Industrial Girls School


868 Cassiar Street in 2022. Credit: Martin Knowles Photo/Media
Photo Credit: Martin Knowles Photo/Media


868 Cassiar St, Vancouver BC






VHF True Colours 2009, VHF Restore It 2011, 2012, 2016, 2017

Protection & Recognition

  • M: Municipal Protection


A: Primary Significance


Built between 1912-1914 by Campbell and Wilkie, this building was designed by Alfred Arthur Cox in the Mission Revival style to serve as a home for troubled girls. Trained in England, Cox had a successful and prolific practice for sixteen years in Montréal before moving his practice to Vancouver in 1908. Cox also designed the Edgett Building at 440 Cambie Street, and the Carter-Cotton (aka the Daily Province) Building at 198 W Hastings Street.

The Mission Revival style originated in California in the 1890s and spread east in the early 20th century. Evolving from the reinterpretation of early Catholic Missions in the region, the style was typically defined by curved roof edges, flat stucco surfaces, roof tiles, arched window openings, colonnaded entrances and other references to Spanish forms. This building features symmetrical facades with decorated Mission-shaped roof parapets with quatrefoil details, as well as an efficient, symmetrical and rational floor plan, which is a direct reflection of the institutional nature of this building.

Known as the Terra Vita residential complex today, the semi-rural estate was originally the Girls Industrial School. Associated with the 1908 federal Juvenile Delinquency Act, the detention home has a history of social trauma. Opened in 1914 under the superintendency of Thomas Collier of the Salvation Army, the school taught girls homemaker skills like cooking, cleaning, and sewing. The building served in its original capacity until 1959, when the school was transferred to a new site in Burnaby. The building was then converted to office space for provincial departments. The estate was converted into 88 townhomes in 1995 by Unified Properties. Several of the townhomes were featured in the 2022 Heritage House Tour Online.


Vancouver Heritage Inventory Summary Report Phase II 1986, VHF Files,


Industrial Girls School


Directions in Google Maps


Please Share Your Stories!

Send us your stories, comments or corrections about this site.

If you have any images of this site, please share it with us!

Once you hit submit, an email will be sent to you to confirm that we have received your story submission. Please reply to the confirmation email with a few photos of this site!