The 1923 UBC Yearbook, with a rather political cartoon titled Student Floats - Point Grey Pilgrimage from 1922 by someone named Homish or Hamish (his full name probably appears somewhere in this yearbook). This comic pokes fun at the future class of ‘26, who will no doubt be packed like sardines in the Fairview Campus. This was before construction of UBC at Point Grey was completed, and students upset with the lack of progress took their discontent to the streets. From UBC:

The increasing hardships in conducting classes at Fairview prompted UBC students to solicit public support through a petition to encourage the provincial government to resume work at Point Grey. A.M.S. president Ab Richards headed a “Build the University” campaign beginning in the Spring of 1922. An Executive Committee consisting of Richards, R.L. McLeod, J.V. Clyne, Betty Somerset, Marjorie Agnew, Jack Grant, Aubrey Roberts, Al Buchanan, Percy Barr and Alumni Association president John Allardyce coordinated the student activities…

The activities of the week culminated in a pilgrimage to Point Grey now known as the Great Trek. On October 28th almost 1,200 students with floats, bands and banners marched through downtown Vancouver and on to the Point Grey campus.

Arriving late in the afternoon, the students climbed the concrete stairs of the Science Building and hung their banners on the exposed girders. The students then formed a living “U B C” on the ground as a symbolic gesture to lay claim to the unfinished campus. The pilgrimage ended with the dedication of the cairn which still stands in front of the Chemistry Building. The students threw stones in the hollow centre of the structure which had been designed by the university architects and built from rocks gathered on the campus site. It was somehow fitting that the students completed the first structure at Point Grey. Richards expressed the hope that “very soon around this pile of rock, buildings will rise and a university be established which will bring credit to our Alma Mater and renown to the province.”

I showed you my favourite Vancouver high school yearbook of all time; this is probably my favourite University yearbook of all time! I’ll show another cartoon from 1923 soon, and then more from 1924 too! Thanks to Neil Whaley for this great artifact!

Bonus: Watch the story of BC Higher Education here.

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