University of Victoria

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University of Victoria
UVic CoA.svg
Latin: Universitas Victoriensis
Former names
Victoria College
Motto"Multitudo sapientium sanitas orbis" (Latin)
"יְהִי אוֹר" (Hebrew)
Motto in English
"A multitude of the wise is the health of the world"
"Let there be light"
TypePublic university
EstablishedJuly 1, 1963; 57 years ago (1963-07-01)[note 1][1]
Endowment$470 million (2019)[2]
ChancellorShelagh Rogers[3]
PresidentJamie Cassels[4]
ProvostValerie Kuehne[5]
Academic staff
914 faculty[6]
Administrative staff
5,251 employees [7]
Location, ,
CampusUrban, 163 hectares (403 acres)
Colours     Red
AffiliationsAUCC, IAU, CUSID, CBIE, Canadian University Press
University of Victoria Logo and Wordmark.svg

The University of Victoria (UVic or Victoria) is a public research university in Victoria, British Columbia, Canada, located in the municipalities of Oak Bay and Saanich. It was founded in 1903 as Victoria College, the first institution of higher learning in British Columbia. Originally affiliated to McGill University, it operated as a college till 1963 when it was reorganized as the University of Victoria.[8][9] UVic has consistently been ranked amongst the best comprehensive universities in Canada.[10][11]

Its campus is situated 7 km north of downtown Victoria and is spread over 403 acres.[12] In 2010, the university acquired the six-hectare Queenswood campus from the Sisters of St. Ann and converted it into a national laboratory. UVic also has an offsite study center at the Jeanne S. Simpson Field Studies Resource Center in Lake Cowichan. The Legacy Art Gallery on Yates Street and a proposed redevelopment on Broad Street make up the properties owned by the university in downtown Victoria. It operates nine academic faculties and schools including the Peter B. Gustavson School of Business.

UVic hosts many many leading research institutes, including Ocean Networks Canada's deep-water seafloor research observatories VENUS and NEPTUNE, the Pacific Institute for Climate Solutions, and two Environment Canada labs: the Canadian Center for Climate Modelling and Analysis and the Water and Climate Impacts Research Centre.[13][14][15][16] The Ocean Climate Building housed at the Queenswood location is dedicated solely to ocean and climate research.[17] The Institute of Integrated Energy Systems is a leading center for research on sustainable energy solutions and alternative energy sources.[18] The University of Victoria is also home to Canada's first and only Indigenous Law degree program along with dedicated research centers for Indigenous and Environmental law.[19][20]

Based in the capital city of British Columbia, the university has educated many prominent jurists and politicians including Jody Wilson-Raybould, Rona Ambrose, and Russell Brown.[21][22] In recent years, the university counts amongst its alumni the founders of several leading technology companies, including Flickr, Slack, and Hootsuite.[23] UVic alumni and faculty have also worked on Nobel Prize winning research teams. As of 2020, 7 Guggenheim Fellows, 2 Killiam Prize winners, 14 members of the Order of Canada, 11 Rhodes Scholars and 79 Fellows of the Royal Society of Canada have been affiliated with the university.[24][25][26][27]


The University of Victoria is the oldest post-secondary institution in British Columbia, established in 1903 as an affiliated college of McGill University before gaining full autonomy through a charter on July 1, 1963.[28] Victoria College, which had been established in 1903 as an affiliated college of McGill University, gained autonomy and full degree granting status on March 1, 1963.[29] The non-denominational university had enjoyed 60 years of prior teaching tradition at the university level as Victoria College. This 60 years of history may be viewed conveniently in three distinct stages.

Between the years 1903 and 1915, Victoria College was affiliated with McGill University, offering first- and second-year McGill courses in Arts and Science.[30] Administered locally by the Victoria School Board, the College was an adjunct to Victoria High School and shared its facilities. Both institutions were under the direction of a single Principal: E.B. Paul, 1903–1908; and S.J. Willis, 1908–1915.

The second incarnation of Victoria College, was housed in Craigdarroch Castle from 1921 to 1946

The opening in 1915 of the University of British Columbia, established by Act of Legislature in 1908, obliged the college to suspend operations in higher education in Victoria. University of British Columbia was created in 1908. A single, public provincial university, it was modeled on the American state university, with an emphasis on extension work and applied research. The governance was modeled on the provincial University of Toronto Act of 1906 which established a bicameral system of university government consisting of a senate (faculty), responsible for academic policy, and a board of governors (citizens) exercising exclusive control over financial policy and having formal authority in all other matters. The president, appointed by the board, was to provide a link between the two bodies and to perform institutional leadership.[28]

In 1920, as a result of local demands, Victoria College began the second stage of its development, reborn in affiliation with the University of British Columbia.[30] Though still administered by the Victoria School Board, the college was now completely separated from Victoria High School, moving in 1921 into the magnificent Dunsmuir mansion known as Craigdarroch Castle. Over the next two decades, under Principals E.B. Paul and P.H. Elliott, Victoria College built a reputation for thorough and scholarly instruction in first- and second-year arts and science. It was also during this period that future author Pierre Berton edited and served as principal cartoonist for the student newsletter, The Microscope. Between the years 1921-1944, the enrolment at Victoria College did not very often reach above 250. However, in 1945, 128 servicemen returned from World War II. This pushed enrolment up to 400, and in 1946; 600.[31]

The Young building at Camosun College housed Victoria College, and its successor institution, the University of Victoria, from 1946 to 1967

The final stage, between the years 1945 and 1963, saw the transition from two-year college to university, under Principals J.M. Ewing and W.H. Hickman.[30] During this period, the college was governed by the Victoria College Council, representative of the parent University of British Columbia, the Greater Victoria School Board, and the provincial Department of Education. Physical changes were many. In 1946 the college was forced by postwar enrolment to move from Craigdarroch to the Lansdowne campus of the Provincial Normal School, the current location of Camosun College's Lansdowne Campus. The Normal School, itself an institution with a long and honourable history, joined Victoria College in 1956 as its Faculty of Education. Late in this transitional period (through the co-operation of the Department of National Defence and the Hudson's Bay Company) the 284-acre (1,1 km²)--now 385-acre (1.6 km²)--campus at Gordon Head was acquired. Academic expansion was rapid after 1956, until in 1961 the college, still in affiliation with UBC, awarded its first bachelor's degrees.

In the early part of this century, professional education expanded beyond the traditional fields of theology, law and medicine. Graduate training based on the German-inspired American model of specialized course work and the completion of a research thesis was introduced.[28] The policy of university education initiated in the 1960s responded to population pressure and the belief that higher education was a key to social justice and economic productivity for individuals and for society.[28]

The university gained its full autonomy in 1963 as the University of Victoria.[30] The University Act of 1963 vested administrative authority in a chancellor elected by the convocation of the university, a board of governors, and a president appointed by the board; academic authority was given to the senate which was representative both of the faculties and of the convocation.

University of Victoria's Arms were registered with the Canadian Heraldic Authority on April 3, 2001.[32] The historical traditions of the university are reflected in the coat of arms, its academic regalia and its house flag. The BA hood is of solid red, a colour that recalls the early affiliation with McGill, as do the martlets in the coat of arms. The BSc hood, of gold, and the BEd hood, of blue, show the colours of the University of British Columbia. Blue and gold have been retained as the official colours of the University of Victoria. The motto at the top of the Arms of the University, in Hebrew characters, is "Let there be Light"; the motto at the bottom, in Latin, is "A Multitude of the Wise is the Health of the World."

Department of Political Science Chilly Climate Report

On May 11, 1992, the Department of Political Science created the Committee to Make the Department More Supportive to Women as a response to concerns regarding experiences of graduate and undergraduate students.[33] The committee was made up of five female undergraduate students and Dr. Somer Brodribb, an untenured professor working in the Department.[34] Later, this Committee was unofficially called the “Chilly Climate” or Climate Committee within the department.[35] “Chilly Climate” is a term used by the Project on the Status and Education of Women. A preliminary report published by the Climate Committee to the Department of Political Science on March 23, 1993 which looked at the experience of both faculty and students at University of Victoria issued recommendations that, in their eyes, would make the department more hospitable to female students while also highlighting the experiences of female students which the committee found troubling.[33] These recommendations included the establishment of a committee for addressing issues that were raised in the report, the creation of formal policies addressing race and gender discrimination, and workshops for faculty on race and gender issues in the classroom environment.[33] Notably, the preliminary report also highlighted the importance of including classroom content from feminist perspectives and more texts authored by female scholars.[33]

In response to this report, the tenured professors of political science department Robert Bedeski, Colin Bennett, Ron Cheffins, Warren Magusson, Terry Morley, Norman Ruff, Rob Walker, and Jeremy Wilson challenged what they perceived to be slander from Dr. Brodribb, who chaired the Committee.[35] They requested that Dr. Brodribb allow an investigation into the allegations of sexist behaviour in the Chilly Climate report.[36] Dr. Bodribb refused, stating that this went against the agreement her committee made with the women interviewed and could expose them to further discrimination.[34] If the evidence was not handed over the tenured professors requested a complete withdrawal of the statements made in the Chilly Climate report and an apology that would be distributed to all those who saw the report.[36] They also mentioned seeking further action if Dr. Brodribb did neither of these things.[36] To review documents related to the report, one can go to the University of Victoria Libraries Special Collections.

A review committee was established by University of Victoria President David Strong, requesting advice from lawyers Beth Bilson and Thomas R. Berger to assist in evaluating the climate of the political science department.[37] They published a report in August 1993, which included recommendations that University of Victoria President David Strong later endorsed.[37]

Campus and grounds

With a total area of 403 acres (163 ha) on its main site alone, the campus lies on the border between the municipalities of Oak Bay and Saanich, divided almost perfectly down the centre of campus (with the northeast half being located in Saanich and the southwest half in Oak Bay). This municipal boundary is marked and commemorated by undermount plates and a bronze line near the main quadrangle. Despite its name, no part of the university's main campus is located in the City of Victoria proper. The campus is several hundred feet from the Pacific Ocean at Cadboro Bay.

The campus of the University of Victoria was originally designed by American architectural firm of Wurster, Bernardi & Emmons, which had previously achieved fame for having completed major buildings at Stanford University and UC Berkeley. The principles and concept of the original design are still being followed, with the academic portions of the campus located inside the Ring Road, forming a perfect circle 600 m (1,969 ft) in diameter. This academic ring is a distinctive feature of the University of Victoria and was intended to foster interaction, intellectual sharing, and collaboration. The area outside of Ring Road hosts important parts of the university, including the residential colleges (now residence halls), Student Union Buildings, sports facilities, as well as some of the newer academic facilities which have expanded outwards in recent years (The Faculties of Law and Theatre for example).[38]

The following is a list of prominent buildings on the University of Victoria campus:[39]

The Cunningham Building houses the Department of Biology as well as the Centre for Forest Biology.
First Peoples House serves as a cultural, social, and academic centre for indigenous students at the university.
The Mystic Vale is a forested ravine acquired by the university in 1993.

The university offers on-campus housing for over 3,200 students. A variety of housing is available, including single and double dormitories, Cluster Housing (apartment-style housing with four people per unit), bachelor and one-bedroom apartments, and family housing. Four buildings in one of the oldest residential complexes at the university are named for Emily Carr, Arthur Currie, Margaret Newton, and David Thompson.[42] Construction on the South Tower Complex was completed in January 2011. The largest residence building in terms of capacity is Ring Road Hall, which holds 294 beds and is split into three wings. The campus has become increasingly cycling-friendly.[43]

Much of the university estate and endowment lands have been preserved as a nature setting, notably Finnerty Gardens and Mystic Vale, a 4.4 ha (11 acres) forested area and park. The large campus is home to deer, owls, squirrels and many other wild animals native to the area. A large population of domestic rabbits was a feature of the campus previously. In May 2010, the university began trapping and euthanizing the rabbits[44] as they had been known to put athletes at risk in the playing fields and cause extensive damage to university grounds. Local veterinarians offered to perform neutering of the male rabbits. As of July 2011, the UVic campus is free of rabbits. 900 rabbits were saved and sent to shelters.[45] The majority of rabbits moved to shelters died between 2011 and 2016, after which the remaining survivors (147 rabbits) were relocated to a private sanctuary in Alberta.[46]

Libraries and museum

McPherson Library is one of three libraries in the University of Victoria Libraries system.

The University of Victoria Libraries system is the second largest in British Columbia, being composed of three 'on-campus' libraries, the William C. Mearns Center for Learning/McPherson Library, the Diana M. Priestly Law Library, and the MacLaurin Curriculum Library. The Library System has undergone significant growth in recent years thanks to the University's investment in library purchases and research. Amongst the highlights in the University of Victoria Archives and Special Collections are priceless items from Imperial Japan, to carbon dated original manuscripts of the Sancti Epiphanii. The collection also includes extensive histories of colonial Victoria and the Colony of Vancouver Island among other documents. The library's digitization programme is becoming increasingly active in making materials available. Renovations and new construction over the past decade have included special collections classrooms, an innovative Learning Commons and an art gallery. The UVic libraries collection includes extensive digital resources, over 2.0 million books, 2.3 million items in microforms, plus serial subscriptions, sound recordings, music scores, films and videos, and archival materials.[47]

The University of Victoria houses the Education Heritage Museum, which displays educational history artifacts in the main hallway of the MacLaurin building. The collection consists of manuscripts, texts, photographs, audio-visual material, lesson plans, posters, bells, ink bottles, fountain pens, desks, maps, athletic clothing, photographs, and school yearbooks used in kindergarten to grade 12 schools in Canada from the mid-1800s to the 1980s.[48]

The University of Victoria has two art collections (University and Maltwood) which host loan exhibitions, and exhibits of the works of students and faculty in the University Centre Exhibition Gallery. The University Collection, founded in 1953 by Dr. W.H. Hickman, Principal of Victoria College (1953-1963), consists of 6,000 works, mainly by contemporary artists practicing in British Columbia. The Maltwood Art Museum and Gallery, founded through the bequest of English sculptress and antiquarian, Katharine Emma Maltwood, F.R.S.A. (1878-1961), reflects her and her husband John Maltwood's taste. The collection of 12,000 works of fine, decorative and applied arts includes Oriental ceramics, costumes, rugs, seventeenth century English furniture, Canadian paintings and Katherine Maltwood's own sculptures.[49]

The Legacy Gallery in downtown Victoria is one of several off-campus properties owned by the university.

Off-campus facilities

The University of Victoria has acquired a portfolio of properties around Victoria, British Columbia and across Vancouver Island. These include the Legacy Gallery in downtown Victoria, the University Club, the Inter-urban campus, a former Saanich-based lodge and retreat, the Swans Hotel and Restaurant complex, and the Queenswood Property. The large, partially forested Queenswood property has been proposed as a site of future expansion for the university.

In 2017, the University of Victoria announced plans to develop a downtown campus/accommodation centre in the historic area of Victoria, BC including accommodation for students and other facilities. The new downtown campus will be centered in buildings donated to the university and located around the historic Broad Street area, beside the old Bay Centre.[50] The downtown development has been suggested as a possible future home for UVic's Peter B. Gustavson School of Business.

The UVic endowment (estimated at $374 million) and large private donations have allowed for the university's estate to continue growing and for facilities to be upgraded and expanded on an ongoing basis.


Below is a list of undergraduate faculties, departments, and schools within the University of Victoria system.

UVic also offers a number of interdisciplinary undergraduate programs, including Applied Ethics, Arts of Canada, European Studies, Film Studies, Human Dimensions of Climate Change, Indigenous Studies, Latin American Studies, Social Justice Studies, and Technology and Society.

The Peter B. Gustavson School of Business is located at the university's Business and Economics Building.

Peter B. Gustavson School of Business

The Peter B. Gustavson School of Business, formerly the Faculty of Business, was renamed following a donation by local entrepreneur Peter B. Gustavson. This business school offers a wide range of programs including the BCom, MBA and other business degrees, EQUIS and AACSB accredited. The program starts with two years of general studies (with 5 required classes) and then the 3rd and 4th year are business intensive. Three co-op work terms are also required.[55][56]

MGB Program: The Peter B. Gustavson School of Business is also offering a program called the Master Of Global Business. This program is in partnership with Montpellier Business School (France) and Sungkyunkwan University (Korea). In September, The Peter B. Gustavson School of Business is welcoming 35 students from 13 different countries. The module mostly focuses on MBS courses such as Finance, Supply chain management, marketing etc.[57]


The Faculty of Engineering admits approximately 400 students into first-year programs each year. Students can specialize in the following disciplines: Biomedical Engineering, Civil Engineering, Computer Engineering, Computer Science, Electrical Engineering, Mechanical Engineering, and Software Engineering.[58][59]

Fine Arts

The Faculty of Fine Arts splits into five different departments: Art History and Visual Studies, the School of Music, Theatre, Visual Arts and Writing.[60] UVic's Department of Art History and Visual Studies has a long tradition of scholarship in the areas of Islamic art, South and Southeast Asian art, and Native arts of North America. It is one of few schools that has traditionally held two chairs of Islamic art, most recently filled by Anthony Welch and Marcus Milwright.

The offices of the Faculty of Humanities, and its departments, are located in Clearihue Building.


The Faculty of Humanities[61] consists of ten departments (English, French, Genders Studies, Germanic and Slavic Studies, Greek and Roman Studies, Hispanic and Italian Studies, History, Linguistics, Pacific and Asian Studies, and Philosophy), as well as three Programs (Latin American Studies, Medieval Studies, and Religious Studies). The faculty offers certificates, minors, and majors leading to both BA and BSc degrees, as well as MA and PhD degrees. Languages, narratives, philosophies, histories—the Faculty of Humanities brings these all together in a critical context of analysis, interpretation, research, and communication.[62]


The UVic Faculty of Law is consistently ranked as one of the best and most-applied to law schools in Canada. It offers a hands-on work experience program for young lawyers and an intensive environmental law program, featuring a course at Hakia Beach, BC in association with the Tula Foundation. UVic Law has been deeply involved with many Aboriginal, ecological, and environmental cases in British Columbia, and continues this tradition today.[63]

The School of Earth & Ocean Science is located in the Bob Wright Centre.

School of Earth & Ocean Sciences

The university's School of Earth & Ocean Sciences, within the Faculty of Science, has produced a large number of influential findings in its history. The School of Earth & Ocean Science also collaborate with the VENUS and NEPTUNE research institutes.[64] The university was a founding member of the Western Canadian Universities Marine Sciences Society. UVic maintains this field station on the west coast of Vancouver Island, which is jointly run by the University of British Columbia, Simon Fraser University, the University of Alberta and the University of Calgary.[65]

School of Public Administration

The UVic School of Public Administration specializes in its M.A., and PhD. programs but also offers a selective admission minors program for political leaders and mid-career civil servants.[66]

Continuing Studies

Continuing education has been an integral part of the University of Victoria since its inception in 1963. Today, the Division of Continuing Studies[67] provides adult and continuing education programming in co-operation with UVic faculties and community partners. The Division of Continuing Studies offers a comprehensive portfolio of programs in a range of academic disciplines, using diploma, certificate and other programming models to serve adult, part-time and internationally dispersed students.

Graduate programs

UVic is one of Canada's largest graduate schools, offering more than 160 graduate programs across the University's faculties and departments. Their most popular graduate degrees are in the following areas:

UVic's Graduate programs range from individual interdisciplinary programs to graduate research programs. The university also offers students specialized degree options and doctoral options.

Academic profile


Admission to the University of Victoria is based on a selective academic system and is highly competitive. Each year, the university receives far more applications than there are spaces available, making it one of the most applied to institutions in Canada. Applicants are required to submit applications with their grade points average (GPA) and personal statements in order to be considered for admission. The university may also accept qualified applicants studying under IB programs, AP programs or other international distinctions. Given its endowment, the University of Victoria is able to offer scholarships and financial aid to a large number of students.[68]

International exchanges

The University of Victoria is one of the most international universities in Canada and has partnered with a number of research institutions to provide UVic students with the opportunity to gain research experience abroad. International conferences and study abroad opportunities are encouraged for all students, with many students completing a gap year before commencing their studies. Both UVic undergraduate and graduate students may travel abroad with UVic's many partner universities.[citation needed]

The University of Victoria has partnered with institutions around the world, including Sciences Po, University of London, University of Washington, Hong Kong University, Utrecht University, and the National University of Singapore.[69]


University rankings
Global rankings
ARWU World[70]301–400
QS World[71]370
Times World[72]351–400
U.S News & World Report Global[73]262
Canadian rankings
ARWU National[70]13–18
QS National[71]14
Times National[72]15–16
U.S News & World Report National[73]10
Maclean's Comprehensive[74]2

The University of Victoria has ranked in a number of post-secondary rankings. In the 2020 Academic Ranking of World Universities rankings, the university ranked 301–400 in the world and 13–18 in Canada.[70] The 2021 QS World University Rankings ranked the university 370th in the world, and fourteenth in Canada.[71] The 2021 Times Higher Education World University Rankings ranked the university 351–400 in the world, and 15–16 in Canada.[72] In the 2020 U.S. News & World Report Best Global University Ranking, the university ranked 262nd in the world, and 10th in Canada.[73] The Canadian-based Maclean's magazine ranked the University of Victoria second in their 2020 Canadian comprehensive university category.[74]

Along with academic and research-based rankings, the university has also been ranked by publications that evaluate the employment prospects of its graduates. In the Times Higher Education's 2018 global employability ranking, the university ranked 200–250 in the world, and 8–9 in Canada."Graduate employability: top universities in Canada ranked by employers 2018". Times Higher Education. TES Global. 14 November 2018. Retrieved 21 November 2017.</ref> In QS's 2019 graduate employability ranking, the university ranked 301–500 in the world, and 10–17 in Canada.[75]


In 2018, Research Infosource named the University of Victoria the 19th best research university, with a sponsored research income of $114.922 million, and an average research income of $170,000 per faculty member in 2017.[76]

The university's research performance has been noted in several bibliometric university rankings, which uses citation analysis to evaluate the impact a university has on academic publications. In 2019, the Performance Ranking of Scientific Papers for World Universities ranked the university 374th in the world, and 15th in Canada.[77] The University Ranking by Academic Performance 2018–19 rankings placed the university 370th in the world, and 17th in Canada.[78]

Research facilities operated by the University of Victoria include:

The University maintains a field station on the west coast of Vancouver Island to conduct marine research. The facility is jointly run by the University of British Columbia, Simon Fraser University, the University of Alberta and the University of Calgary. Undergraduates at the University of Victoria have full access to research and learning at this facility.

In 2011 the university, in collaboration with the provincial government purchased and modified a state of the art ocean vessel capable of launching 'deep sea submersibles' and conducting long-range marine biology research expeditions. The 'floating laboratory' is undergoing upgrades and expansions currently and was scheduled to be in service by late 2011.[79]

The School of Earth & Ocean Sciences is also home to the VENUS and NEPTUNE research institutes responsible for seismic, oceanic and climate change research.

Located in the Greater Victoria area the University's legal centre provides free legal assistance to the disadvantaged as well as dealing with important environmental cases in British Columbia. The UVic Law Center is the only full-time, term clinical program offered by a Canadian law school. The program reflects the faculty's emphasis on integrating legal theory, legal skills, and community service while providing students with unique education and research opportunities.[80]

Located in the Greater Victoria, British Columbia area the Vancouver Island Technology Park is a state of the art, 35 acre commercial research facility. It is the largest university-owned technology centre in BC. The venture allows the university to work with leading technology and biomedical companies while provided students with unparalleled research opportunities. The facility focuses on fuel cell, new media, wireless, and life science/biotechnological research. The UVic Genome BC Proteomics Centre and a number of other research institutes are based out of the research park. The Capital Regional District is a major commercial hub for technology companies.[81]

Culture and student life

Greek life

Several fraternities, sororities, and secret societies exist on the University of Victoria, despite the fact that the Students' Society does not recognize fraternities, sororities, or societies on the basis that they, by definition, seek to exclude portions of the membership. This issue was once a topic of debate in student politics at the University of Victoria in 2010.[82]

Many years ago, University of Victoria students started a fraternity, two sororities and one non-exclusive, non-profit social-service club. Although the fraternities and sororities have no affiliation with the University of Victoria itself, they continue to thrive and have purchased nearby properties. The fraternities and sororities on campus are as follows:

Radio station (CFUV)

CFUV is a long-standing campus radio station focusing on the campus and the surrounding community. CFUV serves Greater Victoria at 101.9, and via cable on 104.3, Vancouver Island and many areas in the Lower Mainland and northwestern Washington state.[citation needed]

Residence halls

The university's cluster neighbourhood comprises 121 apartments and townhouses for student living.

The University of Victoria maintains several residence halls on campus, which were originally based on the Oxbridge Collegiate model of constituent colleges which serve as a smaller, more personal home environment to the students of the wider university. The University no longer operates these halls as individual colleges, but rather as halls of residences (as well as dormitories and apartments) as part of the Residence Life and Education department. Today, all halls of residence are equipped with Common Rooms and high-speed internet for students. Most UVic students live on campus or within a few blocks of the main site.[citation needed]

The oldest and most famous of these residence halls is Craigdarroch, which features large stone-clad buildings and ivy covered walkways and courtyards. The modernist Lansdowne Halls feature six buildings connected by a series of bridges, walkways, and tunnels, including the popular 'UVic Underground'. Gordon Head and Ring Road Hall feature rooms and amenities for students, organized around a series of large courtyards.

In the centre of the Residence Village is the Cadboro Commons and a number of restaurants operated by the university, where students may eat and study. A mixture of dorms, single rooms, apartments, cluster studios, and family housing are available but decided by lottery system. First year students are guaranteed accommodation in one of the Residence Halls of campus.

Student newspaper

UVic's oldest and most recognized[citation needed] weekly student newspaper, founded in 1948, is The Martlet. It is distributed all over campus and the Greater Victoria area. The paper is named after the legendary martlet bird, whose inability to land is often seen to symbolize the constant quest for knowledge, learning, and adventure. The Martlet is partly funded by student fees. The Martlet is the only independent campus newspaper at the University of Victoria, and therefore one of the only publications that has the time and resources to fully hold both the University of Victoria and the University of Victoria Students' Society (UVSS) accountable. The Martlet regularly reports on UVic Board of Governors and Senate meetings, as well as University of Victoria Students' Society Board meetings and elections.

Today, The Martlet has a wide circulation[citation needed] and can be found in coffee shops, theatres, grocery stores, offices, and street corners throughout Victoria, British Columbia. The newspaper maintains its strong editorial line and commitment to politics and activism. Many national journalists and columnists in Canada have gotten their start in writing journalism at The Martlet and it continues to produce opportunities for student writers to become professionals. Notable Martlet alumni include Andrew MacLeod of the Tyee, Victoria Mayor Lisa Helps, and Leader of the B.C. Green Party Andrew Weaver.

In recent years, The Martlet has broken stories about UVSS spending deficits, UVic's reputational enhancement project, divestment lobbying efforts by UVic student activists, issues with UVic's sexualized violence policy, the arrival of Starbucks on campus, problems in the UVic Sociology department, international student tuition hikes, student groups' support of the Unist'ot'en First Nation camp, pro-life vs. pro-choice protesters on campus, racism and antisemitism on campus, and the ongoing battle for UVic student Lilia Zaharieva to receive her life-saving medication for her cystic fibrosis.

The Martlet is currently undergoing a transformation as it slowly transitions to more exclusive web-only content, in line with the shifting tendencies of journalism worldwide. Along with the 5000 physical papers circulated around the UVic campus and the local community, The Martlet has over 3500 followers on Twitter and 1700 followers on Facebook.[citation needed]

Martlet stories are regularly picked up by larger publications including the CBC, CTV News, the Times Colonist, and Chek News.[citation needed]

The Effingham Carcass, Vancouver Island, 1947; supposed remains of 'Caddy'

University traditions, myths, lore


Cadborosaurus is a mythical sea serpent in the folklore of regions of the Pacific Coast of North America that is rumored by students to live in Cadboro Bay, adjacent to the University Of Victoria. The Cadborosaurus, or 'Caddy' as he is colloquially named, has become a favourite for students.

Fight song

Notable among a number of songs commonly played and sung at various events such as commencement and convocation, and athletic games, is 'Rack and Ruin', a reminder of the tradition of the founding Victoria College.

"Rack and Ruin,
Blood and Gore,
Victoria College

Finnerty Gardens is an extensive series of sculpted gardens maintained on campus.

Finnerty Gardens

UVic maintains an extensive series of sculpted gardens on campus which serve as a place of respite and peace for students, staff, and members of the public who visit them. The Garden's include some of the largest collections of West-Coast plants and are cared for by the Friends of Finerty Gardens, a charity which raises funds and helps support the garden's growth. The Finnerty Gardens include ponds, trails, flower gardens, and benches throughout. The University Multi-Faith Centre is nestled neared the gardens.

Martlet icon

The martlet and its red colour adorn many parts of the University of Victoria, including the crest, coat of arms, and flag representing the university's previous affiliation to McGill University which also uses the martlet. The legendary martlet bird's inability to land is often seen to symbolize the constant quest for knowledge, learning, and adventure. The oldest student newspaper on campus, The Martlet, is named after the bird.

Weeks of Welcome

UVic Orientation/Weeks of Welcome takes place each year for all new students to the school. UVic Orientation includes events, activities, and workshops to help students adjust to university life. The main event of UVic Orientation, which takes place on the day immediately preceding the first day of classes, has gone by a number of names over the years. This event is currently referred to as New Student Welcome, and is UVic's largest Orientation event.

University Club

The University Club is a private club located on campus. Membership is limited to faculty, staff, students, and alumni.

The University Club of Victoria[85] is a private club located on the campus of University of Victoria. Faculty, Staff, and students are all members of the club and outside organization may also use the dining halls, meeting rooms, and other facilities. Alumni of the university often become members as well. The catering staff host dinners and awards celebrations frequently and the Holiday Roast Pig is a classic event on campus.

The University Club (formerly called the Faculty Club) opened on March 16, 1982. The building, located on campus, is surrounded by high trees in a quiet, wooded area.[citation needed]

The University of Victoria Students Society (UVSS)

The University of Victoria Students' Society is the second largest student society in British Columbia and represents the UVic undergraduate student body, plans campus wide events and operates the Student Union Building. The student society's leadership is elected annually during campus wide undergraduate student elections. As a multimillion-dollar organization, the UVSS is one of the larger student unions which exist in Canada. The UVSS also negotiates with local government and healthcare providers for Student Transit Passes and health insurance.

In 2014, the UVSS Student Union building underwent a major overhaul and renovation. In 2015, the University expanded and doubled the capacity of the public transit hub on campus which is adjacent to the Student Union building.

In 2016, plans began for the fundraising and building of a new, much larger Student Union Building to accommodate the growing student population.

The University of Victoria Graduate Student Society (GSS)

The University of Victoria has one of the highest percentages of graduate and doctoral students in the country. The GSS offers services and academic support for UVic's 3,000 Graduate students. The society's services include the Grad House Restaurant, health and dental plan, funding for grad student events, and reduced-cost membership in the Victoria Car Share Co-operative.


The McKinnon Building includes a triple gym and an indoor swimming pool. The building is used for recreational purposes by the student body.

The Victoria Vikes (more commonly known as Vikes Nation) represent the university in a number of competitive sports, including rowing, swimming, rugby, and basketball. The Vikes have especially long ties to competitive rowing having competed for several international titles. Sailing remains an important sport at the university and the UVic Sailing Club (UVSC) maintains training facilities and boats at the nearby Cadboro Bay.

Significant endowments, scholarships, and bursaries allow the university to recruit the best student-athletes, regardless of financial standing.[citation needed] UVic is a participating partner in the Canada West Universities Athletic Association (CWUAA) (the western division of ) and in the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA). Basketball games were traditionally played in the 2,500 seat, McKinnon Gymnasium which was built in 1975.

An athletics facility was completed in 2015, which provides considerably more space and facilities for athletics. The $77 million Centre for Athletes, Recreation, and Special Abilities (CARSA), opened its doors on May 4, 2015.[86][87][88]

The university currently has both men's and women's teams in each of the following sports:


UVic maintains a boathouse on Elk Lake in Victoria, British Columbia.[citation needed]

UVic and UBC rivalry

As the two oldest universities in the province, the University of Victoria (UVic) and the University of British Columbia (UBC) have long been fierce rivals in sports and athletics, including in Rowing, Rugby, and Soccer.[citation needed] The UVic Vikes and UBC Thunderbirds rivalry is a symbol of good sportsmanship, but has sometimes resulted in violence and less-than-polite behaviour by both sides. The "Annual UBC I UVic Soccer Classic" is one of the largest university sporting events in Canada and pits the UBC Men's Soccer Team against the UVic Men's Soccer Team. The annual classic alternates between the UVic Centennial Stadium and the UBC Thunderbird Stadium.

Vikes Nation fans and UBC Thunderbird fans pack into the Centennial stadium for the classic, with the UVic Cheerleaders and Marching Band also present. In 2015, UVic also constructed a new and expanded Athletics Facility (CARSA) which includes a major auditorium/gymnasium for Vikes Basketball Teams, and significantly more seating, stands, and court facilities.

Centennial Stadium

Constructed in 1967, Centennial Stadium is one of the largest stadiums used by any university in British Columbia.

The Centennial Stadium is a historic stadium located on the campus of the University of Victoria in Victoria, British Columbia, Canada. The large facility was built as a 1967 Canadian Centennial project to celebrate the 100th anniversary of Canadian confederation, but has undergone many repairs and upgrades since then. Today, it is one of the largest university stadiums in British Columbia and is home to the UVic Vikes.

Sports Hall of Fame

UVic Charter Inductees are:

Men's basketball: 1980, 1981, 1982, 1983, 1984, 1985, 1986, 1997
Women's basketball: 1980, 1981, 1982, 1985, 1987, 1992, 1998, 2000, 2003
Men's cross-country: 1995, 1996, 1997, 1998, 2015
Women's cross-country: 1981, 1986, 1987, 1988, 1995, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002
Women's field hockey: 1985, 1988, 1990, 1992, 1993, 1995, 1996, 1998, 2001, 2003, 2008
Men's soccer: 1976, 1988, 1997, 2004, 2011
Women's soccer: 2005

Canadian University Championship Titles[89]
Men's rugby: 1998, 1999
Men's rowing: 1997, 1998, 1999, 2001, 2009
Women's rowing: 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003
Men's golf: 2003, 2005, 2006

Canadian Western Universities Championship Titles
Women's field hockey: 2015

Sport clubs and societies

UVic has 25 sport clubs that are administered by Vikes Recreation and run by students.[90]

Transgender Archives

The Transgender Archives are a part of the University of Victoria Libraries and are committed to preserving the histories of pioneering activists, community leaders, and researchers who have made contributions to the betterment of trans, non-binary, and two-spirit people.[91]

Since 2007, at the Transgender Archives there has also been an active collection of documents, rare publications, and memorabilia of organizations or persons that had a hand in activism by and for trans, non-binary, and two-spirit people.[91] The Transgender Archives are free and accessible and can be found at the University of Victoria's main campus at the Mearns Centre for Learning, McPherson Library.[92]

The Transgender Archives are the largest in the world, and were rated in the top 12 Most Enlightening LGBTQ Museums in the World in 2019.[93][94] The records are over 160 metres in distance and go back over 120 years, spanning 15 languages, 25 countries, and 6 continents[94]


Significant donors:[91]


The second edition of the Transgender Archives book, 'Foundations for the Future', was released in 2016 and is available for free online at the University of Victoria's Transgender Archives home page.[95] The book is written by Founder and Academic Director of the Transgender Archives, Aaron Devor. With the support of Grants and Awards Librarian Christine Walde, it was published by the University of Victoria Libraries. The book focuses on the history of trans activism and research, and also includes information regarding the origin of the Transgender Archives as well as multiple examples from the collection. The book's first edition, which was released in 2014, was a 2015 Lambda Literacy Awards finalist in LGBT nonfiction. In the same year, the book finished first for best offset print book at the 2015 College and University Print Management Awards.[95]


Some key members of the Transgender Archives are:



Order Name Years in office
1 Joseph Clearihue 1963–1966
2 Richard B. Wilson 1967–1969
3 Roderick Haig-Brown 1970–1972
4 Robert T. D. Wallace 1973–1978
5 Ian McTaggart-Cowan 1979–1984
6 William C. Gibson 1985–1990
7 Robert Gordon Rogers 1991–1996
8 Norma Mickelson 1997–2002
9 Ronald Lou-Poy 2003–2008
10 Murray Farmer 2009–2014
11 Shelagh Rogers 2015–present


Notable faculty

Some of the university's noted faculty members, past and present, are:

Notable alumni

The university has over 88,000 alumni. Listed below are some of UVic's noted alumni:

Alumni in the arts

Alumni in business

Alumni in government and public affairs

Alumni in the sciences

Alumni in sports

Asteroid 150145 Uvic

The asteroid 150145 Uvic was named in the university's honour on 1 June 2007. UVic was the first university in BC to have an asteroid named for it.[119]

See also


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