As a local to Victoria and a UVIC Alumni, I’ve had my fair share of experiences and things to do in and around the campus throughout my years. I can up with plenty of things that you should do before you graduate from UVIC; however, I think these 3 things below are part of what makes UVIC and Victoria special. First, we’ll start off with one of UVIC’s most exciting events.
#1 UVIC’s Dodge in The Dark
Dodge in the dark is part of UVIC’s annual campus kick-off, and the title is self-explanatory. Playing Dodgeball in the dark with lots of black lights for visibility. It’s an excellent opportunity for both seniors and junior students to let loose and have fun before everyone gets down to it. It is located in CARSA, UVIC’s newest athletic centre. Students can see the rock-climbing portion of the building behind the bookstore by the bus loop. The dodgeball session is only available in the fall during the Campus Kickoff Event, so it is a very special occasion. Although it may not be for everyone, Dodge in the Dark is a great opportunity for those who want to let off their stress or even prestress from the coming months by going all out against other students who feel the same way.
#2 Visiting the First People’s House
The First People’s House is a multipurpose building featuring a longhouse inspired meeting room, offices, classrooms, and quiet study places. The building is unlike any other at UVIC as the architecture in itself is a modern homage to the lək̓ʷəŋən (lekwungen) people’s culture and history, bearing two handcrafted totem poles in the front of the building and a serene pond featuring the mythical orca at the back of the building. Located adjacent to the Jamie Cassels Centre and the Clearihue building, it’s impossible to miss due to the unique appearance of the building. It stands out against the brutalist architecture of UVIC. A great thing about the First People’s House is that once every week, they host an open lunch where all are welcome to eat and make new friends; they also hold workshops every so often about indigenous history, culture, or art. Other than that, students are always welcome to visit and look at the art or study in the two rooms offered, one is a computer room, and the other is a comfy, quiet room. So why should you check out this building? The beauty surrounding the building and the features within are something to behold and appreciate. It contrasts the campus the atmosphere of UVIC as a quiet, serene place.
#3 Royal Road University and Hatley Castle
If you’ve ever heard about the imperialistic history of Victoria, then one would know that it’s signs of its past across the lower island. Royal Roads University and Hatley Castle offer many things to do while one visits the Westshore campus. The university sits on a historical piece of land that once belonged to James Dunsmuir, A BC premier during 1900-1902. He had commissioned a castle aptly named Hatley Castle that had been taken care of ever since its inception. Furthermore, the building behind the castle was once used as a military academy during the second world war, staying that way until 1995 when it became a regular university. Besides those two main features, the university has its own gardens that one can visit and a trail further down the road. While its main purpose is to educate the next generation, Royal Roads sits on an uncontested plot of land that places right in front of the sea where the Olympic mountains are always visible. Royal Roads University is located in Colwood, you’ll need to take the bus there if you don’t have a car. From UVIC, you can take the #4 downtown, transfer to the 50 all the way to Colwood and finally transfer over to the 52. Stopping at the Royal Roads bus loop, you can get off directly within campus grounds.
Going during the summer or early fall are the best things to enjoy the university, castle and the surrounding areas. Royal Roads is usually filled with tourists, private weddings, and high school graduations during springtime, so finding a quiet time to explore the place is more complicated than usual. Following the theme of beauty, Hatley castle is a marvel to Victorian-era architecture. It is a sight to behold, considering its location and the time it was built. Hatley Castle had also been used as the headquarters for the X-men and Deadpool movie franchise. Besides that, the plethora of things to see and do within one campus will keep you interested for a while. Lastly, it’s also a great place for photoshoots and instagrammable landscapes.
Although only a short list, these are the most quintessential things I think one should do because it encompasses what makes UVIC and Victoria such a unique and vibrant place; there’s always something to do whether you expect it or not.