Building on our past

St. George's School was founded in 1930, and has, as such, accumulated a wealth of history. Many students, teachers, and headmasters have passed through the School's classrooms and halls, each with their own stories to tell.

Douglas E. Harker, one of St. George's past headmasters, committed his own story regarding the School to the pages of a book, The Story of St. George's School for Boys. The following is an excerpt from the book's first chapter, of which the full text has been made available for download.
This is the story of a School, of the ventures and traditions, the laughs and heartbreaks that went into the building of it, the men and women who gave their time and talents to its development.

Today St. George's School, Vancouver, is probably the largest or second largest independent school in Canada. At first, and for a number of years, it was no more than a collection of boys housed in or coming daily to a private residence on the outskirts of the city. Erstwhile sitting-rooms and bedrooms were made to do duty as classrooms and games rooms.

The School survived and flourished because over the years a number of men and women gave it devoted service. Some were business and professional men who found themselves fascinated by the many sides of life in a school and worked for it as governors or directors, fund-raisers, lawyers or accountants. Some were parents of boys, or boys, who allowed the School to become a major part of their lives, both during and after their time at it.
John G. Lawrence also gives an account of the School's story spanning from 1930-2005 in the book, Without Fear Or Favour. Having been invited to write a history of St. George's School for its 75th anniversary, Mr. Lawrence, in his own words...
"...went digging through the many old Georgians and the mass of papers that constitutes the St. George's archive that [he] became excited about telling the school's rags-to-riches story through some of the yearbook's eloquent voices and the archive's wonderful photographs. After much thought [he] decided to tell the story chronologically, decade by decade, using a timeline to place the activities of the school community in a wider context. This approach allowed [him] to concentrate on the significant events and the procession of visionary, energetic, and colourful characters who took the school forward and whose influence lingers on in the memories of the boys and their families."
The Junior School campus is also rich in history. The spectacular and historic building was constructed in 1912 in a Gothic revival style for the Convent of the Sacred Heart, who ran a girls’ boarding school there until 1979 when St. George's acquired the building. Interestingly, there used to be an outside walkway on the third floor, which became known as the "Nun's Gallery." Unfortunately, after 100 years, the metal on the gallery became too rusted and had to be removed.

In 2015, the School received a Heritage Award from the City of Vancouver to acknowledge the extraordinary effort and resources that it has put into the Junior School main building and the associated Boiler House.

Builder of the Convent of the Sacred Heart

Sefanius Johnson Lund (S.J. or Sam Lund), born in Norway in 1879, died in San Bernardino, California in 1956. Known for the quality of his work, he constructed some buildings in Seattle and must have made contact with Charles Badgley at that time.  While in Vancouver, Lund was also the contractor for the Rice Block on 404 Hawks Avenue. The architect for this building was Otto Moberg, a Swede from Seattle. This building still exists. He also built a five-story apartment block on 658-662 East Hastings. At Hastings Park, he constructed the Transportation Exhibition Building and the poultry building. Lund also had a couple of small building contracts for minor renovations to buildings.

There was a recession in BC beginning in 1913, so Lund returned to the US after completing these buildings.  In the 1920s, he moved to San Bernardino, California where he constructed high-quality homes. There are several newspaper articles about Lund’s work in the San Bernardino area in the 1920s and 1930s.

An interesting note – after the main construction at Sacred Heart Convent was completed, there was a notice in the Vancouver Daily World on March 8, 1913, in which Lund had for sale camp equipment for 60 men, all in working order, at 29th and Dunbar. This included tents, cook and bunkhouses and cooking equipment.
St. George’s School acknowledges that we are situated on the unceded traditional territory of the Musqueam First Nation.
Contributions to St. George's School are tax creditable as prescribed by Canadian law. St. George's School's Charitable Registration Number is: 11917-5511 RR0001.
St. George’s School
Junior Campus: 3851 West 29th Avenue, Vancouver, BC Canada V6S 1T6
Senior Campus: 4175 West 29th Avenue, Vancouver, BC Canada V6S 1V1
604-224-1304  ● info@stgeorges.bc.ca