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The history of Canada's Navy & Military on Canada's west coast

Distinguished Buildings

Naden 20, home to Captains of Naden

Captain J.E.W. Oland and his daughter pictured with their dog outside Naden Building 20, which was then their residence. The building is now home to the museum office and archives.

Captain J.E.W. Oland

Distinguished Buildings

Parade square and Naden buildings as they appeared in the 1930s, when the area was in use as barracks and training facilities. The brick and frame heritage buildings that are home to CFB Esquimalt Naval and Military Museum were constructed in the later part of the 19th century, between 1887 and 1892. They were purpose designed to be used as a hospital complex and consisted of pavilion style buildings with covered verandahs. These buildings centred around a grassed area that later became a gravelled parade square and later still, the paved parking lot you will find here today.

This area, known as Museum Square, is part of a network of outstanding historic buildings at Canadian Forces Base (CFB) Esquimalt.

The Base is composed of several named sections that are geographically removed from one another. Though now integrated, these named segments were originally intended for use by the army or navy of the period in which they were constructed. Both services had differing conceptions of "proper" buildings. This is evident in the design, detailing, and building materials chosen for the various buildings. Some parts of the base date back to the colonial period, when they were used by the Royal Navy, Royal Engineers, Royal Garrison Artillery and other Imperial Forces.

Museum Square at Naden as it appears today.

In this feature, we take a closer look at buildings of significant architectural and historical importance, and some of the personalities behind them.

The Bickford Tower, erected in 1901 as a signalling tower, is the sole example in Canada of a building of its type. It is significant for its structure, and as an outstanding example of maritime architecture and engineering.

Architect John Teague.

Building 20 at Naden - now the administrative office and archives of CFB Esquimalt Naval & Military Museum - is part of a complex of buildings originally constructed as a hospital for the Royal Navy's Pacific base in Esquimalt, BC.

The building, which dates from 1891, has links to the career of notable Victoria architect John Teague. Teague is thought to have designed it; the building's style is very similar to buildings he designed for the Royal Navy elsewhere. 

In the period from 1923 to 1940, Building 20 was home to a variety of senior naval officers and Captains of HMCS NADEN, including some important and influential figures in the history of Canada's navy, including Percy Nelles and Leonard Murray.

Building 20 continues to attract admiration and interest for its elegant style and scenic location.