Some changes are being planned for the University of Victoria that could involve replacing some of the older residences, so recently my husband and I went for a walk and took photos of all the dorms I lived in from 1991-1995.

Interestingly, all the time I lived there, I never thought about who these buildings were named after, so I’ll try to do their namesakes justice here.

Our walk began at the end of the story, with the last dorm I lived in from 1994-1995.

According to the UVic website, Richard Wilson Hall is named after a Richard B. Wilson, a prominent local businessman. In 1960, he was the head of Victoria College’s capital fund, and he was chair of the University Development Board and Board of Governors, as well as chancellor from 1967-1969.

From my point of view, this dorm signified the year I finally felt like I was in the last stretch of my degree. I had made it through four years and just had one more to go. So I managed to balance out studying with a bit of fun and joined an intramural ball hockey team. I mostly played defence, but was set up in front of the net one night and scored my one and only goal.

The guys on my team graciously called it the “Highlight of the Night,” even though I was basically cherry-picking, and the ball rolled into the net in painfully slow motion.

Well, back to the present, and our walk took us to a dorm I lived in for only one night: Hodges residence. The UVic website shares the following information about its namesake:

Nancy Hodges (1888 – 1969) was a columnist for the Victoria Times. She was keenly interested in politics and was elected as a Liberal MLA for Victoria in 1941 where she served until 1953. In 1949, she became the speaker of the BC Legislature, the first woman speaker in the Commonwealth.

Nancy Hodges

All due respect to Ms. Hodges, but I wasn’t cut out to live in this dorm. In the fall of 1992, my second year at UVic, I was assigned to live there, and at the time it was designated as a social dorm. Being a quiet, studious person, I was used to the academic dorm I lived in the previous year.

So I was a bit nervous, but thought, “How bad could it be?” I tried it out, and it just wasn’t my cup of tea. The first night, music was blaring as students celebrated the beginning of the school year, and at one point I looked out the window to see a pair of eyes peering back at me.

That was it! The next day, I went to the housing office to apply for reassignment to an academic dorm. As I stood in line talking with other students, I found out that the girl ahead of me had been assigned to an academic dorm and wanted to switch to a social one. Jackpot! The housing office suggested the two of us just trade with each other, so we spent a day moving our belongings, and there I was, the proud occupant of a room in the Hugh Stephen residence.

It’s under renovation right now, so when my husband and I revisited it we couldn’t get very close. It’s located in a beautiful treelined area next to a path bordered by ornamental cherry trees. I used to feel like Anne of Green Gables walking to class each morning.

According to the website, this residence is named after a prominent businessman who was Mayor of Victoria from 1966-1969 and chair of the Capital Region Board. In addition, he chaired UVic’s Board of Governors from 1979-1982.

After a year in this dorm, I was assigned to the Shirley Baker residence, just two buildings away. It’s also under renovation right now.

Shirley Baker

The website explains that “Shirley Baker (1918-1995) joined UVic housing services in 1965 at a time when only women lived in student residences. She was assistant director of ancillary services when she retired in 1983.”

This dorm is near and dear to my heart because two of my close friends lived on the same floor that year, and to this day we still keep in touch.

Now the end of our walk brings us to the beginning of the story – my first year on campus, living in the Emily Carr residence from 1991-1992.

At the time, I’m not sure if I grasped the significance of who this dorm is named after. Emily Carr is now one of my favourite artists. The UVic website describes her this way:

Emily Carr (1871-1945) was of Canada’s greatest and most original painters. She was also an accomplished writer and won a Governor-General’s Award in 1941. Carr was born and died in Victoria.

This building is surrounded by lots of green space, and rabbits used to hop up to my window. One time, when I had to pull my first all-nighter to finish an assignment, the birds started singing at 4:00 a.m. and kept me alert. The brochures I had read when I was considering attending UVic called it a “parklike setting,” and they were absolutely right.

This video gives a taste of what we saw in the nearby area.

And that’s the final leg of our stroll down memory lane. I loved living on this beautiful campus and will always have fond memories of these old buildings.

This post is linked to Jo’s Monday Walk. Many thanks to Jo for inviting us to join her and share our stories.


Recently, we drove around Ring Road to see how construction on the new residences was coming along. Emily Carr residence is gone, and in its place is a large building that will house many more students.

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These upgrades are definitely needed, but I will always feel wistful about the old residences. As a keepsake of the old days, I drew a pencil sketch of the first dorm I ever lived in.

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Sketch of Emily Carr Residence as it looked in 2018

Here’s to memories of the 1991-92 school year – new friends; our wonderful housekeeper, Carol; trips down the Craigdarroch Walkway to the cafeteria; evenings racing home from exams to watch Star Trek: The Next Generation in the common room; rabbits hopping around outside; and the best commute ever to classes right across the street.

Now let’s turn the corner to leave campus, and on our right is one of the oldest buildings still standing – the Hamsterley Jam Factory, which was built as a water tower around 1911.

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It’s the building my friends and I used to pass as we walked down the hill to Cadboro Bay.

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And that’s the final leg of our stroll down memory lane and drive to the future. I loved living on this beautiful campus and will always have fond memories of these old buildings. And I wish new UVic students all the best! May you have as many fond memories as I do of this special time in your life!

6 thoughts on “A UVic Stroll Down Memory Lane

    1. Thank you so much for hosting these Monday walks! I’m inspired to walk some more! Yes, life has been good since those days. I’m so grateful for all I learned in such a beautiful place. It was fun to look back and think about how much the past has enriched my present too. I studied linguistics, and it gave me a love for language and writing. πŸ™‚


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