The school was named in honour of Sir James Douglas, the Hudson’s Bay Company official who founded Fort Victoria in 1843 and who served as colonial governor of Vancouver Island and British Columbia.

The earlier building was constructed of brick, stone, and concrete and was opened as a four-room school in 1910 with an enrollment of 125 students. It was first known as Moss Street School. Only the entrance portico of this building survives today. It has been preserved and placed in the school yard, in front of the new (1997) school building that stands on this site.

The first principal of Sir James Douglas School was Ernest Campbell. The wooden or “shingles” annex was built in 1919 and the gymnasium was added in 1930. The Sir James Douglas School building remained the same until the 1950′s when the school began to feel the results of the “baby boom”. To relieve overcrowding, an extension was added to the main building in 1958. This extension included four new classrooms, a new office and staff room, as well as increased storage facilities. Two more classrooms were added in 1965 on the ground floor, filling in the covered play area under the new addition.

Portable classrooms arrived on the school grounds in 1975. In April 1993, increased enrollment (topping 500 in the 1992-93 school year) led to a decision by the Ministry of Education to approve planning funds for a new school facility. In May 1995, the Ministry of Education announced that 6.9 million dollars would be allocated to a new facility at Sir James Douglas School. Design and construction of the new building continued through 1996. Staff and students moved into the new classrooms in January 1997 just after a major blizzard! Construction on the new school was completed in June 1997.