The present Vic High building opened in 1914, the same year that the Great War began, and its early years were dominated by Canada’s coming-of-age in that unprecedented conflict. Students cultivated a “victory garden” where the grass hockey field is now, and many students and teachers joined up and went overseas. The beautiful war memorials in Vic High’s main hall always impress visitors to the school.
As the 100th anniversary of the war approached, there was an upsurge of interest in Vic High’s wartime experiences. In 2012 our avenue of memorial trees, originally planted in 1917, was replanted and rededicated. That same year, we were honoured to present a graduation certificate to one of school’s Japanese-Canadian students who had been denied this opportunity in 1942. (See stories in both our newsletter and bulletin dated Spring 2012, under the News tab above.)
The Alumni Association’s “Great War Project” was launched in 2013 by Dr. Barry Gough, the Association’s chair and an eminent Canadian historian, at a national conference in Ottawa. Here is a video of his presentation.
The Great War Project culminated in book, published in November 2014, titled From Classroom to Battlefield: Victoria High School and the First World War, written by Barry Gough. Digital and print editions are now available: for further information, click on the “New Book” link at the right of this screen.
Dr. Barry Gough is a Vic High grad (VHS 1956) who returned to the school as a teacher in 1960s. Barry later established an impressive career teaching Canadian history at Wilfrid Laurier University, before retiring to Victoria in 2004. He has published many books on Canadian history, mostly in the area of maritime history. His recent books include Fortune’s a River: The Collision of Empires in Northwest America (2007) and Juan de Fuca’s Strait: Voyages in the Waterway of Forgotten Dreams (2012).