Victoria: The inside scoop

VICTORIA, BC: October 15, 2010 - Engineering students Liam Butters and Austin Warren (left in stripes) push a VW Bug to raise money for the United Way in Greater Victoria, in front of the Student Union Building at the University of Victoria in Victoria, BC, Canada. PHOTOGRAPH BY DEDDEDA

(Photograph by Della Rollins)

Katrina Wong, 24
Biology and English

My first impression of the University of Victoria was that it was small and isolated, but, once I stayed a while, I realized that’s the beauty of it. It only takes about 10 minutes to walk from one end of the campus to the other, and the stars really shine at night, unlike at schools in bigger cities.

UVic deserves its reputation as a top Canadian university, but it doesn’t just excel because of its research. It also offers a broad range of high-quality programs. If you choose to go here, the teachers and friends you’ll meet will help you to discover the truth about who you are and the person you want to become. The professors are always happy if you drop in for a chat during office hours. You’ll get excellent advice.

The campus’s concrete-jungle aesthetic was off-putting when I first arrived, but when I saw the autumn leaves against the pebble-grey tiles, my perspective completely changed. The cherry blossoms in spring offered another beautiful contrast. One might say UVic is all about offering students the time to bloom, so that when they finally graduate, they will be the best they can be. It’s almost impossible not to grow, thanks to the co-operative academic advisers, career counsellors (who will still be available to you after you graduate, when it matters most), the extensive library, the thousands of different people available to interact with (including a growing international community) and two (soon to be three!) gyms—one of which has a deep pool for divers. The new Mystic Market at the University Centre has expanded food options, and that includes gelato at Berries.

Vikes Recreation sports clubs include some that take advantage of the island location, such as scuba diving, caving and surfing. There is also tennis, hockey, dance, martial arts and racquet sports, to name a few. The University of Victoria Students’ Society (UVSS) clubs offer opportunities to learn new languages, get published, debate, compete with fellow gamers, headbang, embrace different cultures and change the world. Or you can start your own club.

City Vibe
Downtown Victoria is a refreshing change from bigger cities. You can have a date at the Soda Shoppe with a chocolate milkshake after whale-watching from a boat on the ocean. You can stroll down the pier overlooking the moonlit inner harbour, then gorge on a multitude of delectable edibles offered by restaurants, food trucks and the recently opened Victoria Public Market inside a former Hudson’s Bay store. You can spend the afternoon spoiling yourself in the local boutiques lining the streets, shooting pool at Peacock Billiards or drinking in a pub before reviving yourself with a nature hike around Thetis Lake or on Galloping Goose trail.

The Skinny
Stay tuned to the student union website,, for updates on school events, and “like” I Heart Downtown Victoria on Facebook for all your city cravings.