by Cleve Dheensaw (B.Ed 79)
Every Monday night a trek is made by
tutor/counsellor/coach Gareth Rees and a band of students
from the halls of privilege at Eton, in the shadow of
Windsor Castle, across to the rugged London borough of
Slough. This is the one night each week homeless shelters
are closed in Britain and Rees and his students help local
churches put on an informal soup kitchen in the street.
Even though Canada is a Commonwealth country, its culture
is heavily American influenced and the whole school uniform
and tie thing is something that takes some getting used to
for a Canadian-even one such as Rees, who was in such an
environment at St. Michael's University School before coming
to the University of Victoria.
"These are privileged kids (at Eton) and it's a real eye
opener for them every Monday," says Rees. "Coming from their
background, these students just don't see this kind of
stuff. But it's not their fault. The whole Eton scene can
seem bizarre for a Canadian-some of the traditions run so
deep that it's unfathomable for a North American."
But Eton-where Rees coached Prince William on the finer
points of rugby-is only part of the UVic grad's life. As a
professional rugby star for North London club Wasps, Rees is
now only part time at Eton and better known on the sports
pages of British newspapers. Rees emerged from the UVic
Vikes program to be considered perhaps the greatest Canadian
player ever produced in his sport. When he captains Canada
at the 1999 World Cup in October, Rees will become the only
player to have appeared in all four rugby World Cups held to
He's been doing the weekly gig at the Slough street
kitchen ever since he got to Eton six years ago but didn't
want to discuss it at length, saying many people put in
thousands more volunteer hours and praise should be directed
But it does help put the world in its proper orbit for
"As a pro athlete, it's easy to take things out of
context," said Rees. "You think a game is life and death
when it's not."
Rees laughs when it's mentioned that his charitable
attitude, coupled with the Eton connection, could make him a
poster boy for Tony Blair's centrist New Labour.
"I'm aware of things on a political level but I have no
party leanings in either Britain or Canada," said Rees. "But
going to UVic from SMUS when I did (1988) really opened my
eyes to a lot of race and women's issues because things like
women's studies were coming into the forefront of campus
life at the time. That's maybe the biggest difference
between Canada and Britain. It's made me realize how
progressive-almost radicalized compared to British
educational institutions-that UVic was in some senses.
Canada is a much more liberal place in that regard and I
appreciate that more now."
Rees came to SMUS in Grade 8 as a BCTV scholarship
student from Willows Elementary.
"We weren't rich-I had two school teachers as parents-and
I was a scholarship case at SMUS for four years," noted
Rees. "When my SMUS mates were going off to McGill, Queen's,
Harvard and Stanford, I stayed home and went to UVic.
"UVic was always the right choice for me," Rees
continued. "I chose it because of the rugby program. I grew
up with the Vikes winning all those national championships
in basketball and other sports and Vikes rowers winning
Olympic medals. The place was in my blood from childhood.
When I first got on campus, I made it my goal to bring UVic
rugby up to the level of UVic basketball and rowing.
Indeed he did. In Rees' four years in Vikes blue and
gold, he turned UVic rugby into the prime collegiate program
in North America. UBC and the University of California at
Berkeley were the two other serious aspirants to that mantle
and UVic went 4-0 against Berkeley and 3-1 against UBC
during the Rees era.
After a post-SMUS year at Harrow on an English Speaking
Union scholarship, Rees started at UVic in September of
1988. The following summer, he was playing for Canada as a
19 year-old in the first ever rugby World Cup.
Vikes rugby now produces Canadian national team players
and overseas pros as a matter of course. That's Rees' legacy
to the program-an attitude of excellence he left behind.
Rees graduated from UVic in 1991 with a bachelors degree
in history before earning a masters in studies in modern
history from Oxford's Keble College. His passion for
teaching runs deep, as does his desire to create the
"If kids are busy in music, drama and sports, it keeps
them away from the bad stuff that's out there," he said.
"Teachers are much more effective when they see the students
in different environments. I wouldn't like to be in one
specialized area and not be able to do things like coach."
At 31, Rees knows this year's World Cup will be his last.
Last fall, he suffered a concussion during a Wasps game and
had to be carried off in a stretcher. Before that, he was
out for three months after snapping ligaments in his wrist
during The World Cup qualifying tournament in Argentina.
"Rugby was my whole life," admitted Rees. "But when my
body began failing me for the first time, it scared me. And
so I started thinking a little more about preparing for my
teaching career full time. Yet I look at what happened in
the NFL last season with the re-emergence of older players.
I believe I can do that in a rugby sense and I'm definitely
playing pro for at least two more years. After that, well,
it's wait and see."
Regardless of when it ends, it's been quite a trip from
Wallace Field just outside Ring Road to starring roles in
World Cup stadiums from New Zealand to South Africa.
UVic alumnus Cleve Dheensaw is a sportswriter for
the Victoria Times Colonist and author of five books on
by Patty Pitts
In 1972 Linda Hughes was convinced her fresh new UVic
honours degree in economics and history would lead to the
life of an academic. But stopping by the Victoria Times one
day to return a borrowed book, someone suggested that she
apply for a summer job. Her career course was set.
"I thought I knew Victoria, but covering it for the paper
made me see it in a different way. It opened up many new
doors for me, and I had so much fun," recalls Hughes, now
the publisher of the Edmonton Journal .
Her appointments as the Journal's editor-in-chief and
then publisher made her the first woman to fill those
positions at the newspaper. She remains the only woman in
the country at the helm of a major Canadian daily. Yet, she
downplays her accomplishments.
"I've had a lot of luck. I was in the right place at the
right time in a period where there was a lot of change and
movement within the newspaper industry," says Hughes, who
was declared one of Canada's "50 most influential women" by
Chatelaine magazine in 1994.
Hughes started her career doing general assignment work
at the Times before moving to the provincial legislature. "I
covered Dave Barrett's government and the first year of Bill
Bennett in power. Those were very exciting times," says
Hughes. Her work attracted a job offer from the Journal.
"Someone phoned out of the blue on a day when I was thinking
it was time to leave Victoria. I'd never been to Edmonton
before and it seemed like a kind of adventure."
She rose through the ranks at the Journal-news editor,
assistant managing editor and editor-in-chief-before being
appointed publisher in 1991.
"Linda's really respected within the industry, and not
just because she's a woman," says Dr. Lynne Van Luven,
director of UVic's professional writing program and a former
Journal reporter. "She was not the kind of person to make a
fuss. She did her work in her quietly competent way, but she
was always aware of what was best for the company. In
addition to her professional competence, Linda always
impressed me as someone who cared deeply about her staff and
her community. She was a role model for me."
The 1987 Edmonton tornado remains one of Hughes' most
vivid career memories. "The main lesson we learned was how
important a newspaper is to a community. The storm had
knocked out power to our press so we had to print a much
abbreviated edition of the paper in Calgary and truck it
back to Edmonton. There were people standing in line to get
it. We sold out. People just wanted to read about what was
going on with the tornado even though they had full TV and
Hughes is happy in Edmonton (she and husband George Ward
have two children) and she has no desire to move to a bigger
paper. But she'll admit the West Coast maintains a certain
allure: "I'm still interested in politics...and there's
nothing like B.C. politics!"
by Mike McNeney
He was a child, maybe not even five years-old, when his
mother led him by the hand outside to see one of the first
American satellites go flying overhead.
Ever since, Victoria-born Marshall McCall has spent a lot
of time thinking about what's out there-stars, galaxies and
the building blocks of the universe since the big bang-and
he has established himself as one of Canada's leading
As a teenager he pestered the staff at the Dominion
Astrophysical Observatory until they relented-a job tending
the gardens was all he needed to get his foot in the door.
He became a summer research associate while studying at
"I worked like a dog at UVic. The honours program was
incredibly difficult," says McCall of his undergraduate
experience in the department of physics and astronomy. "The
astronomy stream required observational tasks, which of
course could only be done at night, as well as daytime
classes. I didn't realize it then, but I know now that the
UVic astronomy program is competitive with any university."
A particular influence was Dr. Jeremy Tatum. "It so
happened that at one stage three of my five courses were
taught by him. He not only taught, but also opened up
research opportunities for me." McCall graduated in 1976,
winning the Governor General of Canada Medal for scholastic
He went to the University of Texas for his doctorate
where a fellow student (a galaxy "fanatic") helped developed
McCall's main research interest-the gaseous nebulae that
envelope galaxies and reveal their chemical evolution.
Now a tenured professor at York University in Toronto,
McCall balances teaching with an active research program.
McCall and Dr. Ronald Buta of the University of Alabama
are preparing for Hubble Space Telescope observations
scheduled for a six-week "window" this December and January.
They'll observe the Maffei-1 galaxy, an old collection of
stars believed to be one of the first to form. Because of
its age it should offer a sharp view of its parts.
"One of the Hubble reviewers said this galaxy has the
potential to be the 'Rosetta Stone' of images taken by the
space telescope," says McCall.
Maffei-1 is the same galaxy that led McCall and Buta to
the discovery of two new galaxies neighbouring our Milky
Way. It drew a huge amount of interest from the news media.
"It was like shucking an oyster and finding two pearls
inside," McCall told Maclean's in 1995.
In 1997, McCall and Buta identified three of the five
brightest galaxies in the northern sky and proved that
they've influenced the motion of the Milky Way and its
neighbouring galaxy, Andromeda.
The news media continues to rely on McCall as an expert
source. He's often called on by the CTV's Canada A.M. to
explain a whole range of issues in astronomy. "I normally
get about 12 hours warning," says McCall.
"It's tiring and it takes a lot of time. But the reason I
do it is that the more people know about science, the more
interest the public will have in it, and more benefits will
flow to science in general."