Quilchena Elementary, A Brief History
1. Planning The New School
Strathcona Heights, 1911
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Strathcona School, 1920
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Quilchena School, 1927
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On July 10th 1926 the Secretary of the Point Grey Board of School Trustees wrote the following letter to the Dominion Construction Company regarding "a new school building at 37th and Maple Street":
Dear Sirs - This is to advise you that your tender for the general contract on the above named school in the amount of $44,561.00 was accepted by the Board at their meeting last night. Kindly get in touch with Messrs. Townley and Matheson [architects] in order that arrangements may be made to have the contract signed on Monday morning, July 12th. I am to thank you for your care and work in submitting this tender. Yours faithfully, SECRETARY.
Up until then, in all correspondence the project was referred to as "Strathcona School". It wasn't until construction was nearing completion that we first see evidence of the name "Quilchena".

"Strathcona" would have been a perfect name for the new school. The hillside on which the school now stands was known at the time as "Strathcona Heights" ... and that was also the name of the original two-room schoolhouse built at the same location around 1920 (click on the photographs for further information). In addition, the Vancouver Inter-urban tram station located at the foot of the hill near 37th and West Boulevard was called "Strathcona Station".

In the end, however, it was determined that the name "Strathcona", after Lord Strathcona of the Canadian Pacific Railway, had already been put to ample use elsewhere in the city (among other things a "Lord Strathcona School" had been established in east Vancouver in 1897).

A new and unique name would have to be found.

Former students of the old two-room "Strathcona" school were canvassed, and a public contest was also held in an attempt to find an appropriate and permanent name. Despite hundreds of suggestions however, the Trustees did not feel anything suitable was presented.

One proposal suggested that the school be named for the aboriginal poet Pauline Johnson, as the area had once been covered by the dense forest and running streams often referred to in her poetry.

Perhaps it was the idea of the streams, linked with the desire to establish an Indian name, which eventually led to the choice of "Quilchena", which means "meeting of the waters".

Although no such "meeting of the waters" ever occurred on the school site itself, many years ago two streams did converge in the low-lying area half-a-mile north-west of the school in present-day Prince of Wales Park.

In fact, prior to the arrival of European settlers, Vancouver had many streams leading from the higher elevations, emptying into English Bay to the north and the Fraser River to the south. Many of these streams still exist today, running in subterranean culverts beneath city streets and properties.  Many other streams have simply disappeared as the city expanded.
  . . .  to be continued