Municipal Clerk James R. Carmichael on the steps of the first municipal hall

Celebrating Saanich’s 110th birthday through historical records

One hundred and ten years ago this month, the Corporation of the District of Saanich was formed.

One hundred and ten years ago this month, the Corporation of the District of Saanich was formed.

Saanich landowners, concerned that their rural interests were at risk from the growth and influence of Victoria, started a petition for local governance and by the end of 1905 had gathered the support of a majority of Saanich’s 845 eligible residents.

The petition was presented to the Lieutenant Governor in January 1906 and, under the provisions of section 3A of the Municipalities Incorporation Act, Saanich was officially established as a District Municipality on March 1, 1906.

The boundaries of the new municipality stretched from the limits of the City of Victoria to the edge of North Saanich, including all of Central Saanich, which in turn formed its own municipality when it seceded from Saanich in 1950.

The official document of incorporation – the Letters Patent – defined the administrative structure of the new municipality. A council comprised of a reeve and five councillors was specified with the nomination to take place at the Royal Oak School House on the eighth day of March 1906 at noon and polling (if any) a week later under the direction of returning officer Frederick Turgoose. Polling, as it turned out, was not needed.  All six members of council won by acclamation and were sworn in the same day.

To qualify for the position of reeve in 1906, one had to be male, a British subject, and the registered owner of property in the municipality valued at $500 or more.  The qualifications for councillor were similar but with a lower minimum property value.

The first meeting of Saanich council was held on Saturday March 10, 1906.  Minutes of this inaugural meeting were recorded by hand into a red leather and cloth bound ledger that is now preserved at Saanich Archives. The most pressing business was the need to hire two staff members:  a combined clerk/treasurer/assessor as well as a combined police constable/sanitary officer.

According to official documents, Royal Oak School House was the intended location of this first meeting (the historic one-room school still stands on West Saanich Road).  From 1907 until a purpose built municipal hall was constructed in 1911, a small farm house on Glanford Avenue served as the municipal offices.  Although since demolished, a replica of this building was constructed in 1981 for Saanich’s 75th anniversary and can be seen today by the Saanich Fire Hall on Vernon Avenue.

A glance through the signatures on the historic petition shows the widespread support for incorporation from across Saanich.  Well-known Saanich family names include Todd, McRae, Tanner, Merriman, Jeune, Hobbs, and Vantreight, as well as Saanich’s first reeve, Thomas Brydon.

The early corporate records of Saanich – including minutes, correspondence and financial statements – are preserved at Saanich Archives and can be viewed Monday to Friday 10 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.

Saanich Archives is located inside the Saanich Centennial Library, next to Pearkes Recreation Centre. Since 2007, more than six thousand historical photographs have been digitized by Saanich Archives staff and are available to search online at

Caroline Duncan is the archivist at Saanich Archives.



Just Posted

Victoria feels the pinch at the pump as gas prices jump 18 cents

Gas up to 157.9 cents per litre at some stations

‘Panda’ Goodlife runner searches for his head

Facebook post for help leads to ‘unconfirmed panda head sightings’

Former child care worker charged with Saanich sexual assault pleads guilty

Jesse Doig arrested in May, remaining in custody since

Victoria’s 2020 Capital City Comic Con to feature a special Star Trek guest

Cherry Bomb Toys announced tickets for the event will go on sale on Friday

Man swinging election sign threatens to kill woman in Oak Bay

Police detain aggravated man without use of taser

VIDEO: #MeToo leader launches new hashtag to mobilize U.S. voters

Tarana Burke hopes to prompt moderators to ask about sexual violence at next debate

B.C. massage therapist reprimanded, fined for exposing patients’ breasts

Registered massage therapist admits professional misconduct

B.C. boosts legal aid funding in new payment contract

‘Duty counsel’ service restored in some communities, David Eby says

VIDEO: Bear spies on cyclists riding by on Campbell River street

Riders seem unaware the bruin is mere feet away on the side of the road

Two Cowichan Tribes families devastated by duplex fire

Carla Sylvester sat in her vehicle, on Tuesday morning, with tears in… Continue reading

Cheating husband sues mistress for gifted ring after wife learns about affair

The husband gave his mistress $1,000 to buy herself a ring in December 2017

British couple vacationing in Vancouver detained in US after ‘accidentally’ crossing border

Parents travelling with three-month-old reportedly being held in Pennsylvania

After losing two baby boys, B.C. parents hope to cut through the taboo of infant death

Oct. 15 is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Day in B.C.

Alberta to join B.C.’s class-action lawsuit against opioid manufacturers, distributors

B.C. government claims opioids were falsely marketed as less addictive than other pain meds

Most Read