Victoria College Craigdarroch Castle Alumni Association Bursaries


This bursary arose from “forerunners” or alumni of the first location of students who attended Victoria College, later to become the University of Victoria.

First year college courses were given in Victoria in 1903 in affiliation with McGill University in Montreal.  Four years later, some second year courses were added.  During the years from 1903 to 1915 the Principal of Victoria College and the professors were teachers at Victoria High School, who taught the college courses on a part-time basis in rooms at the High School.  Over these years about two hundred students attended, equally men and women.  Two of the men who continued their studies at McGill became Rhodes Scholars on graduation.

In 1915 College courses in Victoria were discontinued, since in that year the University of British Columbia was inaugurated in Vancouver.  In the fall of 1920, first and second year courses were begun again, but with the College being affiliated with the University of British Columbia.  After one year in Victoria High School the College moved to Craigdarroch Castle where it remained for twenty-five years.  In 1921 enrollment was one hundred, and by the 1930’s had gradually increased to over two hundred students, one-third being in second year.

Laboratory periods for Physics and Chemistry were held at Victoria High School, while those for Biology and Zoology took place in a small hut that had been built on the Castle grounds for craft work when the Castle was a Veteran’s Hospital.

The Castle never was a student residence.  It was used for classrooms, offices, club rooms and social activities.  Some dances were held in the beautiful drawing room and a Glee Club sometimes found students sitting on the Castle stairs.  Off-campus facilities were used for basketball, grass hockey, rugby and other sports.

From the mid-1930s on, enrollment was fairly steady until the Fall of 1945 when over two hundred veterans of World War II arrived.  The total of 500 was much too large and constituted a fire hazard.  Plans to move took over a year and by then, the 1946 class was 650 students.  The President of the Student’s Council led a parade from the Castle to the Parliament Buildings.  An agreement was made for the College to move to the Provincial Normal School.  This building was now available, after having served as a military hospital.  Facilities there were shared with staff and students of the Normal School.

In 1963 the College became the University of Victoria, which now is a very vibrant institution with over 19,000 full and part-time undergraduate and graduate students. The alumni of the VCCCAA maintain an active association and love to hear from current students, who benefit from the bursary set up in the name of the former alma mater.

Return to Index