UVic Torch -- Spring 2004
Spring 2004,
Volume 26, Number 1

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Naming Names

Beginning with Jack Shadbolt’s “Hockey Owl” on the front cover, your latest edition of the Torch was a visual delight. I especially enjoyed Katherine Gibson’s article on the Provincial Normal School (“Normal History”), but was dismayed to find that none of the three beautiful young women who graced pages 18-19 was identified.

Norman Mouat, brother of one of those teachers-to-be, was able to provide their names: (left to right): Patricia (Peterson) Morris, Jackie (Twa) Severn and Evelyn (Mouat) Friele. All three were from Salt Spring Island.

Marie Elliott

Sweet Surprise

I was reading my Autumn 2003 copy of the Torch this afternoon and enjoyed seeing the photograph of the oak panel from Craigdarroch Castle on page 18 with Pierre Berton’s name carved in the wood. But more sweetly surprising to me was seeing my former neighbour Gib Baal’s name carved beside it.

I live near Ruby Lake on the Sunshine Coast and Gib bought the resort on the lake in the early ’80s. It had been a run-down establishment and he and his companion Sophie brought it to life, creating a warm and welcoming family restaurant. After Sophie’s death, the wonderful Liz Cahill joined Gib at Ruby Lake. My husband and I took our children there most Sunday mornings for breakfast and we wouldn’t have missed one of Gib’s community Christmas parties when he’d stomp across the roof of the restaurant in his Santa suit and then descend to the ground by ladder, presumably leaving the reindeer to wait for him while he distributed gifts and treats. He died in 1989.

I just called Liz to tell her I’d seen the photograph with his name in the Torch and she said that Gib had attended Victoria College then UBC to study engineering before first a young family and then WW2 took him from his studies. Thank you for reminding me of a lovely man.

Theresa Kishkan, BA ’78
Madeira Park

Castle Living

I have just received the latest Torch and, as always, marvel at the remarkable development of UVic.

Being ancient history myself—Victoria College, 1941–43—my memories are of classes in the castle, and the professors and friends of that time. Jimmy (Peachy) McKeachie, Don Skeets and Jim Squires were dashing men of that Craigdarroch era. We were members of the Hot Records Society, meeting in a darkened tower room, listening to records of Duke Ellington and Count Basey. Various members, carried away by the music, would spring to their feet playing imaginary trombones and saxaphones. I felt I was really living—at last!

Eve Aitken Best, Victoria College ’41
Cape Town, South Africa

Don’t Forget the Huts

I enjoyed your autumn issue. I would like to draw your attention to some wartime history of the present site of UVic. As several huts still on campus bear witness, it was the Gordon Head Army Camp. It was a remote place in those days, accessed from Cordova Bay Road. My older brother spent several months there, graduated as a lieutenant, and was whisked overseas to serve in the Canadian artillery in Italy (wounded) and then northwest Europe. With such a story for many others, I think the camp deserves to be remembered!

Fleming McConnell, Victoria College ’42

Split Memory

Reading your last editions of the Torch brought back memories of my second year at Victoria College, Education Faculty, in 1963. After the cozy confines of Lansdowne campus, suddenly I was experiencing the trials and tribulations of life on a ‘split campus’ (as we called it then).

The first challenge was to get from classes at Lansdowne to Gordon Head campus within 20 minutes.

Our English 200 class was in one of the old army huts situated at Gordon Head. We waited on that very first day for our young American professor, Dr. Clayton, to arrive. We strategically seated ourselves between the buckets catching the rainwater dripping through the roof. Finally he dashed through the door and bashed his head on a large timber jutting out from the door frame. Holding his head whilst looking at all the rainwater buckets he very clamly stated, “I do believe I am at the wrong university.”

You could say that some of us experienced the growing pains (literally) of an intimate college becoming a full-fledged university.

Lynda (Hodgson) Nielsen, BEd ’72
North Vancouver

Degree Years Noted

I read with interest and delight your item on the reunion of the class of ’64, UVic’s first graduating class ( Torch, Spring 2004). While you are accurate in identifying the class to be UVic’s first graduates, this was not the first class to graduate on the campus of what is now the University of Victoria.

For what I believe were two years, 1962 and 1963, classes graduated from Victoria College, which was under the governance of UBC. Graduates were granted UBC degrees, but with the additional designation of Collegium Victoriaiense.

This is a significant period in the evolution of UVic as a degree-granting institution and hopefully will not be forgotten.

John Harker, VC ’58

The first convocation for the awarding of UBC (Victoria College) degrees was held May 29, 1961 in the Gordon Head campus site’s Hut S, the “Old Gym.”



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