Press Clippings


Click here  to read the Times Colonist report (22 December 2019). For further info, click on Seismic Upgrade in the Navigation panel at right. 


Beginning in March 2018, a public controversy swirled around the required seismic upgrading of Vic High’s 104-year-old building. To review these discussions, and their resolution, click on Seismic Upgrade in Navigation panel at right.


Vic High’s groundbreaking astronomy course, inspired by a donation from Dr. Stewart Smith (VHS 1955) as described in this year’s Alumni News, will begin in September 2017. Future plans include a rooftop observatory — click here to read the full story from the Times Colonist (21 June 2017).


During World War I, approximately one in four Victoria High School students and staff joined the Canadian Expeditionary Force which fought in the First World War. On the honour rolls that prominently adorn the main hall of the school are the names of 497 Vic High participants in the “War to End All Wars,” including 97 who lost their lives.

Vic High and its Alumni Association honoured those who fought in the Battle of Vimy Ridge and celebrated the school’s young citizens during the 150th anniversary of Canada  with a remembrance event in the school’s auditorium. The program, presented twice on April 12  for students and for the general public, featured WWI music and a presentation by noted author Barry Gough.

Dr. Gough, one of Canada’s foremost military historians and writers, is a former student, teacher, and chair of the Victoria High School Alumni Association. His book, From Classroom to Battlefield: Victoria High School and the First World War, chronicles a few of the lives of students and teachers from Vic High who paid the supreme sacrifice in defence of democracy.

The event was funded by the Victoria Foundation’s Community Foundation of Canada. Click here to see a poster.

Click here to read “Vital People: Vic High student’s sacrifice at Vimy honoured” (Times Colonist, 26 March 2017).

Click here to read “From Vic High to Vimy” (Times Colonist, 8 April 2017).

VIC HIGH LOOKS TO RETURN TO BASKETBALL GLORY. The Vic High Totems were once a powerhouse in BC High School basketball. Led by legendary coach George “Porky” Andrews, the school captured numerous Island and Provincial Championships in the 1960s, and carried that success into the 1990s. But in the early 2000s the school struggled even to assemble a team.

Today the Totems have re-emerged as a serious contender to qualify for the Provincial Championships. Click here to view the CHEK TV interview with the team.  The tournament is being hosted at Vic High starting on February 25.

VIC HIGH SEEKS SUPPORT TO HOST ISLAND HOOP TOURNEY.  Victoria High School will be hosting the Vancouver Island senior boys AAA basketball championship starting February 25 and needs financial help from the business community. The three-day event will be covered by SportsCanada TV, Canada’s largest online amateur sports network telecasting more than 6,000 games in 30 sports. The top three teams from the Vic High tournament will advance to the provincial championship March 8-11 at the Langley Event Centre.

Greg Pitre, Vic High’s Athletic Director, is offering annual promotional signage on the balcony railings and in front of the scorers’ table across from the stands for $500.
Program sponsorship is also available ranging from business card-sized ads for $50 to $90, half-page advertisements from $200 to $300 or full-page displays from $300 to $450.

Any sponsorship questions may be directed to Pitre at or 250-812-1075.

FORMER VIC HIGH STUDENT PENS CHINESE ROMANCE NOVEL  Ed Ho, a Victoria High School student from the Class of 1966, has written a unique novel that is read from the back to the front, in the traditional style of Chinese literature. Mainly set in Victoria and its Chinatown, Yut Di – One Earth tells of a Chinese merchant and his son on a journey across Canada in the 1880s. On their trans-Pacific voyage, they meet a Rabbi and his daughter, who becomes infatuated with the merchant’s son. “It is intended to be a history lesson that explains why the Chinese came to North America and describes how and why they were mistreated,” said Ho. He says he felt indebted to those who preceded him and earned the rights, freedom and privileges he now enjoys. “My story chronicles the hardships and challenges experienced by the early Chinese immigrants to Canada and the United States.”

GRAD DONATES $10,000 TO VIC HIGH’S SCIENCE PROGRAM   Dr. Stewart Smith (VHS 1955), a celebrated particle physicist at Princeton University, has donated $10,000 (US) to Vic High’s science program. Click here to read the report by King Lee (VHS 1958)

CROSS-CULTURAL COOKING SHOW STARS VIC HIGH GRAD  First Nations musician and foodie Art Napoleon (VHS 1979) and classically trained chef Dan Hayes bring a unique blend of talent and humour to Moosemeat and Marmalade on the Aboriginal Peoples Television Network. Click here to read the Times Colonist article (24 September 2016).

INSPECTOR COSWELL ON THE CASE AGAIN  NeWest Press has announced that a new Inspector Coswell mystery, entitled The Extra Cadaver Murder, will be published in late October 2016. This is the fourth in a series featuring this RCMP sleuth, following Murder in the Monashees (2005), West End Murders (2008), and Murder in the Chilcotin (2010). The series author is Roy Innes (VHS 1957), who discovered a passion for writing after he retired from a distinguished career as an ophthalmologist and surgeon. You can meet the author at a launch to be held at the Gabriola Island Library at 1 pm on Saturday November 5.

NEW BOOK BY VIC HIGH GRAD SHEDS LIGHT ON FIRST NATIONS’ DAY SCHOOLS  Dr. Helen Raptis (VHS 1980), formerly Associate Dean of Education at UVic, has written a new book in cooperation with several members of the Tsimshian Nation near Prince Rupert. The book, entitled What We Learned: Two Generations Reflect on Tsimshian Education and the Day Schools (UBC Press, 2016), sheds new light on both traditional education and formal schooling received by Tsimshian children in northwestern British Columbia. Click here to read the Times Colonist review (11 September 2016).

HISTORY OF CFB ESQUIMALT PUBLISHED BY FORMER ALUMNI CHAIR  Dr. Barry Gough (VHS 1956), former Chair of the Vic High Alumni Association, has added another new book to his very long list of military histories of Canada. Britannia’s Navy on the West Coast of North America, 1812-1914 (Heritage House, 2016) chronicles the important role that the navy base at Esquimalt played in global politics of the British Empire. Click here to read a feature in Lookout, the newspaper of CFB Esquimalt (22 August 2016).

THE PASSING OF YOSHIO (YON) SHIMIZU (1924 – 2016 ) In April 1942, this popular Grade 12 student pleaded to graduate with his Vic High classmates, but his request was denied and he was transported to a Japanese internment camp. Click here to read this touching story by King Lee (VHS 1958).

FORMER VIC HIGH TEACHER WAS YOUNGEST AT 1936 OLYMPICS  On the 80th anniversary of the famous Berlin Olympiad, our tireless contributor King Lee (VHS 1958) brings us this story about the youngest Canadian athlete at the games — who later became a teacher at Vic High. Click here to read King’s new introduction to the story that was originally published in the Globe and Mail in 2012.

 VICTORIA-AREA AUTHOR JAZZED ABOUT BC HISTORY’S FUTURE  Historian and author Barry Gough (VHS 1956), outgoing chair of the Vic High Alumni Association, is the new honorary president of the B.C. Historical Federation. Click here to read the story in the Goldstream News Gazette (3 June 2016).

VIC HIGH STUDENTS GO DOWN THE GARDEN PATH  Energetic young Vic High teacher Asha Rao is developing a new garden program that is bringing together students and the community while teaching nutrition and leadership skills. Click here to read the Times Colonist story (18 May 2016).

BARRY GOUGH REFLECTS ON WRITING HIS BOOK ABOUT VIC HIGH AND THE GREAT WAR  In May 2016, the journal Canadian Military History published an article by Dr. Barry Gough, chair of the Vic High Alumni Association, that reflects on his experiences writing the book From Classroom to Battlefield: Victoria High School and the First World WarClick here to read the full article.

VHS ALUMNI CHAIR CAPTURES PRESTIGIOUS BRITISH PRIZE  Dr. Barry Gough, Chair of the Victoria High School Alumni Association, has won the prestigious Mountbatten Award from the London-based Maritime Foundation for his book Pax Britannica: Ruling the Waves and Keeping the Peace before Armageddon (Palgrave Macmillan, 2014). Gough is the first Canadian to win this honour. Click here to read the full article.

VIC HIGH GRAD PUBLISHES NEW BOOK ON SEMINAL BC ARTISTS  The award-winning Canadian historian Dr. Maria Tippett (VHS 1962) has written a new book on some of British Columbia’s most influential 20th century culture makers, including aboriginal artist Bill Reid, architect Arthur Erickson, and playwright George Ryga.  Click here to read more about this book.

VICTORIA HIGH SCHOOL’S GREAT WAR BANNER This memorial banner was prominent during the celebrations of the Bay Street Armoury’s 100th anniversary celebration (November 2015). Click here to read the story and click here to see more photos of this unique historical artifact, now almost 100 years old.

NEW TRACK/STADIUM FUNDRAISING KICKS INTO HIGH GEAR The Vic High Stadium Revitalization project hit the papers again with this article in the Times Colonist (7 April 2015). For further information on the project, click on Support Us above.

RAVE REVIEW FOR NEW BOOK ON VIC HIGH The journal BC Studies has published a terrific review of Barry Gough’s book From Classroom to Battlefield: Victoria High School and the First World War. Click here to read the review. To buy a hardcover edition of the book at a special Alumni rate of $30, visit the Vic High Archives (Room 100, just inside the Girls Entrance) any Tuesday morning that school is in session. For further information on the book, click on Support Us above.

TEACHER’S LEGACY IS BEING REBORN AT VICTORIA HIGH SCHOOL TRACK Click here to read the Times Colonist Islander story (15 March 2015), written by Barrie Moen (VHS 1969) and King Lee (VHS 1958).

DISTINGUISHED VIC HIGH ARTIST IS MONEY IN THE BANK The Royal Canadian Mint has recently released a $10 silver coin based on a design by renowned artist Richard Hunt (VHS 1971) — the third time that his work has been honoured in this way. Click here to read the Times Colonist story (12 March 2015). Last May, Richard was one of four amazing grads honoured by the Vic High Alumni Association at our first-ever Distinguished Alumni dinner; click here for details. A second such dinner is planned for 2016.

MIKE GALLO (1943-2015), TEACHER AND COACH Mike Gallo (VHS 1961) was loved and revered as both an elementary school teacher and a nationally recognized basketball coach. Click here to read the Times Colonist article (8 February 2015), and click here for a tribute written by Alumni board member King Lee.

TWO VIC HIGH GRADS HONOURED BY UVIC Author David Day (VHS 1966), with some 40 books to his credit, was recently honoured as one of UVic’s Distinguished Alumni for 2015. For a brief bio as posted by UVic, click here and then click on University Libraries. David was recently in Victoria to attend this event and to give a lecture on his new book Decoding Wonderland: Ancient Wisdom, a Forbidden Education and Real-Life Drama in Lewis Carroll’s Aliceclick here for the Times Colonist preview on his lecture. Honoured at the same event was Anne Tenning (VHS 1993), who was a Vic High staff member when she was recognized with a Governor General’s Award for Excellence in Teaching Canadian History. This achievement was featured in the Spring 2009 issue of the Alumni newsletter, and is commemorated with a photo displayed in Vic High’s main hall. For a brief bio, click here and then click on Education.

Roger Skillings, former Chair of the Victoria High School Alumni Association, was one of five Victorians recently presented with the Caring Canadian Award by Lieutenant-Governor Judith Guichon at the Pacific Institute for Sports Excellence. To read more click here.  To see photos click here

DR. BARRY GOUGH RECEIVES PRESTIGIOUS AWARD Dr. Barry Gough, Vic High grad, teacher and current chair of the Vic High Alumni Association has been honoured for his work as a Victoria maritime historian. He was presented with the prestigious 2014 SS Beaver Medal for Maritime Excellence. To read this story click here

NEW BOOK ON VIC HIGH GETS RAVE REVIEW Dr. Barry Gough, chair of the Vic High Alumni Association, unveiled his latest book, From Classroom to Battlefield: Victoria High School and the First World War, following the school’s annual Remembrance Day assembly on 10 November 2014. In a review published the previous day, Times Colonist Editor-in-Chief Dave Obee calls the book “superb” and “fascinating.” He concludes: “This is a powerful, well-written book … if you want to read a single book about the Great War, this is the one to read.” To see a copy of this review, click here. The book was also the subject of a lengthy preview article in the Times Colonist (4 May 2014). Click here to read the feature on Barry and the book. A limited hardcover Alumni edition, embossed with the Vic High crest, is now available for purchase ($30, including taxes)  – a wonderful gift for history buffs and Vic High grads and supporters. This limited special edition will also be available for purchase through the Alumni Association (contact ).

CREATION OF VIC HIGH MULTI-PURPOSE SPORTS FACILITY The Vic High Alumni Association, with the outstanding help of Victoria City Councillor Marianne Alto and District 61 School Trustee Tom Ferris, is working with the school toward a massive upgrade of the school’s stadium and soccer field. Thanks to Marianne’s leadership in securing up to $250,000 in matching funds from the city, and to Tom’s leadership in assuring the provision of the additional property needed, Vic High is now ready to start a consultative process with the community. Three public consultation meetings were held at the school in the Lawrie Wallace Auditorium in the autumn of 2014.

HUGH CURTIS, 1932-2014 Greater Victoria recently mourned the passing of Hugh Curtis (VHS 1950), former Saanich mayor and BC finance minister. He was a man with friends of all political stripes, and a great supporter of the Vic High Alumni Association. Click here to read the Times Colonist editorial (30 May 2014). Mr. Curtis’s first foray into public service, when he was still a Vic High student, was a “pint parade” to boost blood donations to the Red Cross. Click here to read the online article by veteran journalist Jim Hume.

THAT CHAMPIONSHIP SEASON Vic High’s first BC basketball champs, the 1959 Totems, held a reunion recently as part of the 100th anniversary celebrations of the Vic High building. Click here to read the Times Colonist feature (18 May 2014). For more background on this team, click on Bulletins at right.

NEW FILM TELLS STORY OF VIC HIGH GRAD Howard Lim (VHS 1958) was the first Chinese-Canadian boy ever to work as a page in the provincial legislature. He later became Vic High’s student council president, and earned a doctorate in psychology at Stanford. But strangely, he was murdered in New York City in 1995. Click here to read the Times Colonist story about a new documentary film made by his niece Carolyn Wong (6 March 2014).

VHS GRAD HELPING TO REBUILD IRAQ Tomas Ernst (VHS ’96) is working for the European Union, helping to rebuild government institutions since the fall of Saddam Hussein. Click here to read his editorial in the Times Colonist about the challenges he faces and the hope he holds for the future (9 November 2013).

GRAD GIRLS OF 2014 RE-ENACT 100-YEAR-OLD PHOTO To inaugurate the present Vic High building’s centennial year, this year’s Grade 12 girls re-enacted a photo from 1914 — and the Times Colonist printed both photos side by side! Click here to see the photos and read the story (11 September 2013).

VHS GRAD BECOMES VICE PRES OF PRINCETON PARTICLE PHYSICS LAB A.J. Stewart Smith (VHS ’56), former head of the Physics Department at Princeton University, will move from his present position as Dean of Research to a new job as vice president of the Princeton Particle Physics Laboratory. Click here to see a recent bio from Princeton.

VIC HIGH APPLYING FOR DESIGNATION AS NATIONAL HISTORIC SITE The Alumni Association is applying to Parks Canada to have Vic High designated a National Historic Site. At its meeting on February 12, the School Board voted unanimously to support this initiative. Click here to read the Times Colonist story (19 February 2013). It includes commentary from school principal Randi Falls, school trustee Tom Ferris, and architect Alan Lowe, who has served both as Prime Minister of Vic High’s Student Parliament and as Mayor of Victoria.

VIC HIGH GRAD NOMINATED FOR PRESTIGIOUS FICTION AWARD The debut novel of Marjorie Celona (VHS ’98), entitled simply Y,  is one of 14 books named to the longlist for the 2012 Scotiabank Giller Prize.  Click here to read the Times Colonist story (9 September 2012). For more information on the author and her publications, visit The annual Scotiabank Giller Prize is Canada’s most distinguished literary prize. The winning author receives $50,000, while those named to the shortlist receive $5000 each. For more information, visit

TRIBUTE TO VIC HIGH TEACHERS Alumni chair Barry Gough (VHS ’56) recently came upon a wonderful tribute to Vic High teachers of the 1920s in the autobiography The Life of Bent Gestur Sivertz: A Seaman, a Teacher, and a Worker in the Canadian Arctic (2000). Sivertz wrote: “We were fortunate to have received the responsible and scholarly attention of the finest group of teachers any school could have. We felt proud that we had contributed to building the qualities of decency and high principles that had been established in the 1890s by greats in education: Dr. E.B. Paul, Dr. S.J. Willis and Miss Jeanette Cann. Dr. Howard Russel taught Mathematics, stimulating us with feats of mental arithmetic of which I have never seen the equal. Ira Dilworth taught English with a passion that has stayed with me these 75 years. By casting me in the part of Polonius in Shakespeare’s Hamlet, I was encouraged to learn the great words and even greater treasure of principles those words express (“This above all, – to thine own self be true; And it must follow, as the night the day, Thou cans’t not then be false to any man.”).” Sivertz went on to become Commissioner of the Northwest Territories. His brother, Sergeant Henry George Sivertz, also a VHS graduate, died in battle at Cambrai, France, age 25, 29 September 1918. He was recipient of the Military Medal and two Bars.

ART HISTORIAN EXTRAORDINAIRE Art historian Kerry Mason (VHS ’67) is well known for her expertise on Emily Carr and for her broad range of teaching. She credits influences at Vic High for kick-starting her career: click here to read the Times Colonist profile (21 July 2012).

VIC HIGH’S “GREAT WAR PROJECT” TO BE FEATURED AT THE CANADIAN WAR MUSEUM Dr. Barry Gough, Chair of the Vic High Alumni Association, will be unveiling the Association’s groundbreaking Great War Project in Ottawa in December 2012. Barry will share the stage with some of Canada’s foremost historians, including Desmond Morton and J.L. Granatstein, at the 5th National History Forum, to be held at the Canadian War Museum. The Forum will be attended by groups of classroom educators, community organizations, museums and public historians from across the country. Its organizers believe that Vic High’s Great War Project will inspire many of them in their own teaching activities and community projects. Deborah Morrison, Director of Canada’s History Society, notes that this Vic High initiative can provide some very practical examples of the best practices that are being advanced in Canada to commemorate the experience of war and remembrance. Entitled “How Should the Great War Be Remembered ?”, the 5th National History Forum will be held on 9 December 2012, in association with the Governor General’s History Awards. For further details on Vic High’s Great War Project, click on History at the top of this screen.

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.

INTERNMENT OF JAPANESE CANADIANS FELT AT VIC HIGH On the 70th anniversary of this terrible injustice, it’s comforting to note that students at the time (including those at Vic High) behaved better than their civic leaders. As a school board trustee noted in 1942, “to date there have been no signs of anti-Japanese feelings in our schools. This is to the credit of our boys and girls and to the credit of the Japanese children, whose conduct is exemplary.” The case of Vic High student Yon Shimizu is part of the Times Colonist article (26 February 2012): click here to read it.

VICTORIA ARTIST HOME FOR A HOLIDAY VISIT Starting in Victoria’s Chinatown in the 1970s, artist Kerry Joe Kelly (VHS ’64) has developed an international reputation for his glass installations. He now serves a broad-based clientele from his home in Portugal. Click here to read the Times Colonist article (7 January 2012).

RIGHTING A HISTORIC WRONG In April 1942, just two months before his graduation day, Japanese-Canadian student Yon Shimizu was pulled out of Vic High and sent to an internment camp in Ontario. Your Alumni Association is currently working with school and district staff to award Mr. Shimizu his diploma this June — 70 years later! Click here to read the Globe and Mail article (27 December 2011), and click here to read the journalist’s blog on this fascinating story.

VIC HIGH GRAD A HERO IN CHINA Medical missionary Dr. Victoria Chung (VHS ’16) is far better known in China than in her home town of Victoria. A bronze statue of Dr. Chung in the Jiangmen Central Hospital pays tribute to her trailblazing achievements. Click here to read the Times Colonist article of 23 October 2011.

VIC HIGH MEMORIAL TREES REPLANTED A row of memorial trees along the school’s Vining Street entrance, originally planted during World War I, was replanted and re-dedicated in a public ceremony on November 10, 2011. Click here to read the Times Colonist story (28 September 2011). Click here to view photos of the re-dedication ceremony.

VIC HIGH STUDENT HONOURED FOR RIGHTS EFFORTS Vic High’s heritage includes a long tradition of embracing cultural diversity. Here is a current example, featuring a Vic High student from the Philippines who recently received a prestigious award. Click here to read the Times Colonist story (14 October 2011) and click here to read the Globe and Mail story.

NEW FAIREY TECH OPENS Over 200 people attended the Open House on June 25, 2011, to bid farewell to the old Fairey Tech building. The event was hosted by current and past Fairey Tech staff and supported by the Alumni Association. Click here to see CHEK TV’s coverage of the Open House and click here to see coverage filmed by A News. A new wing to replace Fairey Tech, located on the former playing field north of the Andrews (New) Gym, opened in September 2011, and the old Fairey Tech building has been demolished. Click here for a brief history of Fairey Tech and Col. F.T. Fairey.

TOMMY MAYNE IN THE NEWS AGAIN Vic High grad and longtime teacher Tommy Mayne recently made a generous donation to fund a new theatre apprenticeship program for Victoria’s Blue Bridge Repertory Theatre. Click here to read the story from the Times Colonist (9 June 2011).

R & B BAND ROCKS Vic High’s music program has made us all proud with the renown of the Rhythm & Blues Band. This remarkable group of students, under the direction of teacher Eric Emde, has made a mark for themselves in Victoria and beyond. The band has formed a special relationship with Motown Legend Martha Reeves. That relationship is featured in a recent documentary called Motown High. A one-hour version was broadcast on Bravo: click here to read the story. More information is available on the Vic High R&B Band’s website. Or click here to read the Times Colonist review of the band’s concert with Martha Reeves at Victoria’s Royal Theatre.

FAIREY TECH VOLUNTEER Globe and Mail columnist Roy MacGregor wrote a fascinating story about one volunteer’s commitment to Vic High and the difference that he is making in students’ lives. Read the story (PDF 18kb)