One of the most positive aspects of an anniversary is that it provides an opportunity to remember and celebrate those on whose shoulders we stand. As we have seen in these varied and creative celebrations of the 150 years since Victoria was officially declared a city, Victoria has no shortage of significant and colourful characters in its past and of heritage buildings and sites that maintain today something of our history. For many of you here, perhaps it is the impressive and unique St. Ann’s Academy on Humboldt Street, standing tall among other historic buildings such as the Legislature and the Empress, that you identify with the Sisters of St. Ann. I am happy to have this opportunity to represent, not the building, but the many flesh and bone women who, as Sisters of St. Ann, have played an important role in the history of Victoria and of BC.
Today it is not unusual for young people to travel to far off countries, either on tour or to serve in some helping capacity for a certain period of time. But before the 20th century, the earth seemed immense and generally unknown. Travel was difficult and unsafe. With the exception of the brave and often desperate immigrants from abroad, people stayed close to where they were born.There were other exceptions.
Let me tell you a bit about the early sisters who came from Quebec to BC in the mid 19th century.