100 Stories: A Celebration of Vancouver College’s 100 Years
In celebration of our centenary, we share 100 stories that chronicle the school's legacy of faith, service, and excellence. These stories connect us to the past and demonstrate our commitment to continuing the good work of all those who came before us in the Catholic education of youth for His greater glory.
We are grateful to all those who helped with this project including:
Researchers - Catherine Cleveland, Chantal Coschizza, Bruce Jagger, Kelly Lattimer, Joanne Lin, and Tony Gallagher (VC 1966)
Contributors - Sheila Ang, Johnny Bevacqua, Dee Clarke, Maurizio Dattilo, Craig Erickson, Br. John Gale, Br. Charles Gattone, Karen Jung, Paul Legge, Joanne Lin, Sean Martinez (VC 1995), Anthony Murphy, John Nixon (VC 1969), Br. Peter O'Loughlin, Lilian Vernier, Margaret Vossen, and Daryl Weaver
Main Writers: Chantal Coschizza, Ronith Cogswell, and Bill Stormont
Editors - Ronith Cogswell and Celia Courchene
We invite you to visit our campus to fully appreciate the displays related to these stories. (Special thanks to our Display Team: Monica and David Morris, Alexia and Winston (VC 1984) Helgason)
One thing will always hold true for these long-term Vancouver College students: although each may go his separate way, these students will be permanently linked with memories centred around each other because of the time they spent together.
While Vancouver College primarily serves our Catholic community, the school also welcomes families from other faiths who equally value the power of faith in our secular world. The diversity of faiths that our students bring enriches our community in so many ways.
As teachers, coaches, counsellors, supporters, and caring communicators, these women show our young men what strong, healthy, and productive relationships look like.
As we draw closer to celebrating Vancouver College’s 100th class of graduates, it is astonishing to see the changes that have occurred, but also the similarities and enduring traditions, since 1925
The relic of Blessed Edmund Rice is displayed in the Blessed Edmund Rice Chapel, as a physical, concrete reminder and a tangible presence of our school’s spiritual founder.
We are deeply blessed to have this beautiful artwork find its home on our campus, serving as not only a powerful illustration of our enduring connection to our Indigenous community members but also as a daily reminder of our role as stewards of the land we are blessed to live, work and pray on.
The Pro Operis Award is an acknowledgement of the recipient’s extraordinary generosity and dedication in service over many years to the work of the Christian Brothers and Catholic education of youth at Vancouver College
By looking back at these Record Books from the 1920s to 1940s, we can see not only how student record keeping was done historically, but also the student care and attention that has always been a primary focus of Vancouver College
While there have been many changes throughout the school’s history, from uniforms, to clubs, to VC’s physical campus, a constant throughout the decades has been the dedicated and committed Vancouver College student body.
“Being a Fighting Irish student-athlete teaches students about success and failure, leadership and sacrifice, and how to find stamina and resilience when faced with challenges. Facilities like the High Performance Training Center ensure students can perform to their full potential, both on and off the field.”
With over 9,000 graduates working in every field imaginable across at least 38 countries, the network of VC alumni continues to grow, and along with it the Vancouver College Alumni Association.
The biggest “Irish” families in the school’s 100 years include the Clarkes, O’Hagans, Dumas, Dumont, and Rogers Families.
"We left for Peru to stand in solidarity with those marginalized by poverty and injustice, only to discover that our VC family was standing in solidarity with us the entire time."
Anyone fortunate enough to have attended a recent Vancouver College Football Game or the Saints Basketball Series will know that the legacy of the Vancouver College Cheer team lives on through students today.
A school uniform clearly identifies its wearer as belonging to a community and part of a tradition that is more than any individual but to which all can contribute.
Although the origin of this iconic sign has been lost, the sign lives on in our memories and photographs, and remains with us as a reminder of our past and the opportunities that are a part of our future.
As we celebrate our school’s Centenary, Vancouver College thanks current and past Board Members for their service and for giving their time and expertise for the betterment of our faith and learning community.
And VC’s Drama Department produces highly regarded, sold-out shows each year ranging from Shakespeare to comedies to musicals.
The history of rowing at Vancouver College began in 1988 when, on an activity day, teacher Terry Shea took a group of students to the Vancouver Rowing Club to try their hand at the sport.
Although VC’s student athletes have participated and excelled in a number of different sports, for many, football, the sport with the longest history at the school, is most closely associated with the school.
As a Catholic school, one important aspect of the whole person is that of faith, something that is reflected in the number of Vancouver College alumni who have gone on to live in religious life.
Although the Brothers’ residences have looked different over the years, the importance of these buildings as homes for our Christian Brothers, as spiritual leaders and educators to our community, cannot be overstated.
The monument of Christ the King inevitably makes an impression; he is the first to greet you in the morning and the last to say goodbye when you leave.
The future of VC is as bright today as it was 100 years ago when benefactors William O’Boyle and Charles Stafford initially purchased the site for a new school in “newly developed” Shaughnessy Heights.
The Vancouver College Band Program began in the 1923-1924 school year, with only nine students in this inaugural year.
Today these historic, beautiful and intricate panels hang in the Boardroom of the new Lannon Hall as a visual reminder of Vancouver College’s rich history.
Vancouver College’s most recent addition to its list of founders are Tod and Irene Manrell.
O’Hagan Field and its predecessor have always served more than just a sporting purpose. For some boys, the field provided a contemplative refuge from the pressures of school.
For students, the Finnegan, rich in history, goes beyond a call to play hard and win. This icon serves as a reminder that to be a true Fighting Irish, they must fight hard not only on the field and court, but also and support one another outside of their sporting endeavours.
For their contributions and faithful service to Vancouver College, spouses Peter Bull and Kathy Kelly were named Vancouver College Honorary Alumni in 2004.
Whether it was the Mothers’ Club of old, or the VCPA today, parent service to Vancouver College helps build this wonderful community we call “home away from home.”
During their 20 years as parents in our community, Tony and Barb were engaged, committed and dedicated community members, participating in all facets of school life.
"These songs have been used to unveil new buildings, say goodbye to grads, and bring our community together at masses. The elements that were so vague as a high school kid finally had embodied meaning and were brought to life through music."
Mayfair is a Vancouver College signature event held each year, usually on the Saturday before Mothers Day. This event is as popular with the school community today as it was when it was first held in 1928.
"It is my hope that these paintings, a visual reminder of our daily call to action, can help advance the charism of Blessed Edmund Rice and strengthen our faith personally and as a community."
Vancouver College opened its doors and welcomed 400 students, faculty, and staff of Our Lady of Perpetual Help School after the CISVA elementary school suffered a fire on their premises during the 2004-05 school year.
The Financial Assistance Program provides assistance with tuition and all school activity fees for families in need of financial support. This program is named in honour of Blessed Edmund Rice, who dedicated his life to providing education for young people especially those with financial needs.
Since 1952, fourteen Vancouver College graduates have traded their purple and gold for Canada’s red and white to participate in eleven different Olympic Games.
I first became a part of the building known as Vancouver College in 1925. I remember being fitted snugly with my companion, The Blue Door...
On September 5, 1922, the Brothers, the school’s first teachers, welcomed 91 students to Vancouver College’s initial (temporary) facility at Rosary Hall, located at 650 Richards Street, just south of Holy Rosary Cathedral.
Brother Lannon’s legacy lives on at Vancouver College with the school's newest building, the elementary wing, Lannon Hall, again named after this founder, builder, teacher, first Principal and inspiration to all who knew him or know his story.
The Vancouver College Hall of Honour recognizes and celebrates those who, through their exemplary performance and achievements, reflect credit on the Vancouver College community or who through their service to Vancouver College have made a significant positive impact on our community.
These three pioneering heroines, though rarely mentioned, were instrumental in the success of the first capital campaign for the construction of Vancouver College.
For Vancouver College, the name of the school often leads to questions and confused calls from those looking for post-secondary level courses. Why call a Kindergarten to Grade 12 school a college?
Mothers Christmas Tea, a long-standing tradition at Vancouver College, is one of the Vancouver College Parents Association’s three main social events, and a wonderful kick off to the Christmas season.
While our boys’ achievements at graduation are worthy of praise and celebration, we also reflect upon and note their acts of kindness and generosity that we witness on a daily basis.
The willingness to share responsibility for our Mission, coupled with the can-do attitude of generations of parents, alumni, and staff, have enabled VC to accomplish so much more than we would do with a more traditional approach.
It is in the whole and holistic yet diverse community that Vancouver College is able to celebrate and value each person’s inherent dignity.
Be it through our daily religion classes, prayer, liturgies, retreats, or outreach, every day at Vancouver College, our community of faith is fostered and invigorated.
Student experiences in the service of those marginalized by poverty and injustice are true capstones of a VC education. The ultimate expression of our Better Man aspirations lies in these opportunities as we equip our boys with the awareness, skills, and faith, to truly make a difference in our world.
Not a day goes by that we do not witness one of our teachers, coaches, educational assistants, volunteers or chaplains demonstrating over and over again how to live a moral and just life, how to genuinely proclaim and witness to our Catholic identity.
One of the most difficult things for us to measure at Vancouver College is how effective we are in evangelizing our boys within the Church’s mission. It is a result of these moments when they behave in deeply empathetic and Christlike ways, without anyone watching, that we know we are on the right track.
Since 1922, Vancouver College has been educating boys and young men in an effort to develop their whole person - mind, body, and soul - for the service of others. Our compelling and unique Mission sets us apart from other schools, giving direction and purpose to all that we do as a faith and learning community.
The sport of basketball at Vancouver College dates back almost to the very beginning of the school, with the first team formed in 1928.
The Vancouver College Alumni Corridor is a bridge to our past so that we may be grateful to the many benefactors from whom we have inherited this exceptional school.
The Our Next Century Campaign story would not be complete without the 1,500 families and individuals whose support contributed to the success of the Campaign. With the Campaign and redevelopment project now behind, we reflect and are humbled with what we have.
As quickly as the COVID-19 pandemic made its unwelcomed entrance into our world, the stories of humanity and care for one another within the VC community and beyond emerged with equal fervency and held us together.
Vancouver College Student Council provides an important link between students and Administration while promoting extracurricular and social events throughout the school year.
In the early 2000s, VC faculty became more intentional in providing opportunities for our students to live out our values. With this undertaking in mind, student outreach programs were organized to place faith in action and make it a reality in our school community.
Fans of every genre on both the small and the silver screens have espied our Vancouver College campus, thanks to its ability to replicate a number of desirable settings.
Whether turning the pages of the first V.C. Annual or the most recent edition of the Collegian, readers will recognize the ever-present Irish spirit, the continuity with Vancouver College’s past, and the school’s focus on the future.
“Leave Here a Better Man” is a motto used often at Vancouver College. It is what the teachers and administrators hope for, for all VC students. As we celebrate our 100th anniversary, this statement is embedded in our vision for the future.
As a faith and learning community, we honour these courageous men who served and gave their lives for the causes of freedom, liberty, and peace.
Acting as role models for the younger grades, Lettermen are more than athletes and champions, they are, above all else, leaders of the school, dedicating their time and efforts towards the betterment of the Vancouver College community.
On October 6, 1996, at a Mass celebrated in St. Peter’s Square, Rome, Pope St. John Paul II declared Edmund Ignatius Rice to be Blessed.
The placement of the Christian Brothers crest, above the main entrance to Vancouver College, including the motto of the Christian Brothers - “Facere et Docere” - is a reminder to all in our Vancouver College community to do and to teach, to lead to Christ by example and word.
Open House provides an annual opportunity for the school to throw open its doors and showcase all it has to offer to prospective students and their families and welcome those curious about what life at Vancouver College is like.
The Job Training Program began in 1987, during which participants were given basic training in office skills, as well as on-the-job training with a host company, and guidance in their job search.
Described by Most Reverend J. Michael Miller, CSB, Archbishop of Vancouver as “worthy and noble,” the Blessed Edmund Rice Chapel serves as a “living sign that Vancouver College believes that it is Christ Jesus that is its true foundation and cornerstone.”
Terrance Jarvis' (VC 1933) definition of “VC Spirit,” as published in the April 1928 edition of the Annual Entertainment, could be summarised in one word, Comradeship.
When it became clear that the four classrooms in Holy Rosary Cathedral would be inadequate for the Vancouver College’s growing student body, Brother Lannon was relieved of his classroom duties to become a full-time point man and focus on raising money.
In his third year of teaching grade seven, Michael Kim was appointed Grammar School Supervisor to become the first non-Christian Brother administrator of Vancouver College.
The 129-acre Jubilee Farm estate on 3900 Arthur Drive, formerly Slough Road, in Ladner was originally the home of Thomas and Annie McNeely.The Brothers and boarders, and occasionally the day students, enjoyed the fresh crops of produce they helped grow and harvest.
Very few places on the Vancouver College campus are considered off limits. So it wouldn’t be a surprise if you didn’t even know that the Bunker exists or if you have perhaps heard about it, it’s likely you’ve never been inside it.
At the turn of Fall, as students and families relish in the last warm days and begin to settle into the routines of the new academic year, nothing quite gathers the spirit of the school community and mobilizes all students from Kindergarten to Grade 12 like the Vancouver College Walkathon.
The Edmundians were formed in the 1996-1997 school year, by 19 grade eleven students who, like Blessed Edmund Rice, believed in the importance of community involvement.
The history of the BC Emerald Glove Tournament, an annual provincial boxing tournament that is still held to this day, can be traced back to Vancouver College and Fighting Irish coach Brother Anthony O’Grady.
Clubs provide a place for enthusiasts to come together to learn and develop their common interests. Once established, a club can be a beacon for others looking to try something new or build on the knowledge and talents they already possess.
In the fall of 1967, Grade 11 and 12 students from Little Flower Academy, fondly called Colleyflowers, began attending specialist options in Math, Chemistry and Physics at Vancouver College.
Encounter, a three day student-led retreat typically held at Camp Stillwood, offers our Grade 12 students the opportunity to come together, share their stories, and learn more about themselves and their fellow participants.
Over its 100-year history, there have been 20 different principals at the helm of Vancouver College, acting as the educational leader of the school.
This motto is a reminder to students and alumni that they must always be faithful to God, our country, our school, our family, and to each other.
The ultimate parents’ date night, Finnegan Ball seats parents in the same grade or same team together for a formal dinner. Away from the dinner table, guests dance to the live band, pose for a professional portrait, or bid on one-of-a-kind Vancouver College souvenirs, among other gifts at the silent auction.
On the morning of Thursday, December 5, 1946, at 12:34 am a fire broke out on the top floor of Vancouver College’s McCormack Hall.
In 1924, two years after Vancouver College officially opened its doors in downtown Vancouver, it became apparent that the current location and size of the school were not viable long term. The cornerstone of the new school was laid on October 26, 1924, and soon after the construction of Lannon Hall commenced.
The original entrance to McCormack Hall was up a few steps and through a “porch with buttresses and crenelated balcony parapet, including the inscription ‘McCormack Hall 1927’, ‘Vancouver College’, and the school motto, Semper Fidelis.”
In 1936, Brother Garland Lyons (VC 1928), was commissioned by the school to enhance the Vancouver College crest, adding the Gaelic Cross as the source of inspiration of our Christian faith, as well as a means of honouring the Christian Brothers Ireland.
Known as a living legend and a treasure for the school, we remember Lee Wai as one of the longest-serving members of the Vancouver College community and as an institution in our kitchens.
This story is about a student’s atonement for a failure in judgment, which led to a redemptive moment for him and for the responsible adult in charge.
With the preservation of the heritage Lannon Hall facade during the Our Next Century redevelopment process, this cornerstone still stands today and the inscription an enduring reminder of the legacy of Vancouver College, who we serve and for whom.
Our Lady of Perpetual Help is the special patroness of the Congregation of Christian Brothers, so it is only fitting that as you walk on the Vancouver College campus from Cartier Street, you are welcomed by a statue of Mother Mary and baby Jesus.
The artwork for the stained glass window in the Blessed Edmund Rice Chapel was inspired by a 1986 icon of Blessed Edmund Rice by Irish artist, Desmond Kyne.
The cross in the Blessed Edmund Rice Chapel, as well as the ambo and altar, were all hand crafted by Nicholas Purcell, one of Vancouver’s most gifted artists and master furniture makers.
In 1950, a prolonged dream was fulfilled with the completion of the Gymnasium Auditorium, which opened its doors for the first full season in October to the Fighting Irish Basketball team.
On Easter Monday, April 21, 1924, Vancouver College debuted its Annual Entertainment and Dramatic Presentation at the Orpheum Theatre.
In the early years, the Christian Brothers held every position and role at Vancouver College. In addition to teaching, they also acted as Registrar, meticulously manually recording each and every student enrolled at the College.
A 1948 letter from College teacher Brother Cunningham to two students living in Hong Kong gives a glimpse into early Vancouver College life.
Mackin Hall became a reality in 1957, thanks to Henry James Mackin, longtime Shaughnessy resident and well-known businessman.
Blessed Edmund Ignatius Rice was the founder of two religious Congregations of teaching Brothers: The Presentation Brothers (FPM) and the Edmund Rice Christian Brothers (CFC).
From the list of Vancouver College’s founding fathers, perhaps the most notable and to whom our community owes the greatest debt is James D. McCormack.