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.

Click here to read Peter Smith’s photo and text history book of Vic High – Come Give A CheerOr here for a 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 Alumni Chair Barry Gough, the project involved alumni volunteers, students and teachers. 

Student website Vic High and the Great War

Student-produced video Vic High in the Great War

Project information

From Classroom to Battlefield, written by Gough, available in Victoria bookstores

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. Found in the school basement in 2006, it is unfurled from the school’s top floor as part of Vic High’s heartfelt student-led Remembrance Day ceremonies.

Read more.

Engaging Stories, Curious Finds

…like the Secret Sixty, 1986 A Day in the Life of Vic High: A Brief (Video) History of Vic High.

Check out Vic High Stories for so many more.

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.