Heritage Vancouver - Bulletin

Heritage Update: Carleton Hall Schoolhouse (1896)

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Carleton Hall Schoolhouse (1896)

Carleton Hall (1896), Vancouver’s oldest remaining school building and one of five buildings at Sir Guy Carleton School in the Collingwood neighbourhood is on Heritage Vancouver's Top Ten Endangered list this year. When the Vancouver School Board announced they were going to demolish the building, the Green Thumb Theatre Company came forward and offered to restore the old kindergarten building to use it for administrative and creative space and to build an active arts engagement with both the local and wider community.

Green Thumb Theatre has asked for our assistance

The Green Thumb Theatre has entered in a competition for a major donation to help them save the original Carleton schoolhouse. They need people to vote on-line for them. Please act quickly as the first phase of the project ends October 15th.

Aviva Community Fund
Voters must register and then can vote – the Green Thumb Schoolhouse Project is idea #5418. Each voter can vote for once per day up to ten times:

Green Thumb Schoolhouse Project

Our 2010 Top 10 Endangered Sites page for Carleton Hall:


The request from Green Thumb Theatre, and background:

Green Thumb Theatre is currently pursuing on-going discussions with the Vancouver School Board (VSB) to assume control of and undertake responsibility for the restoration of Vancouver’s oldest school building.  

The 1896 school building was damaged by fire in 2008 and has stood vacant since. The VSB determined that it would not proceed with restoration as it would be surplus space to their needs and sought to demolish the building in order to maintain a safe environment and remove the expense of maintaining the damaged structure. However as the building is Vancouver’s oldest schoolhouse, of historical and heritage (significance to the City and to the local Collingwood community it has continued value in the community. We (Green Thumb) started discussions in the spring of 2009 with the VSB and received positive responses from staff and board of trustee members as well as the neighbourhood, the local heritage society and of course the school. The activity of the local community and our early discussions helped lead us to the school board’s delaying any possible demolition until further review and discussions. 

We are currently continuing to meet with staff about Carleton and have outlined what a deal would look like for us (GT) to undertake the restoration. Those discussions naturally slowed over the summer months as the Trustees and Committees of the board do not traditionally meet over those months. We have a further update with the staff mid October intend on then making further presentation to Committee II (planning and facilities) later this fall and we hope that this will move the actual negotiations toward our assuming  control of this (and one other outbuilding). Without waiting for completion of these discussions we have met with a project management firm to get an outline of scope of project, and have started discussions with fundraising consultants and specialists to review and then lead the capital campaign required. We are also undertaking several funding and PR campaigns to get us started. We believe that it will be critical to have a start on our funding initiatives so we can actively engage in restoration planning, architectural and land use resolutions and contracts as soon as possible. Our concern remands that as long as discussions carry on without concluding a deal on the building, the more water and other damage will have to be remedied before complete restoration can begin. The goal is to restore the building and convert it and the adjacent out building into administrative and creative space for the company and to build an active arts engagement with both the local and wider community.

Thank you for your support!

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Heritage Vancouver Society
PO Box 3336, Main Post Office, Vancouver, B.C. V6B 3Y3
604 254-9411 info@heritagevancouver.org

Creating a Future for Heritage – Heritage Vancouver encourages the community to preserve, restore, and appreciate Vancouver’s heritage structures.