The Sisters of St. Ann are a congregation of religious women founded in Vaudreuil, Quebec in 1850 by Marie Esther Blondin, now the Blessed Marie Anne Blondin. On June 5, 1858, four Sisters and a laywoman arrived in Victoria to begin educating the children of the colony. Their arrival coincided with the Fraser Canyon Gold Rush, necessitating a response to changing needs. They lived in a log cabin which became their first school, one open not only to aboriginal children but to the children of the colonists as well. The school flourished, necessitating various additions and relocations. In 1871 they built the first wing of what has become St. Ann’s Academy, now a National Historic Site. Throughout the years, the education and health care provided by the Sisters of St. Ann in Victoria established them as a vital and important part of the civic community. Subsequent to their arrival in Victoria, the Sisters founded schools, hospitals and a broad spectrum of programs in communities throughout BC, Yukon, Alaska and Washington State (St. Joseph’s Province).