The Lansdowne Era

The Lansdowne Era: Victoria College, 1946-1963

Edited by Edward B. Harvey
Copyright Date: 2008
Pages: 216
https://www.jstor.org/stable/j.ctt7znzc
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  • Book Info
    The Lansdowne Era
    Book Description:

    Providing background and context, and bringing together a multiplicity of voices, Edward Harvey documents how one Canadian college responded to the important developments of the time - post-war prosperity, rapid urbanization, massive expansion in post-secondary education, the "baby boom," the emergence of a "youth culture." Individual chapters by distinguished alumni reflect on the legacy of Dean Emeritus Peter Lawson Smith, discuss the buildings and architecture of the era, highlight initiatives to build the institution's art collection, and look at teaching from the perspective of a young faculty member.

    eISBN: 978-0-7735-7474-8
    Subjects: Education

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-x)
  3. A MESSAGE FROM THE PREMIER
    (pp. xi-xii)
    Gordon Campbell
  4. FOREWORD
    (pp. xiii-xiv)
    David H. Turpin, PHD, FRSC

    The University of Victoria benefits from a proud history of academic excellence and dedication to post-secondary education. This commitment has existed in our community for century more than a century, beginning in 1903 with the opening of Victoria College, proceeding the establishment of the University of Victoria in 1963, and culminating that today is consistently recognized as one of the finest in Canada.

    The existence of the University of Victoria is in large part because of the vision of Victoria College faculty, staff, and students and of many leading members of our community. Each of those who campaigned for the...

  5. ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
    (pp. xv-xvi)
    Edward B. Harvey
  6. THE LANSDOWNE ERA: A TIME OF CHANGE
    (pp. 3-16)
    EDWARD B. HARVEY

    This book is about the years between 1946 and 1963, when Victoria College was at the Lansdowne campus, a beautiful and quintessentially southern Vancouver Island setting, with its green lawns and distinctive Garry oaks. In some respects, this verdant and pacific environment was deceptive. In fact, the Lansdowne era was a time of dynamic change. It was a time when the steps were taken that would lead to the establishment in 1963, of the University of Victoria as a fully autonomous, degree-granting institution embodying the unique spirit rooted in its founding years. The achievement of full autonomy important because from...

  7. PARTONE PERSPECTIVES ON THE LANSDOWNE ERA
    • REMEMBERING PETER SMITH
      (pp. 19-32)
      GORDON SHRIMPTON

      It was an insular place — Victoria College in the late 1950s — situated on the southern tip of a large, sparsely populated island and in a community of less than a hundred thousand. The students came mostly from the nearby high schools in Victoria. For many, the adjustment must have been minimal, especially if they came from Victoria High School, the largest and most urban. Oak Bay High produced its own phalanx, and a few trickled in from Mount View and, like myself, from Mount Douglas, more rural than urban in those days. The students numbered in the hundreds, and most...

    • THE EARLY YEARS
      (pp. 33-42)
      REGINALD ROY

      It was an amazing year — 1944. At Christmas time the Americans were fighting desperately was to be called the “Battle of the Bulge.” On the left the British army way toward clawing its way toward Germany, and left of that again, the Canadian army, about by the Canadian Corps in Italy, was biting its way into Holland. Further east the Soviet armies were steadily advancing into Europe. The end could not be far. In the spring, advances were being made on all fronts against a desperate enemy. Slowly but surely Germany was crumbling. Finally, on 8 May 1945, Germany surrendered,...

    • THE VICTORIA NORMAL SCHOOL IN THE LANSDOWNE YEARS
      (pp. 43-47)
      NORMA I. MICKELSON

      No discussion of the Lansdowne era or, indeed, of the University of Victoria as it exists today would be complete without including the Provincial Normal School. From its location high atop the hill on Lansdowne Road came generations of teachers who moulded the youth of British Columbia in ways too numerous to mention. Many Normal School graduates went on to other careers, distinguishing themselves and owing many of their the successes to the foundations laid on the Lansdowne campus.

      The history of the Victoria Normal School long before 1946 — in fact, ever since 1915, when it was first established — is...

    • BUILDINGS OF THE LANSDOWNE YEARS
      (pp. 48-53)
      MARTIN SEGGER

      Students, faculty, staff, and visitors — few of them could not but have been impressed by the magnificient setting of Victoria College’s Lansdowne campus. Located on a granite bench, tucked into the rise of Mount Tolmie and skirted by Garry oak meadows, this vantage point commands a vast panoramic view over the entire city of Victoria, the Oak Bay suburbs, vistas far west to Esquimalt harbour, and then over the Juan de Fuca Strait, defining the horizon through a three-quarter compass arc — the majestic jagged line of the Olympics. It might therefore be easy to justify overlooking the fact that the...

    • FOUNDING THE UNIVERSITY OF VICTORIA ART COLLECTION AT VICTORIA COLLEGE
      (pp. 54-57)
      MARTIN SEGGER

      By 1962 Victoria College was confident enough in its growing art collection to offer it to the public as an exhibition at the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria. TitledExhibition of the Victoria College Collection of Original Works of Art,the exhibit ran from 29 May to June of that year. The accompanying two-page catalogue, not illustrated, listed 45 works and divided them into paintings (29), chalk drawings and graphics (10), and “other works” (9), which were essentially sculptures. The brief introduction highlighted the fact that the collection had been built up over the previous ten years and also pointed...

    • MEMORIES AND IMPRESSIONS OF A NEW FACULTY MEMBER IN THE LANSDOWNE ERA
      (pp. 58-64)
      ANN SADDLEMYER

      I arrived in Victoria just in time for the beginning of the 1956 term, an MA from Queen’s still smoking in my gloved hand. Every young lady still wore gloves, or so I had been taught. But my first visit to Roger and Ailsa Bishop’s home cured me of that and many other similar notions; this was a new world, still courteous and welcoming but without pretension (through Sydney Pettit was distressed that the men refused to stand up when their women colleagues joined them). Victoria College, however, was also recently thrust into a new image of itself, still reeling...

    • LANSDOWNE DAYS 1947–1963
      (pp. 65-68)
      ROGER J. BISHOP

      Whenever I think of the Lansdowne days of Victoria College, I think of Wordsworth’s lines:

      Bliss was it in that dawn to be alive

      And to be young was very heaven.

      I think both students and faculty had a feeling that they were in at the creation of a new and very good institution. It was a heady time. The six hundred veterans who had swamped the slender facilities of Craigdarroch Castle had, under the generalship of Principal Ewing and Student President Terry Garner, led the battle to get the larger quarters of the underused Normal School at Lansdowne released...

    • MEMORIES, MENTORS, AND A CANADIAN BASKETBALL CHAMPIONSHIP: MEN’S SPORTS AT THE LANSDOWNE CAMPUS
      (pp. 69-82)
      KENNETH McCULLOCH

      The proud heritage of athletics at Victoria College on the Lansdowne campus commenced in 1946 and made a relatively flawless move in 1964 to the University of Victoria at Gordon Head. Because I was a member of the 1956—59 men’s basketball team, I have been invited to share my youthful experiences at Victoria College and to Canadian Championship run of 1958. As well, I have been requested to briefly review the men’s teams and individual male athletes of the Lansdowne years, which and who have so noticeably contributed to Victoria’s sports history. Hopefully, I can achieve this end without...

    • WOMEN’S SPORTS DURING THE LANSDOWNE YEARS
      (pp. 83-94)
      SUSAN YATES

      I was fortunate to have attended Victoria College from 1960, when I arrived as a young first-year student just graduated from a small girls’ school, until 1963. The college opened up a new world of opportunities and friendships for me. My memory of the college, as the first step into adult life, is of a supportive, collegial place with high academic standards. With under two thousand students, primarily in first and second year, Victoria College provided a friendly beginning for first-year students.

      In reviewing oldTowersandMartlets,I am reminded of the strong leadership provided by Dr Hickman. Both...

    • THE UNIVERSITY OF VICTORIA DISTINGUISHED ALUMNI AWARDS
      (pp. 97-106)

      The University of Victoria Alumni Association encourages and supports the tremendous achievements of its members with the annual presentation of the UVic Distinguished Alumni Awards. Since 1993 these awards have become synonymous with the inspiring talent, effort, and influence of the university’s graduates, locally and worldwide.

      Recipients are selected on the basis of their exceptional achievement, prominence in their field of endeavour, impact on their community, and the example they set for UVic students. A one-time scholarship is awarded to a UVic student in the name of each recipient. Nine alumni of the Lansdowne era have been honoured with University...

  8. PART TWO REFLECTIONS OF THE LANSDOWNE GENERATION
    • THE HON. JUSTICE ROBERT B. HUTCHISON VIC ’49
      (pp. 109-113)

      It would be difficult to reminisce about Victoria College and the Lansdowne campus without first taking a look at the different community that it served in those years. The Second world War had just ended, and the small, sleepy-town atmosphere that marked British Columbia’s capital city was a far cry from the greater Victoria of over three to four hundred thousand it has grown to be in the twenty-first century. For a generation that grew up on three- and six-cent bus rides and ten-cent movies and milkshakes, the end of war brought great social changes fuelled by the return of...

    • MARGARET GARNER NORMAL SCHOOL ’52, VIC ’54
      (pp. 114-117)

      I have a feeling that when I was at the Lansdowne campus at the Normal School and Victoria College in the early 1950s, it was a very traditional era. At that time most of the high schools divided their students into two streams, university or general. If you chose the university you would go to Normal School (teacher training), nursing, or college I don’t remember that I had any sense that times were changing; things were the way they were.

      Daily, we wore skirts and sweaters or blouses, belts, ankle socks or stockings, and low shoes (sometime saddle shoes). The...

    • RONALD LOU-POY VIC ’52
      (pp. 118-122)

      It was another era, but it almost seems like another world. Old Victoria College yearbooks and copies of the student newspaper, theMartlet,reveal pictures and description of life from simpler times. Canada was just a few years beyond the Second World War, and Victoria was still a quiet little town. It was so small that the phone numbers started with a single letter of the alphabet followed by four numbers. There were no area codes or postal codes. Mail took forever, it seemed, to go from coast to coast, and the cost of talking to someone on the East...

    • PATRICIA JONES VIC ’52
      (pp. 123-126)

      Such a difference a year makes. The school year 1952—53 was barely nine months long, but it was long enough to grow up a little, learn to challenge our world, and become excited about learning. It was also a year for making new friends through a variety of special-interests clubs, dates, parties, and dances — all wonderful memories from another era, over fifty years ago.

      My Victoria College memories really start as a seven-year-old in the back of a car driven by my father on Sunday afternoon drives along Lansdowne Road past the college. Between 1942 and 1946 the campus...

    • AVIS RASMUSSEN VIC ’55
      (pp. 126-128)

      The Garry oaks that crown the campus and the recently restored Young Building feature in my 2007 painting forThe Lansdowne Era.They were also the site of my classes as a student at Victoria College between 1955 and 1957

      I began my studies to be a teacher at what was, in 1955, the Normal School. I registered with Miss Dorothy Cruickshank — who knew everyone — in the Ewing Building for the following courses: English 100 and 101 with Professor Roger J. Bishop, French 120 with Dr Harry Hickman, German 90 with Dr Gordon Tracy and Professor Frederick Kriegel, History 102...

    • THE HON. DAVID ANDERSON VIC ’55
      (pp. 128-133)

      For high school students in Victoria in the fifties who wished to proceed to university, the only real choice was whether to stay at Victoria College for a year or two and then go on to UBC or else to go directly to UBC. It was rare, very rare, for other Canadian universities, American universities such as the University of Washington, or universities in the United Kingdom to attract a Victoria teenager. Some children of military personnel who had strong ties with Halifax or Ottawa or those whose parents had a particularly strong attachment to a university that they had...

    • THE HON. CHIEF JUSTICE LANCE S.G. FINCH VIC ’55
      (pp. 133-135)

      So much freedom, so little self-discipline. I think those words capture the essence of my experience as a seventeen-year-old from Mount View High School entering a period of major transition in my life. I did not enrol at Victoria College with any well-defined vocational goal, nor with an inspired vision of how to improve the world. Rather, I went to Victoria College because my sister Donna had done so the year before and because both of our parents believed in and supported post-secondary education for all their children.

      Very few students from Mount View High School went on to study...

    • GEOFFREY CASTLE VIC ’55
      (pp. 135-140)

      One morning during a coffee break a colleague announced that he was enrolling for a math course in the Evening Division at Victoria College. It was the end of an Indian summer, but outdoor activities would soon be shortened along with the days. So I registered too. Then we could both work on problems that might arise throughout the term. As it happened, my associate apparently had a change of heart, having unwittingly set me on a path that would eventually change my whole life.

      At the time I was a draftsman in Forest Management at the Legislative Buildings in...

    • BARBARA L. CRAIGIE VIC ’56
      (pp. 140-147)

      I had always known I would attend Victoria College. My father and his three siblings had been students, as had my mother and her two sisters. It was written in the Book of Genesis that my brother and I would follow the family tradition. It wasn’t until much later that I came to appreciate how fortunate we were to have such a fine institution right on our doorstep. While it was small and limited in course offerings when we attended, it provided a fine base on which to build.

      In 1956—57, the first year of the merger of Victoria...

    • TERENCE R. MELVILLE VIC ’56
      (pp. 148-150)

      Life is like a grinding wheel that can wear you down or polish you up, depending on what you are made of. As a typical teen, I needed a good deal of shaping and smoothing, and I believe that Victoria College accomplished some of that.

      My father, Roy Melville, was an Anglican cleric who served in the army during both the First and Second World Wars in Europe and was posted to the Gordon Head Camp, the present location of the University of Victoria, in 1943. He was pleased to accept the parish of North Saanich at demobilization in 1945;...

    • DAVID LEEMING VIC ’57
      (pp. 150-151)

      Entering Victoria College in September 1957 meant getting acquainted with many new students, mainly from Victoria schools but also from farther afield. It also meant engaging with a dedicated faculty who would bring us to the next level in our educational pursuits. During the first week, we “frosh,” as we were called, were subjected to minor indignities, such as wearing a large conical dunce hat adorned with blue and gold crepe ribbons (these colours would later be adopted as the official UVic colours). The second-year (they were never called sophomores) treated us frosh to a one-way bus ride to the...

    • CAROLE MacDONALD VIC ’57
      (pp. 152-156)

      It is the fall of 1958, almost a half-century ago. Imagine the Victoria College auditorium crammed full of noisy and boisterous undergraduate. Waving above their heads are cleverly worded posters and a floppy, colourful effigy. What could possibly persuade the students to forgo their beloved cafeteria during the lunch break to come to this stuffy auditorium? would you be surprised to hear it is the then premier and attorney and attorney general who are paying a visit to speak to the students? I am among the students in the auditorium that day, and my recollections are vivid and strong.

      The...

    • TIMOTHY R. PRICE VIC ’59
      (pp. 156-158)

      Looking back close to fifty years to my first year at Victoria College is to look at a world, and certainly a Canada, transformed. In 1959 we were still in the postwar recovery, although that was rapidly turning into industrial prosperity. The college students were still largely from the Victoria area and elsewhere in British Columbia, and they were studying arts or education. I was studying English and history and having a lively social life. In my extracurricular life on campus, I was a stagehand in the Victoria College Players’ performance of George Bernard Shaw’sYou Never Can Tell,working...

    • BRIAN R. LITTLE VIC ’59
      (pp. 158-166)

      Victoria College, our alma mater (from the Latin, “nourishing mother”), was a strange, delightful, needful, and compelling creature. Her nourishment and nurturing shaped our lives. The nature of this nurturing is fascinating to reconstruct, but also challenging; our memories are fallible, and some of our recollections may be self-serving or at least singular. But of one thing we can be sure — alma matters: being nourished during what developmental psychologists now call the critical period of “emerging adulthood” matters deeply. We were nourished by Vic College, in my case from 1959 to

      1964, during a period that many would see as...

    • NELS GRANEWALL VIC ’59
      (pp. 167-169)

      In the mid-1950s, Victoria College was viewed by rural Saanich residents as a temporary enclave for Oak Bay and Victoria High School graduates planning to ultimately go off-island to complete an undergraduate degree. Seen as a formidable bastion for the privileged, it was not intended for rough-hewn farm boys and girls whose dirt-poor parents did not have the funds to pay tuition and incidental costs. It was all the more remarkable, then, that the student who shattered these preconceived notions for me was an immigrant from Europe with a grade six education who did not learn to speak English until...

    • THE HON. LORNA R. MARSDEN VIC ’60
      (pp. 169-171)

      After the Labour Day weekend in 1960, I walked up the hill to the Lansdowne campus of Victoria College, I was following in the footsteps of my older siblings, only one of whom had found an alternative path. I was ambivalent about starting college this way and had tried to persuade my father, to no avail, that McGill would be a better choice. Having twice seenMy Fur Ladyperformed by the McGill University Players, I was fixated on their spirit of fun, political spoof, and sophistication.

      My deepest fear was that I would be greeted in the Faculty of...

    • JOHN H. YOUSON VIC ’60
      (pp. 172-179)

      When I was asked to consider writing something about my memories of university life at the Lansdowne campus of Victoria College/UVic from 1960 to 1964, I had very positive thoughts of an experience that seemed like yesterday. I could not, however, focus on one aspect of the experience; rather, the words academic, atmosphere, social, and sports immediately came to mind. The following paragraphs are my recollection of these four features of university life at this campus during this period, with emphasis on their impact on my subsequent education and on my life as a university academic. To put things into...

    • JOHN SARGENT VIC ’60
      (pp. 179-182)

      Since I have only a very limited supply of entertaining stories or profound reflections from the one year I spent at Vic College, I shall pad my recollections with some statistics intented to help put the college in 1960—61, especially that year’s entering class, in context. I would have preferred to be able to provide the scoop on how many students majored in bridge, to the exclusion of virtually any classroom attendance, and how they fared at year-end, or on how far the administration went in insisting that women students wear skirts rather than slacks. (I owe these two...

    • E. JANE HEDLEY VIC ’62
      (pp. 183-187)

      My freshman year at UVic was in 1962—63, the year before the university moved to Gordon Head and started granting its own four-year degrees. Many of my classmates from Oak Bay High School went right on to UBC or transferred there after two years, but never even considered doing either one. I was only sixteen as a freshman, not ready to leave home yet. I planned to major in English, and the UVic department had a good reputation. I could live at home for four years, and my tuition would be covered by scholarships; my parents and I would...

    • IN MEMORIAM
      (pp. 188-192)

      Walter Young entered Victoria College in 1951, but like so many others in his time at Lansdowne, he soon went “across the water” to UBC, where in 1955 he received his honours BA in English and history. He was awarded a Rhodes Scholarship and went on to Oxford; he obtained his MA there in 1957. After various teaching jobs back in Canada, he continued his graduate studies at the University of Toronto, receiving his doctorate in 1965.

      Walter was a member of the Department of Political Science at UBC between 1962 and 1973, serving as head of the department for...

  9. PART THREE CONCLUSION
    • THE LANSDOWNE ERA: AN ENDURING TRADITION
      (pp. 195-199)
      EDWARD B. HARVEY

      For more of us, Victoria College was a place we attended for a year or two before going on to other institutions to complete our post-secondary education. And yet — and the contributions from the former Lansdowne-era students certainly reflect this — the relatively short time was highly formative for many of us. It was so influential for many reasons, both personal and much larger. The largest reason was the atmosphere, the spirit, theessenceof the era — it was a period in Canadian history of considerable optimism. It corresponded with what were probably the only couple of decades in our history...