Royal Roads University 411: Best pub, coolest electives, and more

A Royal Roads University insider's perspective on campus life

Royal Roads student Matthew Keevil.

The 411

Best place for a nap: Find an empty break-out room; or the dorms are really close

Best (cheapest) lunch: The Habitat Café is your only hope for on-campus fare, and it’s not cheap


Best hangover breakfast: The Royal Roads Café up on Sooke Rd. Or so I hear.

Favourite campus food: Chicken fingers

Favourite watering hole: Six Mile Pub

Perks: Vancouver Island

Where to live: On campus or Colwood


Best place to study: Book a break-out room online

Worst place to study: The Habitat Café

Coolest electives: Multimodal Publishing (a.k.a. making a documentary film)

Most notorious bus route: Anything to do with the ‘Colwood Crawl’

Best campus events: Pub nights


Best giveaway: Umbrellas with a flashlight

School motto: ‘Life changing’

Best live music venue: Darcy’s Pub

PROFILE: Royal Roads University | Victoria, B.C. | Founded 1995

University Insider: Matthew Keevil, 35, Professional Communications 


In many ways, arriving at Royal Roads University is akin to taking a trip back in time. The historic Hatley Castle serves as a stately backdrop to the picturesque campus. The grounds feature rolling, royal-green hills dipping to the shores of Esquimalt Lagoon. Old-growth Douglas fir and western red cedar surround an expansive campus strewn with walking trails and formal gardens.

The early-twentieth-century charm is perhaps Royal Roads’s most eye-catching feature, but a progressive approach to post-graduate education is what drew me to the institution.

The university offers distance education employing a cohort model. The smaller class sizes—and relatively intimate setting—allow for a closer alignment between instructors and students. The cohort gathers at the campus for a two- to three-week residency that promotes comradery among students, as well as professional networking opportunities.

It’s important to note that the institution is relatively young by Canadian academic standards. Thus, some programs and initiatives are still being developed, guided by student feedback. But if there is one value that Royal Roads embraces above others, it is openmindedness. One word of general caution: it is important to do your own research on the programs and courses, ask questions, and reach out to alumni and staff to learn about the experience.

But as far as developing a beautiful learning environment and supportive faculty is concerned? Royal Roads is well on its way.


Students looking for outdoor activities will enjoy jogging and hiking the spacious grounds and gardens, while the university also offers cultural experiences linked to the traditional lands of the Xwsepsum (Esquimalt) and Lkwungen (Songhees) First Nations. For those interested in libations, Royal Roads staff organizes a variety of off-campus pub nights and gatherings around Greater Victoria. You can also check out a variety of student groups focused on everything from music to real estate.

Local Vibe
There really isn’t enough that can be said about Greater Victoria and Vancouver Island. The Royal Roads campus lies around 30 minutes by car from downtown Victoria, which is also accessible by transit. The city’s pub and restaurant culture is defined by a dedication to sustainability and locally sourced products. You can take a stroll down Government Street for a pint, or sample delicious wares from local vineyards, farms and fisheries. If you have time for a weekend getaway, head to Tofino for a quick surf, or up to Mount Washington to hit the slopes.

The Skinny
Royal Roads has a great alumni program where you can check out stories from past grads:
For local news and events, check Victoria Buzz.