Skip To Main Content

1922 - 1946

  • The establishment of a Christian Brother school in Vancouver, first proposed in 1906, is made a reality. Vital to the recognition of this dream are The Most Reverend Timothy Casey, Archbishop of Vancouver; Fr. William O'Boyle, Rector of Holy Rosary Cathedral; and Brother Jerome Hennessy, Superior General of the Christan Brothers of Ireland.

    Brothers Jerome Lannon, Patrick Keane, Vitalis Reid, and Claver Murtagh arrive from Ireland to establish a Catholic all boys school in downtown Vancouver at 650 Richards Street, within walking distance of their residence at 1112 Broughton Street.

    Tuesday, September 5th marks the opening of Vancouver College, with 91 boys from Grade 4 to First Year High School occupying four classrooms at St. Mary’s Hall (later called Rosary Hall). Under the leadership of founding Principal, Brother Lannon, Vancouver College develops and inspires a concern for the spiritual, academic, cultural, and athletic wellbeing of boys and young men, which has characterized our school ever since.

    On October 17th, Trustees William O’Boyle and Charles Stafford purchase ten acres of land in Shaughnessy Heights from Canadian Pacific Railway for $19,590.



  • As part of Vancouver College’s cultural development program, the school Orchestra is formed with 35 students taking lessons in all instruments.

    On June 22nd, the school holds its first Closing Exercises at Lester Court on Davie Street, with student entertainment including Irish step dancing, music pieces from the Orchestra, and an elocution competition. Academic awards are given to top students.



  • On Easter Monday, April 21st, the first Vancouver College theatrical production, Macbeth, is presented at the Orpheum Theatre.

    As rapid growth occurs, it becomes apparent the current location of the school is not viable long term, and plans to relocate the College begin. Under the leadership and initial financial support of James McCormack, Charles Stafford, Annie McNeely, Fr. Francis Boyle, and Patrick Burns, an $80,000 capital campaign is organized to fund the construction of a school on 39th and Cartier Street. A successful fundraising event is held on the evening of April 23rd at the Hotel Vancouver raising $30,400.

    The cornerstone of the new school is laid on October 26th, celebrated with a Mass by Archbishop Casey. Soon thereafter construction of Lannon Hall commences.



  • On June 27th, Vancouver College holds its first Commencement Exercises at the Colonial Theatre on Granville Street in downtown Vancouver, with Archbishop Casey giving out academic prizes to some of the graduates of the Class of 1925. The graduates of 1925 are noted to be the finest of their kind and faithful to the school.

    The Christian Brothers choose the highly regarded architectural firm of Twizell & Twizell to design the new school, and Carter-Hall-Aldinger, a Winnipeg firm, wins the construction contract with a bid of $47,459. Lannon Hall, built to accommodate 360 boys, is completed in time for September and the school officially holds its first classes at 5400 Cartier Street.



  • The Brothers and boarding residence, St. Michael’s Residence, along Hudson Street, is opened for a maximum of 50 boys from the age of 10 years and older.



  • In January, Dominic and Patrick Burns donate 3.5 acres of land worth $25,000 south of the existing school property for campus expansion.

    Vancouver College Limited is incorporated on February 18th, as the school officially takes ownership of the land and buildings.

    In September, Senior Matriculation is added, rounding out the High School course to allow those who successfully pass to further their education at a university.

    Thanks to a generous donation from James D. McCormack, the three-storey McCormack Hall (Senior Building), also designed by Twizell & Twizell, is opened. The Blessing, officiated by Archbishop Casey, is held on October 1st.

    McCormack Hall houses four additional classrooms, locker rooms, and a reception hall. The second floor is home to resident students, and the third storey is an open room that serves as a recreation and luncheon room.

    “I firmly believe that every boy that is taught and trained in this school will, as a result of that teaching and training, better understand his duty to God, to his fellowman, and to his country.” James D. McCormack.



  • The school’s first yearbook, the V.C. Annual, is published at the end of the school year. In addition, Senior students publish a monthly newspaper, the V.C. Review. Articles in the newsletter focus on life beyond the classroom, inspirational stories, and parents’ volunteerism.

    The first “garden party” (later moved to the month of May and called Mayfair) is held on June 16th.

    In June, the first class graduates from “Senior Matriculation” having started their high school years (Grade 9) at Vancouver College.

    At the request of Brother Lannon, alumni get together for their inaugural meeting and Jimmy O’Hagan (VC 1925) is the Alumni Association’s first President.

    Athletic opportunities are expanded to include Bantam Rugby (Champions of Greater Vancouver), Junior Rugby (Champions of Greater Vancouver), Intramural Leagues, Soccer tournaments, Basketball, Gymnastic classes, Senior and Junior Baseball, and Tennis.

    Principal: Br. Patrick B. Doyle



  • In January,  Vancouver College joins the Inter High School League for Soccer and enters teams for the first time. Prior to this, VC’s teams were competing in the Sunday School league.



  • Principal: Br. Jerome Lannon



  • Brother E.B. Walsh formalizes the Mothers’ Auxiliary that had been informally gathering since 1924. “All mothers interested in the welfare of the school are eligible to take part in the Mothers’ Auxiliary”. They host their first event, a Silver Tea, on February 5th in the Reception Room of McCormack Hall, which proved a great social and financial success. Over the years this parents’ organization has also been known as the Mothers’ Guild, the Mothers’ Club, and since 1974 has been known as the Vancouver College Parents Association.



  • Principal: Br. Christopher C. Sterling



  • Fr. Francis J. Nash (VC 1926) is the first VC alumnus to be ordained as a priest.



  • Due to the Depression from 1933-1939, Vancouver College is forced to sell off lots on 41st Avenue which were part of Dominic and Patrick Burns’ donation in the late 1920s.



  • American-rules Football is introduced and becomes an integral sport to the school identity in succeeding decades. Vancouver College plays its brother school, O’Dea High School from Seattle, in front of 1,500 supporters at Athletic Park. This game would later be noted by many sportswriters as one of Vancouver’s best that year.

    Students’ Council, of which Phil Brancucci (VC 1939) is elected President and Don Ross (VC 1940) is elected Vice-President, is formed in the 1939-40 school year. The Council’s role is to liaise between the faculty and students.

    The first annual Reunion Banquet is held on October 26th (Founders Day) in the cafeteria of McCormack Hall, with more than 400 alumni and friends attending.

    Lee Wai is hired by the Christian Brothers. For nearly four decades, Wai worked as the school’s dedicated head chef, becoming one of the longest-serving members of the Vancouver College community.

    Principal: Br. E. Bonaventure Walsh



  • As the Second World War begins, the “corps” is organized nationally, with Vancouver College establishing its own cadet corps on April 5th.

    Barry Morgan Dean (VC 1933) of the Royal Air Force is reported to be missing in May after air operations in Europe and is later declared to be one of the first soldiers from BC killed in World War II.

    Brother Donal Cunningham is appointed the school’s first Vice Principal, a role that provides administrative and educational leadership to support the Principal in ensuring the boys’ educational wellbeing.



  • Principal: Br. M. Donal Cunningham



  • On March 7th, the Fighting Irish take to the YMCA maple courts of New Westminster as the 1946 British Columbia Senior High School Basketball Champions, defeating Kamloops 34-32, Duke of Connaught 30-28, and then King George 25-21 in the final. Maury Mulhern (VC 1946) is named the tournament’s Most Valuable Player.

    On December 5th, just after midnight, a fire is discovered on the top floor of McCormack Hall. This fire is the most sensational and disastrous event in the quarter century history of Vancouver College. Fire crews from across the street are on the scene almost immediately and four more fire halls respond. The VC community pulls through by taking in the boarders until the repairs are completed. Fortunately nobody is hurt, but the massive damage, estimated at around $80,000, leaves the cafeteria unusable and destroys the boarders’ personal belongings.