Vic High History… 1876 and Counting

Victoria High School is the oldest public high school in western Canada. It opened on August 7, 1876, with an enrollment of 12 girls and 22 boys.

It has had four successive homes: a log cabin with two classrooms, then two successive brick buildings, all on the grounds of what is now Central Middle School. In 1914, the current building on Grant Street was opened. In 2020 major seismic upgrades to this building began, and will complete in 2023.

Here’s 3 ways to learn more about Vic High’s history –

Come Give A Cheer. Text and photo book written by Peter Smith, VHS 1949, about Vic High’s first 100 years.

Victoria  Genealogical Society’s 2021 Summer newsletter with Vic High history article and photos by Denis Johnston, VHS 1967. Plus 2nd article about researching in the Vic High Archives & Museum.

Or here for a quick one-page summary article about Vic High’s history.

Vic High Camosuns

Vic High students began publishing the Camosun in December 1905 as a bi-monthly magazine, moving to an annual yearbook format in 1928. We are indebted to Class of 1969 alumni Shirley (Beecham) Kasper for scanning the Archives & Museum’s collection, and Eric Earl for converting each one into a viewable document. Some in the folder were obtained from UVic, whose collection overlaps with ours.

Please email Archives & Museum if you have any missing Camosuns you’re willing to donate, or loan for scanning and a quick return to you. Click Here for available Camosuns.

The Great War Project

Vic High’s history is inextricably linked to World War 1, when 500 students, recent graduates, and teachers left Vic High to fight.  Many did not return.  Led by former Vic High student and teacher, prominent historian, and  Vic High Alumni Chair  at the time, Barry Gough, the project involved alumni volunteers, students and teachers.

Student website:  Vic High and the Great War

Student-produced video: Vic High and the Great War

Project information

From Classroom to Battlefield, written by Barry Gough, available in Victoria bookstores or on Amazon.

One of the school’s prized artifacts is a 30’ long Great War Banner, created in 1920 to commemorate Vic High students, teachers, and nursing sisters who served in World War I. Found in the school basement in 2004, it is unfurled from the school’s top floor as part of Vic High’s heartfelt student-led Remembrance Day ceremonies. Read more.

Vic High’s Numerous War Memorials Featured on Veterans Affairs Website

Seven unique war memorials at Vic High are now featured on Veterans Affairs Canada’s website as part of their Military Memorials in Canada listings. Search here on BC and Victoria, and go to listings 59021-032 to 038.

Engaging Stories, Curious Finds

So many stories, so little time. Every month we add new stories to our Vic High Stories page, including profiles of former students, current students, historical finds, the Big Seismic Upgrade of 2020-2023, the crazy goings-on back in the day that we can now share…you get the idea. Enjoy!

History of the Vic High Archives & Museum

It all started in 1974 when a Centennial Celebration Committee (CCC) was formed by then-principal Duncan Lorimer and chaired by Laurie Wallace (1930) to oversee the big 100 year celebration of Victoria High School….

Full story here

BC Archives Vic High Collection

Collection of Victoria High School History from BC Archives: click here

Photo Gallery

Click here for assorted photos. We’ll be adding more regularly.