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
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.
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
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
Cape Town, South Africa
Don’t Forget the
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
Fleming McConnell, Victoria
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
Lynda (Hodgson) Nielsen,
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
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.”