Victoria College, British Columbia

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Victoria College
Craigdarroch Castle, 2010-07-31.jpg
MottoTuum est Latin (It is up to you)
Location, ,
ColoursRed Gold Blue
AffiliationsUniversity of Victoria

Victoria College was a college in Victoria, British Columbia founded in 1903 with sponsorship from McGill University. It was the first post-secondary institution in British Columbia and later became the University of Victoria.

Many of Victoria College's traditions and memories have been continued by the University of Victoria which is the successor to the old college. The modern University of Victoria draws from its heritage as Victoria College as well as its close affiliation with McGill University up to this day, with several streets on the Oak Bay campus named after McGill. Victoria College went through various stages of history and different buildings including the Neo-Gothic Craigdarroch Castle in central Victoria.

Literary Stand


Victoria College was a two-year college which provided Victoria students with post-secondary education. Between the years 1903 and 1915, Victoria College was affiliated with McGill University, offering first- and second-year McGill courses in Arts and Science. Administered locally by the Victoria School Board, the College was an adjunct to Victoria High School and shared its facilities. Both institutions were under the direction of a single Principal: E.B. Paul, 1903-1908; and S.J. Willis, 1908-1915. The opening in 1915 of the University of British Columbia, established by Act of Legislature in 1908, obliged the College to suspend operations in higher education in Victoria.

In 1920, as a result of local demands, Victoria College began the second stage of its development, reborn in affiliation with the University of British Columbia. Though still administered by the Victoria School Board, the College was now completely separated from Victoria High School, moving September 27, 1921, into the magnificent Dunsmuir mansion known as Craigdarroch Castle. Here, under Principals E.B. Paul and P.H. Elliott, Victoria College built a reputation over the next two decades for thorough and scholarly instruction in first- and second-year Arts and Science.

Craigdarroch Castle (History)

The final stage, between the years 1945 and 1963, saw the transition from two year college to university, under Principals J.M. Ewing and W.H. Hickman. During this period, the College was governed by the Victoria College Council, representative of the parent University of British Columbia, the Greater Victoria School Board, and the provincial Department of Education. Physical changes were many. In 1946 the College was forced by postwar enrollment to move from Craigdarroch to the Lansdowne campus of the Provincial Normal School (This is the current location of the Camosun College Lansdowne Campus). The Normal School, itself an institution with a long and honourable history, joined Victoria College in 1956 as its Faculty of Education. Late in this transitional period (through the co-operation of the Department of National Defence and the Hudson's Bay Company) the 284-acre (115 ha) (now 385-acre or 156-hectare) campus at Gordon Head was acquired. Academic expansion was rapid after 1956, until in 1961 the College, still in affiliation with UBC awarded its first bachelor's degrees. Victoria College expanded and eventually went on to become the University of Victoria, a major research institution in British Columbia.



Victoria College students (and later University of Victoria students) have become active in many different sports and athletic activities. The warm, temperate climate of Victoria, British Columbia allows for extended sporting seasons and little rain. The rivers and ocean around Victoria, British Columbia provided excellent opportunities for rowing and sailing, two of the most popular sports at the University of Victoria.

Fight Song[edit]

Notable among a number of songs commonly played and sung at various events such as commencement and convocation, and athletic games is 'Rack and Ruin' a reminder of the tradition of the founding Victoria College. The Fight Song is still sung by the University of Victoria rowing club and soccer teams. "Rack and Ruin, Blood and Gore, Victoria College Evermore!"

Faculty and Staff[edit]

The staff of Victoria College started small and catered to the community. At its founding, it including a staff of just two faculty members, with the inaugural class consisting of four women and three men. The students and faculty members continued to steadily grow over the course of the first half of the twentieth-century. As the student body eventually outgrew the capacity of the old college, it led to the creation of the University of Victoria, which today consists of more than 22,000 students and more than 2000 faculty and staff.[1]

University of Victoria[edit]

In 1963, the University of Victoria opened, the Victoria College name was retired, and Victoria College alumni became alumni of the University of Victoria.


  1. ^ "Victoria College Historical Outline". Retrieved April 25, 2016.

Further reading[edit]