Photo Credit: Rob Atkins
4949 Heather St, Vancouver BC
Fairmont Training Academy is a two-and-a-half storey Tudor Revival institutional building designed by Vancouver architect Samuel Maclure in 1912. It was built in 1912 as Langara School, a private boarding school for boys, but after briefly becoming a military hospital in 1918, in 1920 was purchased by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police for their own use. Renamed Fairmont Barracks, the building served as the force’s provincial headquarters until 1950, then as the sub-divisional headquarters until the 1970s, and finally as the Fairmont Training Academy.
At different points, the RCMP at the barracks were deployed to enforce Federal Statutes. In 1933 they joined the Vancouver Police Department in response to unrest in downtown Vancouver, an event that took place against the backdrop of the Great Depression. Fairmont Training Academy was also host to official ceremonies including the adoption of the new Canadian flag in 1965. RCMP operations have since been moved to a facility in Surrey B.C. in 2012. While changes to the building’s interior have been substantial, its exterior form and prominent features have remained remarkably intact.
The Fairmont Academy Building is currently located on the Heather Lands, a 21-acre parcel on Heather Street between 33rd and 37th Avenues. In addition to the Fairmont Academy, the land parcel also includes 1950s-era office buildings initially constructed as the headquarters of the BC Workers Compensation Board, and the RCMP’s former 1974-built forensics laboratory.
Since the federal government transferred ownership in 2014, The Heather Lands are owned by the Canada Lands Corporation (CLC) and the Musqueam Indian Band, Squamish Nation and Tsleil-Waututh Nation (MST Nations) through the MST Development Corporation. The City of Vancouver has started a planning process with the CLC and MST Nations to re-imagine the future of the Heather Lands.
Site Information, Heather Street Lands https://heatherstreetlands.ca/site-information
Heather Street Lands Policy Statement, City of Vancouver https://vancouver.ca/files/cov/heather-lands-policy-statement.pdf
Moving historic Fairmont building recommended ‘as a measure of Reconciliation’, Vancouver Courier https://www.vancourier.com/real-estate/moving-historic-fairmont-building-recommended-as-a-measure-of-reconciliation-1.23206141
Vancouver’s Old RCMP Lands Should Remain Public Space, MP Says, The Tyee https://thetyee.ca/News/2014/09/05/RCMP-Lands-For-Sale/
Fairmont Barracks, RCMP Veteran’s Association Vancouver Division http://www.rcmpveteransvancouver.com/fairmont-barracks/
Fairmont Training Academy – Heritage Character Statement, Canada’s Historic Places, https://www.historicplaces.ca/media/14750/1988-168(e)fairmounttrainingacademy.pdf