30. Christ the King
“I just remember this giant up on top of the building,” recalled John Nixon (VC 1969) of his first day at Vancouver College in the fall of 1957 as a Grade 1 student. 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 statue of Christ the King was donated to the school by Mrs. Lily Alice Lefevre in 1925. Mrs. Lefevre, a devout Catholic, was described as “a pioneer, poetess, and public-spirited citizen” and “well-known as an aristocratic hostess in emerging Vancouver”. After her husband, Dr. John M. Lefvre, left her a widow in 1906, Lily Lefevre became a patron of the arts and helped found the Vancouver Art Gallery. Lefevre wrote The Lions' Gate and Other Verses (Province Publishing, 1895) which is probably the earliest collection of poetry published in BC by a woman. Though infrequently mentioned in the school’s records, Mrs. Lily Lefevre, one of the first to answer the call to support Vancouver College’s capital campaign, is considered one of the school’s founders.
The Brothers wrote an entry in their journal that “Rev. Ron Superior unveiled the monument erected to the honor of the Founders of the school in the Main Hall of the school. This exercise was carried out with a general calling of all the Founders to our entertainment staged in the Central Building.” The event was attended by Mrs. Lefevre, Mr. Dominic Burns, Mr. McCormack, Mr. Stafford, Mrs. and Mr. White, Miss White, Rev. Father O’Boyle, Rev. Father McNeil and the entire school.
Prior to the fire of December 5, 1946 that destroyed the third floor of McCormack Hall, Christ the King was perched just above the bay window and stone carving of the Christian Brothers crest. After the fire, however, the roof of Lannon Hall was redesigned and Christ the King was moved higher up, centred on top of the flat roof gable.
In 2019 during the campus redevelopment process, the iconic monument was carefully taken down, restored, and safely set aside until the new Lannon Hall was completed. On October 4, 2020, Christ the King was reinstalled to its present day location, a symbol of the school’s past and illuminating the way for the school’s future. In President Johnny Bevacqua’s words, “It sends the message that while committed to continuous improvement and innovation, we do so with the supporting strength of our tradition and our heritage under the caring, supportive, and watchful Christ the King.”
By: Ronith Cogswell