The Last Great Trek
On June 19, 1973, Vancouver City College students could only stand and watch as flames consumed the bell tower, then the roof, then the majority of their King Edward campus building. The majestic structure, located on Oak St. and 12th Ave., had been a part of Vancouver’s landscape for over 68 years.
For a decade after the Great Fire, VCC students pursued their studies either in temporary structures on the King Edward grounds or in extra classrooms at VCC’s Langara campus to the south.
So it was an exciting and long-awaited day when, on February 1, 1983, a state-of-the-art $26-million campus opened at 1155 East Broadway.
A few months later, on May 3, 1983, VCC’s faculty association organized the “Last Great Trek,” which saw more than a thousand students, instructors, staff, and administrators march from the parking lot of their former school to join the opening ceremony at their new facility in East Vancouver.
Students painted signs and banners proclaiming their love for “K.E.C.” Others dressed in costumes or trade uniforms and piled into brightly decorated trucks and cars. “Tuesday was momentous,” reads the May 5, 1983 edition of a typewritten King Edward Times newsletter. Says campus principal Harry Pankratz, “I was proud to be a part of King Edward Campus.”