The first Jews arrive in Victoria at the time of the Fraser River gold rush. High Holy Day services are held in a private home on Johnson Street in the Fall.
The Victoria Hebrew Benevolent Society is founded.
A Jewish Cemetery is consecrated on Cedar Hill Road, the oldest in Western Canada. Selim
Franklin is elected to the Legislative Assembly of Vancouver Island, the third Jew to be elected to a legislature in British North America.
Morris Price, murdered at Cayoosh (Lilooet), becomes the first person to be interred in the Jewish Cemetery.
The Congregation “Emanu‐El of Victoria, Vancouver Island” is officially formed. It purchases a piece of land, “suitable in all respects for $730.00” for a future Synagogue. A call for architects is issued.
Architects Wright & Sanders issue a tender call for the new building. Contracts are issued to Mr. T. Baker for brick and slating, and Lee & Co. for the stonework. The cornerstone is laid in a grand public ceremony on June 2nd. Consecration occurs in September.
A wedding canopy made of silk from China, manufactured in England and transported around
Cape Horn to Victoria is presented to the Congregation by the Hebrew Ladies of Victoria.
Lumley Franklin, Selim’s brother, is elected the second mayor of Victoria, the first Jewish mayor of a city in British North America.
Henry Nathan Jr. is sent as one of the first two Members of Parliament from Victoria after Confederation. He becomes the first Jew to sit in the Canadian House of Commons.
Plans are prepared for the construction of a Sunday school and Hall to the south of the Synagogue.
Architect Thomas Hooper issues a tender call for the school house. The construction contract is given to Mr. Riddle in December.
The school house opens as the Hebrew Ladies Hall.
The Synagogue is “modernized”; the exterior is covered in stucco, the central doors are removed, a false ceiling is placed in the interior, the windows are blocked up and the central skylight is removed.
Consideration given to the restoration of the Synagogue.
“The Committee to Restore Canada’s Oldest Synagogue” is organized and consists of Martin
Levin as Chairman with a membership of Harry Brown, Neil Gold, Michael Goldberg, Alan Klenman, Ben Levinson, Gene Miller, Felix Reuben and later Martin Bernstein. The Committee enlists the aid and expertise of the Heritage Conservation Branch of the Provincial Government which is to prove invaluable throughout the four year restoration project.
The B.C. Heritage Trust announces a grant of $50,000 to the restoration of the Synagogue.
Ultimately, the Trust gives $82,000 to the Synagogue. The Annual General Meeting of the
Congregation unanimously approves the restoration project. Fund‐raising is launched. Every single member of the Synagogue contributes to the restoration producing the largest amount ever raised in Victoria.
In April, Premier William Bennett officially launches the restoration.
Another concentrated community effort results in the completion of the Al and Sylvia FisherBuilding, the Congregation Emanu-El Educational and Cultural Centre, replacing the historic wooden school and Hebrew Ladies Hall of 110 years before.
A committee is formed to prepare for the 150th anniversary of Emanu-El of Victoria.