Victoria Then and Now

First day of classes at Vic, September 1933. Charles St. was quiet. The only people in sight were two tennis players on the courts to my left as I stepped through the wrought-iron gates into the College grounds. The day was sunny but crisp enough to warrant the blue wool suit and fuzzy grey sailor hat I was wearing.

Walking up the path to the red-stone building I felt that high happiness that comes to us only a few times in our life. I had passed through all the processes and was entering Victoria College: a whole new world lay behind that modest side door just ahead.

There would be the celebrated poet E.J. Pratt, leaning forward over his table, his blue eyes holding us as he, with surprising respect for us 101-ers, shared his deep understanding of Hamlet. There would be the chapel services at ten each morning, with Norrie Frye our fellow student at the piano, his wafting blond hair getting him the nickname “Buttercup”. There would be that wonderful guy in theology with whom I would spend a long and happy life.

Could I have thought that more than seventy years later, after many different gates and doors, as a little old lady with a wheeled walker I would be in that very same spot again, this time to witness the granting of a doctor’s degree to my Korean granddaughter-in-law? But now Charles St. is lined with the vans and wires of a movie-maker; traffic fills University Ave.; the tennis courts have disappeared and the convocation is held in the beautiful theatre building that has taken its place. There is not a hat in sight.

Indeed big changes, but search and discovery are nurtured here as ever and friendships made all those years ago still hold fast.

Story submitted by: Andrina (Bost) Newbery 3T6

About Victoria