Vic High Archives

This award-winning collection is housed in the Faith Reimer Room (Room 100) on the school’s ground floor, just inside the “Girls Entrance” east of the main entrance. The Archives is open to the public from 9 am to noon every Tuesday that school is in session. 

Staffed by friendly volunteers, it is open by appointment November 25, 2019 onwards, as we prepare to store the archives during the seismic upgrade.  Email archives@vichigh.com (quickest option)  or call the school 250-388-5456, ask for Archives.  Leave a message if we’re not there and we’ll call you back ASAP.  

*****With the upcoming closure of Vic High for seismic upgrading, the Archives is packing up in readiness for non-accessible storage for two years.*****

As a result, effective November 25, 2019 the Archives will be not be receiving any more items and will be closed to visitors on Tuesday mornings. For anyone doing research on Vic High or for groups planning reunions in the next couple of years, please contact the Archives to make arrangements to copy any required materials before December 1st.  Until that time you may drop in on a Tuesday morning or contact the Archives staff at Archives@vichigh.com or call 250-388-5456 and ask for the Archives to make an appointment.  As the Archives are operated by volunteers, it may be best to call ahead to ensure staff are there to assist you.

EXTRA CAMOSUNS – Camosuns for various years are available.  Please contact the Archives@vichigh.com or call 250-388-5456 and ask for the Archives if you are interested in a particular year.  Cost is $20.00 each.  Correct change is appreciated.


Debbie Blackie, Passionate Archives Volunteer   
by Barrie Moen

An unexpected shadow was cast over the Vic High Archives on August 27, 2019 with the sudden passing of Archives volunteer Debbie Blackie (nee Parkinson, VHS 1967). A passionate contributor to the growth of the archives in the past ten years, she was always encouraging volunteers, guests, and donors alike, and visiting the Archives was always a pleasure.

Debbie loved to research any subject associated with Vic High. However, her unique skills were showcased when she and her friend Linda Smith began creating hallway displays featuring historic and contemporary photos, images and articles of clothing from school clubs and teams. Their artefact shadow-box displays, featured in a variety of areas in the school, were of museum quality, and because of a limited budget, the expense was often covered from their own pockets.

Debbie also developed the idea of a page on the Vic High Alumni website (www.vichigh.com) called “Tales from the Attic,” to publish intriguing articles offering further insight into the history of the school.

A skilled negotiator, Debbie approached me offering the opportunity to write some articles for the new website feature.

“What does it pay?” I asked.
“Nothing,” she replied.
“Well, if you can double that, I might be interested,” I countered.
“I believe I can convince the Alumni Association to find those funds,” she surmised, and an unusual literary friendship blossomed.

At her memorial service, it became obvious that Debbie was well loved by her associates during her 35 years within the Greater Victoria hospital system. As one speaker mentioned, Debbie was a private person who treated her various groups of friends with empathy and respect. However, the speaker noted, in order to avoid any conflicts she never allowed any cross-pollination of these groups, so the speaker was overjoyed at the large, diverse crowd gathered to honour Debbie’s life.

Annie Bolt (VHS 1967) and Kathleen McDonald (VHS 1973), with the assistance of Alumni Board member Anne McKeachie (VHS 1968), will now take on the duties of accessioning and organizing the VHS Archives for temporary storage during the seismic upgrading of the school. Setting up the new Vic High Archives and Museum will be much anticipated, with the school’s commitment to expanding the space for these precious articles and to ensuring easy public accessibility.

We know the new Vic High Archives and Museum area will reflect Debbie’s diligent spirit, best summed up in her usual Tuesday morning greeting in the Archives: “Oh, there you are. What have you been up to? I have something for you to do.”

Barrie Moen (VHS 1969) is also a dedicated Archives volunteer.


ALUMNI ASSOCIATION AND ARCHIVES WIN BC HISTORICAL AWARD

In its annual recognition ceremony for 2012, the British Columbia Historical Federation awarded a Certificate of Merit to the Vic High Alumni Association and Archives. The certificate recognizes the Association’s and the Archives’ achievements in “strengthening and preserving the heritage and archives of Victoria High School, the oldest public high school west of Winnipeg, for the next and future generations.”

The Federation’s Certificates of Merit are given to groups or individuals who have made a significant contribution to the study or promotion of British Columbia history, either for an individual project or for activity over time. The Federation presents a maximum of two Certificates of Merit in any one year.

The B.C. Historical Federation, established in 1922, is an umbrella organization of provincial historical societies. It has over 300 members, and is responsible for many publications including the quarterly journal British Columbia History.


Here are three photos from the extensive collection.

Building the “new” school, 1914

The excavation for the current school building (the fourth in Vic High’s history) began in 1912. This picture looks across the foundation site towards Fernwood Road. You can see the steeple of what is now The Belfry Theatre in the background.

Provincial Rugby Champs, 1931

Yes, this is a picture of the Vic High rugby team that won the provincial championship in 1931, but it is also a link to the days when Victoria won the Stanley Cup. The Patrick brothers in the picture, ‘Muzz’ and Lynn, were the sons of Lester Patrick who owned and managed the Victoria Cougars of the Western Canada Hockey League. In 1925 they became the last non-NHL team to win the Stanley Cup. To pick up the story from Come Give a Cheer:

“Lynn Patrick, VHS 1931, starred in rugby with the BC Reps; was a member of the Blue Ribbon national basketball title-holders; played football for the Winnipeg Blue Bombers; and played hockey for the New York Rangers from 1935 to 1943 (becoming scoring leader and NHL all-star in 1941 / 42 season). Murray ”Muzz” Patrick, VHS 1933, was no less impressive. Captain of every VHS team in his senior year, and winner of many track and field awards, he too played for the Blue Ribbons and teamed with Lynn to lead the 1939 / 40 Rangers to the Stanley Cup. Muzz was also Canadian amateur heavyweight boxing champion and a professional six-day cyclist.

Provincial Girls’ Basketball Champions, 1922

Fashions and even rules have changed since these Vic High girls won the provincial basketball championship in 1922.

For a comprehensive history of education in British Columbia, go to the Vancouver Island University web site.

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