The Art of Our Camosuns

The Art of Our Camosuns

by Ronnie Lowe, VHS 1968

Meaningful and creative artwork has been a part of many Camosun yearbooks over the years, encouraged and developed by students and staff. Numerous cover designs and interior artwork starting with the first Camosun in 1905 and continuing to the 2000s, included constructive, imaginative, and thoughtful artwork. Many art illustrations and sketches helped the staff and students to visually appreciate more fully their many special curricular and extra curricular school moments at Vic High.

For example, the 1968 Camosun cover was designed so the numbers 68 stood out from the cover. It was a very creative way to highlight the school year and a very interesting departure from a cover with a flat surface. And inside the Camosun, the Fine Arts department described itself this way:

“Education through visual experience, and painting in the basic concepts of visual communication, are general aims of the art department under the direction of Mr. Hemming. Transmission and reception of ideas through all media relying on visual senses will result in greater clarity of expression and will eventually become a truly international language.”

The 2002 Camosun cover shows a very colourful illustration of a drop of water about to fall into the bluish and yellow water swirling below. It sends a meaningful message which relates to our school motto, also shown on the cover, and was created by student Caitlin Quigley. The new drop of water seems to represent our effort, which will affect the current ripples in the water as powerfully as the impact of our personal, educational, spiritual, and social perspectives on the world around us. We are confident that our perspectives will have a constructive impact on our personal world, and this is our reward. The cover of this Camosun is a very meaningful one where Caitlin’s art reinforced the significance of our Vic High motto: Palma Non Sine Pulvere / No Reward Without Effort.

I’ve chosen just two Camosun covers to highlight above, but I encourage you to peruse any and all of our Vic High Camosuns, available here on this website. The heart and creativity of Vic High students shines through on every cover, an assurance that art will continue to be an essential part of the Vic High experience and of each year’s very memorable Camosun yearbook.

And from the Archives & Museum Volunteers

The Camosuns are the most important items in the Vic High Archives and Museum. From 1905 until 1927, Camosuns were published every month throughout the year. The Vic High Archives collection includes as many of these as have been donated or are available. The  University of Victoria Archives has a collection of these as well, and scanned copies of their collection are included on this website. UVic was founded in 1903 within the Victoria High School’s third building at Yates and Fernwood, then occupied the fourth floor of the 1914 Grant Street Building. UVic is the oldest post-secondary institution in BC.

Starting in 1928, the Vic High Camosuns became an annual publication. They chronicle the life of Vic High and our students, and become each year’s definitive record of Vic High life that year. Two Preservation Camosuns representing every available month and year are stored in acid-free archival boxes in the Vic High Archives and Museum, and are never touched. In addition, two Research Camosuns are available on the Archives shelves, and surplus copies, where available, can be obtained from the Archives.

The Vic High Archives and Museum and its 10,000-item collections are located on the Main Floor, east side, in Room 123. The collections were first gathered up and accessioned starting in 1975 by Vic High 1942 alumna and Vic High teacher, Faith Reimer, after whom the rooms were named. Her son, Derek Reimer, is a 1965 Vic High alumnus, and he and his mother are featured in a story on this website.  Derek Reimer, VHS 1965 A Family Legacy in Education and History – Victoria High School Alumni Association (