 Burnside Rd was paved and streetcar rails laid. In 1916 the NW sewer system was constructed under Burnside and along Ceceilia Creek and the school was by now the centre of a new community. Boardwalks linked to Gorge and Burnside Rds; most pupils came from the area around Centennial Methodist Church (612 David St, Burnside).

Classes began in August 1913, two days later than other Victoria schools as the desks arrived late. The first principal, Thomas Wm. Hall (1883-1961; 1248 Burnside Rd W, Saanich), was paid $140 a month. Five other teachers earned an average of $75 a month. Tom Hall left in 1915 to join the army for WWI; from 1929-43 he was a provincial Inspector of Schools and in 1946 he retired as Registrar for the Department of Education. Tom’s widow Maude was an honoured guest at Burnside School’s Golden Jubilee celebration in 1963.

Thomas H. Adams, an early janitor, was much loved by the pupils, especially when he let them into the furnace room to warm up on cold mornings. Former pupils remembered him handing out coins as prizes on sports days and his granddaughter remembered him lining up wet boots to dry beside the boilers while the children were in class. Blind retired soldier Capt Sinclair taught sign language and led the pupils in physical training. Always in full uniform, he taught in a military style.


In 1995 the school was renamed Burnside Community School, and it was added to the City of Victoria Heritage Registry in 2002. Due to declining enrolment the school board closed the school in 2006, after considerable resistance from the community. The Burnside Gorge Community Association plans to use the building as a multi-purpose community centre.


• Map of Victoria Heritage Register Properties

• Burnside History

• Burnside Heritage Register

• This Old House, Victoria's Heritage Neighbourhoods,
Volume Three: Rockland, Burnside, Harris Green,
Hillside-Quadra, North Park & Oaklands

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