On May 3, 1983, VCC faculty and students organized the "Last Great Trek," a festive parade which saw more than a thousand students, instructors, staff, and administrators march from the grounds of the former King Edward campus on Oak St. and 12th Ave.—which was lost to fire in 1973—to their brand new, state-of-the-art facility at 1155 East Broadway.
VCC has opened its doors to international students since 1999 and currently hosts approximately 650 learners from more than 40 countries. Over 30 different languages are spoken across our student population, including American Sign Language (ASL), also taught as part of the ASL and Deaf Studies program.
Since 2007, more than 1,000 school children without access to insurance have received free dental examinations and preventative treatments at VCC’s downtown dental clinic, thanks to the annual Chevron Tooth Trolley event. “Tooth Fairies”—Certified Dental Assistant, Dental Reception Coordinator and Dental Hygiene students—provide the services and at the same time, gain valuable hands-on experience.
At one time VCC offered courses in cobbling (shoe making and repair), watch repair, power sewing, cabinet making, radio and telecommunications, marine navigation, travel agent training, mine safety, and brick laying and plastering. Some evolved into course work in other programs, were transferred to other training institutions or deemed obsolete and discontinued, reflecting the changing times and consumer and educational demands.
The creations of fashion arts students have been shown at the annual Fiat Mode fashion show with more than 2800 model changes performed to date. For the first time, this year's Fiat Mode XXVIII took place as part of Vancouver Fashion Week, exposing 120 looks of 24 graduating students—which can be viewed in photos and video to media and industry.
In 2005, the Downtown Vancouver Association honoured VCC with special recognition for "an outstanding contribution to the quality and character of Downtown Vancouver through its vision, commitment, and investment in establishing educational institutions that have enhanced the economy and vibrancy of the city core".
In 2013, 13 deaf and hard of hearing students took part in a live video chat with Canadian astronaut Julie Payette who spoke with the students from her office in Washington, D.C. where she does scientific research.
VCC drafting grads have had the opportunity to work on some spectacular projects since commencing. The Sea-to-Sky Highway, Canada Line, Vancouver Convention Centre, Safeco Field (Seattle), YVR International Terminal, BC Women's and Children's Hospitals, and former Lululemon CEO, Chip Wilson's private residence are all projects that VCC grads have been a part of.
Bill Richardson, Evelyn Lau, George McWhirter, Mark Leiren-Young, Susan Musgrave, Gary Geddes and Jay Clarke (pen name Michael Slade) are among the noted B.C. authors who have been writers-in-residence at VCC. Crime writer and lawyer Michael Slade responds to questions about his time at VCC, his "Mountie noir” genre and advice to aspiring writers.
VCC’s Continuing Studies offers the only program in Vancouver that officially certifies wine sommeliers through a partnership with the International Sommelier Guild (ISG). Courses in the art of tea drinking and certification as a tea sommelier are also offered in partnership with the Tea Association of Canada.
In 1980, VCC became the first college in B.C. to introduce co-operative education programs, providing students with the opportunity to apply their knowledge in a practical work setting before starting their professional careers.
In 1935, the current location of VCC's downtown campus was proposed as the site for a new City Hall. The decision by Mayor Gerry McGeer to build at 12th and Cambie came after 2,000 people rioted in downtown, making Vancouver the first major Canadian city to locate its City Hall outside its downtown core. The art deco structure opened in 1936, the year of Vancouver’s Golden Jubilee.
The interiors and exteriors of VCC's downtown and Broadway campuses have been used as locations for such TV series as The Flash, Supernatural, Motive and Once Upon a Time, as well as commercials and films, most notably the 2014 remake of Robocop. The Building B nursing labs and other health sciences facilities can often be spotted on screen 'playing' hospital settings.
VCC is the only Vancouver culinary arts program offering meat, poultry and seafood cutting and processing as part of training, with students using 60 sides (18,000 lbs) of beef alone annually in the preparation of meals served in dining facilities and for sale at Seiffert Market. VCC once offered meat cutting and wrapping, sausage making and charcuterie training and even had a smokehouse.
In 2012, VCC became the first Metro Vancouver post-secondary institution to eliminate the sale of bottled water on campus, adding nine new fountains with automatic bottle fillers. As of August 2015, the automatic fillers have dispensed 541,369 bottles worth of delicious Vancouver tap water. If laid end to end, those bottles would stretch from here to Victoria!
Did you know? VCC alumni receive a whole lot of perks!
- Access to the VCC Library
- 10% off VCC insignia items
- 10% off VCC salon & spa services
- Discounts with Canadian Direct Insurance
- No annual fee for car2go
- 10% off on co-working space with the Network Hub
- Invitations to exclusive networking events
In 1912, a stained-glass window was installed in King Edward High School which became the King Edward campus of VCC in 1962. The window, which features the face of King Edward VII, was saved from demolition after a fire destroyed the building in 1973, and installed on the second floor of the Broadway campus library after the new campus was built in 1983.
For 45 years, Vancouver Community College has operated the largest and longest running training program for dental health professionals in the province, with more than 150 students graduating each year. Training includes providing low-cost dental care to seniors and others in need, serving more than 1,000 patients annually at the 36-seat downtown clinic and, conducting oral health presentations to more than 1,000 school-aged children.
The Right Honourable Kim Campbell, Canada’s first and only female Prime Minister, was a lecturer at VCC (Political Science & History) from 1978-81. She noted that the idea of entering politics, initially as a Vancouver School Board trustee (1980-84), came to her during her time teaching at both VCC and the University of British Columbia. She was the first Canadian Prime Minister to be born and elected in B.C.
Each day, culinary arts program students prepare more than 500 plated meals (125,000 meals annually) as part of their training. Some of the ingredients include: potatoes - 30,000 lbs./year; onions - 15,000 lbs./year, and 1,500 lbs. of garlic. Culinary and baking and pastry arts students combined use 6,000 eggs a week or 312,000 a year in the creation of baked goods, desserts and savoury items.
Over the past year, Automotive Service Technician and Collision Repair students have been working on a 1950s era fire truck for the Britannia Beach Volunteer Fire Department to use in parades and community events. Serving Britannia Beach, Furry Creek and Lions Bay for more than 110 years, the BBVFD is one of the longest-operating volunteer fire departments in B.C.
Alberta Premier Rachel Notley was appointed by an Order in Council by the Province of British Columbia to the VCC Board of Governors on July 27, 2001 for a one-year term.
On June 30, 2011 Members of Junior Culinary Team Canada – all Vancouver Community College chefs cooked a Canadian-inspired feast for William and Kate in the garden of Government House in Ottawa at the couple’s first dinner of a nine-day royal tour of Canada.
Stay tuned for more facts.
For 50 years Vancouver Community College has built up the thousands of tradespeople and artisans whose talent, innovation and achievement make our city what it is today.