Chinese Public School - 1909
636 Fisgard Street, Victoria, BC.
Description of Historic Place:
The Chinese Consolidated Benevolent Association and Chinese Public School is a unique freestanding two and one-half storey building located on one and one-half commercial city lots in Victoria's Chinatown District. It is distinguishable by its spacious set-back situation within the streetscape, a unique pagoda-style roofline and tower, and an eclectic blend of architectural detailing.
The Chinese Consolidated Benevolent Association and Chinese Public School is an important symbol of perseverance in the face of Western Society's discrimination against the Chinese community in the early twentieth century. The school was constructed in 1909 by the Chinese Consolidated Benevolent Association (CCBA) in response to racial and cultural segregation imposed by the school board and government, which banned Chinese-born students from City schools until they spoke English. Although no longer the sole source of education for Chinese children in Victoria, as it was originally, the school continues to provide education to members of the community in a supplemental nature. It is significant that the Chinese Public School has continued to perpetuate the knowledge and appreciation of Chinese language and traditional cultural values to generations of the local Chinese-Canadian community for almost one hundred years.
This historic place is also valued as a monument to the strength and philanthropy of the CCBA, which was once the most powerful Chinese organization in Canada. This building, which continues to maintain an Association office, is a testament to that organization's long-standing commitment to provide social and cultural leadership for its community. It is important to Victoria's heritage because it is an embodiment of the Association's original functions, established in 1884: to lobby against discriminatory laws and taxes, to arbitrate and maintain peace and order in Chinatown, to provide fundraising and relief, and to administer a hospital, cemetery, and school for the Victoria Chinese Community.
Architecturally, it is valued as one of Victoria's most important buildings. An impressive and unique character-setter within this neighbourhood, this is one of the most outstanding buildings within one of the oldest Chinatowns in North America. Its freestanding and spacious setback within the streetscape, and its eclectic architecture - designed by Scottish architect David C. Frame - make it a unique and valuable landmark in the City of Victoria.
Show IPAadjective 1.selecting or choosing from various sources.
2.made up of what is selected from different sources.
3.not following any one system, as of philosophy, medicine, etc., but selecting and using what are considered the best elements of all systems.
4.noting or pertaining to works of architecture, decoration, landscaping, etc., produced by a certain person or during a certain period, that derive from a wide range of historic styles, the style in each instance often being chosen for its fancied appropriateness to local tradition, local geography, the purpose to be served, or the cultural background of the client.