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Glenn Gould and His Influence on Russian Music — July 29, 2016

Glenn Gould and His Influence on Russian Music

Canadian pianist Glenn Gould was nervous on May 7, 1957 in the Bolshoi Hall of the Moscow Conservatory. He was just kicking off his tour of Russia, the first time he’d ever been overseas to perform. In the midst of the hottest period in the Cold War, Gould was the first ever pianist to perform in Russia since 1945. The sparse numbers of the crowd there weren’t sure what to expect, nor quite did he. None of them knew that in the course of the next two weeks, Gould would introduce the Moscow and Leningrad natives to an entirely new form of music. One that would challenge the long-standing Russian music tradition and show them the thriving cultural world outside of the socialist regime.

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Gould shaking hands with the Leningrad Philharmonic Orchestra conductor (image courtesy of telefilm.ca)

Traditional Russian music is very Romantic and emotional, and had been the main style for the last 100 years. Of course, the music produced by Russia was heavily controlled by the communist government, and defying orders lead to mysterious disappearances and meetings with Soviet leader Joseph Stalin himself. In 1948, a decree known as the Zhdanov Doctrine disgraced works from composers such as Arnold Schoenberg, Alban Berg, Anton Webern and Ernst Krenek and their camp (known as the Second Viennese School) which featured atonal music (music without a central key) as “formalist”. Their works were completely banned and never saw the light of day in Russia. Most musicians and almost the complete majority of the public, especially at the Moscow Conservatory, had not heard something as anti-Russian as the Second Viennese School.

Gould agreed to give a fourth concert on May 12th in the Maly Hall at the Moscow Conservatory. It was free to attend, and more of a lecture than a performance. But it was given on one condition by Gould: he could talk about anything he wanted to. The hall was jammed with students and professors to hear a lecture with the title of “Music in the West”. But as Gould explains, the truth was quite different from the title. “I dealt almost entirely with the [Second] Viennese School,” he remembered fondly, having loved the composers’ music from the school.

Several Soviet officials and young Communist Party informants also were at the lecture. When Gould announced that he would play music by the Second Viennese School, “There was a rather alarming and temporarily uncontrollable murmuring from the audience” as he recalled. Two older professors even led a demonstration against this music by immediately walking out of the hall. Students were undecided as whether to stay and support Western culture or leave and follow their teachers. Most of the hundreds who were there stayed and watched in awe as Gould played Berg’s Sonata, Webern’s Variations and two movements from Krenek’s Third Sonata. The feeling of the lecture, perhaps, can be explained best by Roman Vityuk, a theatre director:

“This place was full of people. Everyone here was expecting a miracle. I think this is how it looked. There was an impression [it was] in a concentration camp, the most terrible one. The most cruel. There was a little gathering place where they brought in the young prisoners. Generals, colonels, officers were watching from the front rows. There were prison guards, that’s for sure. These were the young Communist league informants, who were watching the behavior of others. The behavior of those who were welcoming this ‘first infiltrator’ from the bourgeois world with excitement. With open soul. Right away, this was a shock. Because you should not be surprised in a concentration camp. And when he started to announce, Schoenberg, Webern and Berg again, and when he got to Krenek, in the hall the young communists start to ask each other: ‘What did he say? What did he say?’ And in the audience the people started to say: ‘Krenek…Krenek…’ This was a new password for an entirely new comprehension of life.”

Afterwards, perhaps to comfort the slightly shocked and dazed Russian students, Gould played a delicious selection of pieces from The Art of Fugue and Goldberg Variations. Just like every stop on his tour, the applause was deafening, especially from the students. “This, I think, was the most exciting and the most memorable part of the Russian trip,” Gould later said.

Students watching Gould intently (image courtesy of Glenn Gould: The Russian Journey documentary)

The music that began to enter the hearts of the Russian listeners stayed with them even after Gould left the day after his Leningrad talk. He went against and told Russians to stop thinking about their dominant music culture, and instead look to more diverse music from various different cultures, and in the process discovering the Second Viennese School for Russia. Roman Vityuk says that “The Berlin Wall existed music, too, and perhaps Gould was one of those who were trying to break down the wall.” If Gould was indeed breaking down the wall, he was doing it with a very large hammer.

A crucial factor to value Gould’s importance and impact is how his image fares now in Russia. Back in Canada, a growing minority paints Gould as nothing more than an oddball who annoyingly played everything a different way. But pianists like Victor Ashkenazy still retain their huge admiration for Gould. “He’ll always be for me, certainly an idol. There’s no question about it. I think it’s wonderful that such an extraordinary man, extraordinary talent existed and he gave us a fascinating way of playing Bach, especially.” It is also definitely not the case at the Moscow Conservatory. Students there treat Gould celestially, one saying that Gould is “the great painter of sound and the poet of music…he’s Gould!”

“Now, 44 years later,” says Leonid Gakkel, “I absolutely earnestly believe that he was an alien. Glenn Gould was a visitor on this Earth. People cannot play the piano like that, I can assure you.” Was Gould the alien? Or, like he said, was going to Russia “like being the first musician to land on Mars or Venus”? But perhaps it does not matter which way it goes. Maybe the perfect combination of an eccentric revolutionary and a creativity-starved culture was necessary for the tour to be as successful as it was. Glenn Gould officially departed from Russia just over two weeks after he arrived. But in a way, he never really left.

The Legend (image courtesy of Library and Archives Canada)

Author: Lucas

Why Does History Matter? — July 25, 2016

Why Does History Matter?

Our youth often asks, why is learning history even necessary? Why does it matter what happened long ago? The answer is that history is inescapable. Without it, we wouldn’t know what our next step would be, because it connects things through time and encourages its students to take a long view of such connections.

Firstly, if we didn’t know the history of certain things we wouldn’t know how to evolve. Take for example the evolution of the wheel.

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Photo credit: geniusstuff.com


It started off to serve as a potter’s wheel, then later in 3500 B.C.; someone figured out how to use them for chariots. My point is that it started off as a rock with a hole in it, but it was so much more. This rock with a hole in it led us on a path to construct the, best, safest, lightest, and the fastest wheels we can.  If someone today would make a wheel that was similar to the first one ever made we know that this wouldn’t work out well because it didn’t work out back in 3500 B.C. when the people of Mesopotamia first made it. If we don’t educate ourselves about history, we are bound to repeat it.

I think it is so crucial that we educate students on both the black marks in history, and the positive things that shape our future. We need to talk about people like Hitler and what he did, so our youth doesn’t think that what he did was right. The students that are in elementary school, high school, and university are our future leaders. Anyone of them could have the potential to be the next prime minister. Another thing that we need to educate our students about is what things worked out smoothly in history. Take for example of how we live in a democracy, others have tried to run a nation with a dictatorship and it usually it doesn’t work out. We live in a democracy because it is what works the best for everyone, and what has worked in the past. If we don’t tell the adverse effects of why a dictatorship is not fair, we might repeat history and turn into an uncivilized nation.

This all, in a nutshell, is why History matters. It is not just ‘useful’ history is essential. So what do you think? What is the use or relevance of studying history?


Author: Anisha

Provincial Fair Murder Mystery — July 15, 2016

Provincial Fair Murder Mystery

As you may have known, the Provincial Fair occurred just last week. The alumni students were responsible for creating an activity one night, and they decided on a murder mystery. For this, we researched an actual murder that took place in Canada. However, there was no known guilty party, so we had to alter the mystery to make a conclusion.

In this blog post, you will find out all the known information of this murder mystery.

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Amy Redpath and Ada Redpath, image courtesy of Musee McCord Museum

Ada Redpath married John James Redpath in 1867, and the couple had five children; Amy, Peter, John Reginald, Harold, and Jocelyn Clifford. As she aged older, she became ill and depended a lot on Amy and Jocelyn Clifford – “Cliff”.

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Cliff Redpath, image courtesy of the Redpath Sugar Museum


Cliff Redpath went into the Arts program at McGill University and then later entered the Law program. He was very close to his sister, Amy, and spent a great deal of time with her. Later in Ada’s life, Cliff was the only son that remained at home, so he was responsible for managing the family fortune. He helped his mother as much as possible and in any way he could.

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Redpath Family Mansion, image courtesy of the Redpath Sugar Museum


The Redpath family was very wealthy; they owned a sugar refinery. On June 13, 1901 Cliff and Ada Redpath were found dead in Ada’s room.

Peter Redpath rushed to the room after he heard the gunshots, and found his mother and brother dead. The servants also rushed to help.

It was clear that the two had been shot. Ada Redpath died on the spot, but Cliff was apparently rushed to the Royal Victoria Hospital. However, there are no records of him being admitted or treated on.

It was decided that Cliff had had an epileptic seizure and then killed his mother and himself. Now, with our current knowledge of epilepsy, we know that is impossible for Cliff to have shot anyone during a seizure.

Furthermore, the case was very quick. The police weren’t involved; it was only two days after the murder that the case was deemed closed and the Redpaths were buried. No one bothered to look for proof as to why the Redpaths really died.

The coroner’s report was made by one Dr Roddick; who was desperately in love with Amy Redpath. For being one of the best physicians in Canada, the coroner’s report was terrible. It made little sense and was but half a page, which makes some people wonder: was Dr Roddick covering for himself, or perhaps his beloved?

As of today, we know the four suspects; Amy, Rose Shallow; the head maid, Peter, and Dr Roddick.

Amy Redpath Roddick was the only daughter in the Redpath family, as well as the eldest child. She never seemed interested in getting married, but married Dr Thomas Roddick in 1906, at the age of 38. She kept a diary and seemed to be incredibly devoted to her mother and brothers. Because Ada was so ill, Amy became the head of the house; she paid the bills, hired staff, did the family shopping, and more. Amy loved languages, literature, and theatre, and even wrote plays of her own. She donated a lot of money to McGill University; the Roddick Gates in honour of her husband, as well as some to the Redpath Library in honour of Cliff and Peter. When she died, she gave more money to McGill University, and the rest was split up between her nieces and nephews, as she did not have children of her own. Though she did love her mother very much, Amy also wanted to travel; this being a possible reason for her to kill her mother and brother.

Mary Rose Shallow was a maid for Ada when the murder occurred. After Ada’s death, she went on to live with Amy. Amy had left a monthly sum of money for Rose in her will, but Amy ended up outliving Rose, who died in 1943. Ada Redpath left a monthly sum for Mary Rose in her will, and as she was poor, this could be a reason as to why the maid might have killed Mrs Redpath.

Peter Redpath was the eldest son, and at 15 years of age, he became the head of the house when his father passed away. He briefly studied Sciences at McGill, but was too ill to stay long. Though he was offered a job at the family’s sugar refinery, he declined it, choosing instead to travel to various places to be cured from diseases that he had. After the death of his mother and brother, Peter’s health declined, and Amy went with him to California. He died in 1902 from tuberculosis. Because he had no children, all of his money went to his surviving siblings. It was said that Cliff was the favourite child, and Peter wished to inherit more of the family business and fortune.

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Dr. Thomas George Roddick, image courtesy of the McGill University Archives


Not much information is given on Thomas Roddick. We know that he is the man that wrote the coroner’s report after Cliff and Ada’s death, and he later married Amy Redpath. He was the family physician, and supposedly examined the bodies, but it is said that he was not actually in Montreal at that time. Maybe he wished for Amy to be free so he could marry her?

It is still unknown who was really the murderer, so this story remains a mystery. Who do you think did the crime?

Sources: To write this blog post, I used what I learned about the Redpaths at Provincial Heritage Fair as well as Great Unsolved Mysteries in Canadian History.


Author: Julia

Final Day at the Fair — July 8, 2016

Final Day at the Fair

Today was the last day of Provincial Heritage Fair 2016. It brought many bittersweet feelings for all of us. Upon our arrival at the beginning of the week, I was thinking about how long the days would be. It seemed like it would be weeks before I would have to go home, but suddenly, it’s all over. I don’t know how the others feel, but I am extremely sad. Of course, I miss my family back home, but in a sense, I have found a new family here; one that I will also miss when it is time to leave.

Friendships formed

After another great breakfast in the cafeteria this morning, we loaded the bus. I was thrilled for this activity! We drove to Granville Island (it seems as if every time we climb onto the bus, at least half of the group falls asleep. There must be something about buses that makes us tired). A couple tour guides gave us the full history of the Island, and then we were sent to do a scavenger hunt. Some of the clues were actually quite challenging, and I will admit that the alumni tried to provide answers that made sense, even if we hadn’t found the place yet… After a thorough search of the market, we returned to the rendez-vous spot, and the scavenger hunt was over. We were then free to explore! The students all split up into different groups depending on where they wanted to visit. There were many different shops to explore, and not nearly enough time to look through them all. However, I think just about all of us alumni came out with a couple cool things (chocolate definitely counts…). We also got to pick lunch from any place in the market, and I saw quite a variety of different meals, from fish and chips to bagels.

Walking tour of Granville Island, provided by the Vancouver Heritage Foundation

We all got back onto the bus, and after counting the students, we were all set to go. The bus conveniently took us all the way to the Chung Collection at the UBC Library, where we split into two groups. While the first group took a little tour, we stayed behind to do an art project. We each received a small canvas with a line through it. The topic was journeys, and we were to draw anything to represent that topic. I saw many, many varieties of journeys, including nature, injuries, and more. I, personally, drew parts that represented being a Heritage Fair participant compared to being a Heritage Fair alumni.

Visit to Granville Island!

After we had finished drawing, we were sent around to find materials to improve our drawings. Once again, there were many different materials used. Dirt was a common one, as well as leaves. Some others found flowers, ferns, and even used the paint on the pencils. It was interesting to see how each colour symbolized something for the drawings.

Finally, our art projects were named and finished, and we headed downstairs for a tour of the Chung Collection (ooh!). The presentation began with an introduction about the type of material the archives carries, as well as what they do. Their oldest materials are Babylonian clay tablets, from about 200 BCE. A couple rare books were shown to us, and that was pretty cool. As a Harry Potter fan, I was extremely excited to see a signed copy.

A model steamship in the collection, Photo credits to the Chung Library

We were then taken into the actual Chung Collection Gallery. Dr Chung enjoyed collecting many different things in relation to early exploration of Pacific Northwest, Immigration and settlement, and CPR. Apparently, he began to be interested in the CPR at a young age, and constantly kept posters and other pieces of history in a scrapbook. He later donated all of his collections to UBC, which consisted of many items, books, and also a model of a ship, which overall, it took him six years and over 4000 hours of working on the model for it to be completed.

When the tour was over, the students were given the option to go to the bookstore or to play basketball.I was surprised by the variety of things in the bookstore, from sweaters, mugs, and school supplies to colouring books, other books, and food. The students seemed to all be interested in at least something in the bookstore, as we were all occupied for quite a while. We hadn’t eaten since lunchtime, so I will admit that most of us succumbed to the power of dessert and bought chocolate (but we all deserved dessert. We worked very hard on…everything).

Having fun, regardless of the weather

Upon our return, we had dinner at the cafeteria, then headed to the lounge for the closing ceremonies. Firstly, Jane did a little speech, then Michael told us a story. Britney then explained to the students about the blog. The blog is very useful for students, as weekly posts and the alumni application (as well as Britney’s email) are all featured there. The alumni went up to the front to do their own speeches. In all, we mentioned how much fun the Fair was and a thank you to Jane, Britney, all of the chaperones, and all of the other alumnis for helping to make the Fair possible. A lot of different people did a lot of work to make sure that the Fair was fun for all of the students.

After the alumni talked, gifts were given out to the chaperones, followed by another story from Michael, and then a great slideshow that consisted of all of the pictures that the alumni had taken. Delicious chocolate cake was handed out to all of the kids and after eating their cake, special papers were distributed. The alumni created a collage of photos, consisting of minimum one photo of each person. Each student received a copy of the collage and they got all of their newfound friends to sign the back. I was quite surprised by the amount of people that wanted the alumni to sign their papers! It was an honour and made me feel incredibly important. I like to think that they wanted us to sign their papers because they hoped to become alumnis themselves.

Julia cuting the cake at the closing ceremonies

Once we had all exchanged emails and phone numbers and promised to talk, it was off to bed. As I sit here, I can recall all of the amazing memories I will now have to treasure forever. Though I will be extremely sad to leave my friends and UBC, I will always remember this Heritage Fair in a positive way, as I’m sure everyone else will. Besides, I’m sure that we will all be able to stay in touch!

Author: Julia

Provincial Fair- Day 3 — July 7, 2016

Provincial Fair- Day 3

After a good sleep and a great breakfast, the students packed all of their projects into the van and began the short walk to the showcase room. They had the honour of walking into the Opening Ceremonies behind the dignitaries into the room, where many parents, grandparents, and curious bystanders were waiting. After many speeches from a variety of different people, the students rushed to their projects, happy to present to the many dignitaries. It was wonderful to see how knowledgable they were about their subjects, and how excited they were to be there. We all learned many new things!

Students line up outside the “Nest” building to march formally in a parade.

After a couple hours of presentation (and a delicious lunch, of course), the projects were packed back into the van, and we rushed off to the BC Sports Hall of Fame. The tour guide gave us all a quick presentation about the Olympics, certain Olympians, and more. She then separated the students into five different groups and they went into the stations. In Badminton, the team was split in two, and they tried not to drop the birdie. In Long Jump, the kids competed to see who could jump the furthest, and in the limbo, they tried to bend as far as possible. Most groups were quite competitive and wished to beat all of the groups before them. Some of the kids even created their own strategies in order to win, and they clearly worked, as two of the groups made it past the lowest bar (though I must say, being short is quite an advantage).They also participated in a Wheelchair Race and did a quiz. The overall scores were announced and all the students climbed onto the podium to take a great picture!

Delegates have their picture taken at the BC Sports Hall of Fame. How cool is the podium?

The kids were then free to explore the rest of the Hall of Fame. They had many videos of the Olympics playing, as well as a Terry Fox gallery, a Rick Hansen gallery, the Aboriginal Sports gallery, and the hands-on part. The hands-on room consisted of an air hockey table, a climbing wall, and many more fun activities! There was a long line-up for the climbing wall, where you had to climb up the wall and the machine would slowly go down, like a vertical treadmill. It seemed like quite a workout, but the students all seemed to love it! It sure looked fun!

We climbed back onto the bus and went off to the beach. Luckily for us, the weather was completely opposite from what we expected; the sun shone! We brought our snacks onto the beach and sat on the sand. Some of the other students had fun chasing seagulls and burying each other in the sand while the rest of us had fun taking pictures, eating food (and more food), and talking.

Great day at the Spanish Bay beach!

About an hour later, we returned to UBC. After getting changed, everyone headed downstairs for some pizza and even more food! You would expect that, after all the snacks they give us, we wouldn’t have room for dinner, but I assure you, that is not the case. Presenting projects is hard work! Mark Smith, a Process Officer for the Treaty Commission, came to tell us about treaties in British Columbia. It was an interesting presentation; he taught us all about the Indian Act as well as many other negotiations taking place/that had taken place recently and over the years. The students were very interested by what he had to say, and he received many, many questions at the end of his presentation.

A very informational, inspirational, and eye-opening presentation!

By the time the presentation was over, it was time to head up for bed. After all, tomorrow is a very exciting day. It will be both very sad and very happy. The activities planned will be quite fun, but at the end of the day, we will have to say goodbye to Provincial Heritage Fair 2016. We have all had a wonderful time, learned a lot, and will have many new friends to contact! The Fair has been wonderful so far, and I know that the last day will not be any different.

Author: Julia

Special Showcase Edition —

Special Showcase Edition

The feature of the entire fair – and the reason why all students were at UBC – was the Provincial Showcase. It was at the Student’s Nest in the centre of campus, attracting both students passing through the building and interested strangers. After every project was distributed back to their eager owners, the set-up process began. Four rows of tables were covered by various poster boards and models including dioramas, newspapers, books, and interactive activities. However, before people could go and explore the projects, the opening ceremonies were held. A bagpiper led the procession into the hall, with several important dignitaries following. Britney Quail headed up the emcee duties (coincidentally, she is also our wonderful alumni coordinator!) and introduced Elder Larry Grant. He spoke about recognizing the unceeded territories that the entire campus resided on, and how we should all remember and recognize the various nations that inhabited the area before us. Afterwards, politicians Joyce Murray, David Ebey and Spencer Chandra Herbert spoke, thanking Elder Grant and reminding us to always be historically conscious and active. Members of different organizations also spoke, as well as faculty heads and the dean of the education faculty. President of the BC Heritage Fairs Society Michael Gurney finished off with a wonderful reminder that time capsules are not necessary in today’s world. He then declared the fair open.

View of the Showcase from above during set up


The projects were of a huge spectrum, ranging from Gold Rushes to pianists to tanks. Students all seemed very interested in their work and were excited to speak to me about their research findings. Some presentations that particularly spoke to me were projects about Alexander Graham Bell, Canadian Tanks of World War II, the Numbered Treaties and the Indian Act, and the journey of a Jewish refugee to Canada from Nazi Germany. Each of the 30-something projects taught me something new, and also gave me a new and refreshing perspective about old and often-done topics. Students were relaxed yet well-versed in their areas of knowledge, and answered questions with ease and confidence. The creativity of the projects completely blew me away. The various models and maps were completed to the final detail and had their own touches to the dioramas.

Will from the Kamloops-Thompson Delegation and his project on haunted hotels!


I had high expectations for the projects, and I was completely blown away. I walked away from the building feeling enlightened about Canada’s history, the showcase, and the students that made the projects.

Author: Lucas

Provincial Fair Day 2! — July 6, 2016

Provincial Fair Day 2!

The second day of the Provincial Heritage Fair brought more sunshine, smiles and historical enrichment. Major highlights included a visit to the Museum of Anthropology, Tower Beach and a special activity with the alumni team.

The whole team!

The sun rose early today, as did several students who were excited to begin the day early. After a delicious breakfast at Totem Park cafeteria, the delegation set out to the first destination of the day. With a sprawling number of 36,000 different artifacts from cultures all around the world, the Museum of Anthropology is a magnet for tourists and researchers everywhere. The group split into two different teams and took turns receiving tours around the museum. Our tour guide gave us insight into numerous Indigenous pieces, as well as European ceramics from several hundred years ago and the massive Multiversity Gallery. We left the tour thinking about the various artifacts we had viewed and their individual stories. A personal favourite of mine was the Unceded Territories gallery, featuring Indigenous shapes and animals with modern twists. I was particularly drawn to the drawing with four men in business suits with Indigenous monsters as heads. Other students were intrigued by the designs of Papua New Guinean Indigenous art, and by the military turrets that were set up during World War II and how they were incorporated into the museum’s design. The students ate lunch in a longhouse, recharging and re-energizing for the next adventure.

Learning at the MOA

The next destination was Tower Beach, a rocky landform on the shoreline of the University of British Columbia. There was an incredibly long stretch of stairs on the way down, and we happily trotted down them, oblivious to the fact that we would later have to struggle back up them. The tide was low, so several students went to explore the rocks that were covered in algae and barnacles. Others hung back and chatted on the logs that dotted the beach. During the walk back up the stairs, some keen students counted a whopping 382 stairs, all consecutive without any landings or space to take breathers. The journey back to Totem Park wasn’t over yet when we got to the top of the hill. It was a good 30 minutes before we finally reached our dorms, exhausted but elated.

Out and about at Tower Beach

The final activity of the night was the activity organized by the group of alumni. For the past day and a half, the team was working at any free moment on the execution of the game and how it would run. The game was to be in the manner of a murder mystery, with students dressing up as suspects and leading activities with a rotation of investigators. The students were all extremely excited to play the game and hypothesize who was the perpetrator. Even after the game ended, the students still kept chattering on about the characters and their various personalities.

Putting together a ripped diary puzzle clue…. was it Amy? Peter? The Dr.? The Maid?

Day two of the Provincial Fair was jam-packed with events of completely different natures. The students were able to learn and investigate their surroundings in various environments, and connected well with each other. Tomorrow, the day of the project showcase, the students will only continue to grow as historians, learners, and most importantly, friends.

Author: Lucas

PROVINCIAL FAIR DAY #1 — July 5, 2016


What an amazing start to the 8th annual BC Provincial Heritage Fair! After over a year of planning, and preparation, the week has been set out for students from all across the province to enjoy.

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The alumni team waited in anticipation for the first of the participants to arrive at Totem Park, a long-standing student dormitory building. One after the other, students arrived at the registration desk, following the chalk designs, and bunches of balloons put in place for their welcoming.

Did you know that the regional representatives came in from all across BC? They have traveled by bus, car, ferry, and even plane to attend this jam-packed week-long camp? Each participant received an extremely fashionable BCHFS t-shirt, and official Heritage Fair backpack.

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Students play “evolution” the icebreaker game based on rock-paper-scissors

Students broke the ice between each other with a very fun game of evolution, before boarding the bus to travel to Mountain View Cemetery. Once there, our group of three-dozen students split two ways. One of them went on a tour with one of the cemetery’s guides, while the other group examined various tombstones through crayon rubbings. After a while, the two groups swapped places in the activities.

Our tour guide, a lively one at that, revealed to us the stories, and symbolism behind multiple gravestones. The guide also shared her personal interests in the matter. Searching archives for the history behind tombstones, the funerals of their occupants, including the details and logistics of these events, are of her interest, especially when the subject is her family, and ancestors. At this time, many students benefited from the beautiful scenery, and pleasant weather to digest the newfound knowledge along with dinner.

It seemed as if the field trip was over no sooner than it had started. After a short session of pin-trading, we bid our farewells and returned to Totem Park.

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Pin trading has officially begun!

The fun wasn’t over- followed by some free time, Michael Gurney led everyone in an evening of games. Talent in stand-up performances was revealed as the students participated in the exciting activities. The students also enjoyed a second dinner of pizza, and fruit.

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BCHFS President, and theater actor extraordinaire lead the students in an Improv. and History seminar

The students took with them tonight the motivational words, and advice of Jane Watt, and Michael Gurney.

Amidst the nervous flutter, and chitter-chatter that comes with embarking upon new experiences, it was clearly visible that the students bonded greatly through the day’s activities. Here’s to an equally fun rest of the week!


Author: Vedanshi

Provincial Fair 2016 Starts Tomorrow! — July 3, 2016

Provincial Fair 2016 Starts Tomorrow!


 Follow our students’ adventures on social media with #HF2016

The BCHFS is excited to be hosting the 2016 Provincial Heritage Fair in Vancouver, BC! The Fair will take place at the Point Grey campus of the University of British Columbia. Students and chaperones will be accommodated in university residences while taking advantage of the beautiful natural environment, local cultural sites, and Vancouver’s vast array learning opportunities at venues on- and off-campus. This week’s schedule includes:

July 4: Tour of Mountainview Cemetery & evening “Improv. and Heritage” studio session

July 5: Museum of Anthropology, Picnic at Tower Beach,  UBC Farm Visit & Alumni run History Mystery

July 6: Provincial Showcase at UBC’s award-winning Student Union Building called”The Nest,” BC Sports Hall of Fame, dinner stop at Spanish Banks beach. Evening studio session: Mark Smith, Director of Process, British Columbia Treaty Commission

July 7: Adaptive Re-use Treasure Hunt Granville Island, Chung Collection at UBC, Evening Wind-up Celebrations

July 8: Departure and return home

The Provincial Fair Alumni Team will be keeping everyone up to date here on the blog and on social media. You can follow the BCHFS on Twitter and Instagram as well. And don’t forget to like us on Facebook! We’ve added a Youtube account too, check out videos we will upload.

Following the blog is easy! And you will get instantaneous updates to your email inbox whenever we post. All you need to do, is click the little blue box labeled “follow” in the right hand corner of your screen. You will be prompted to enter your email address and a confirmation email will be sent to your inbox within minutes. It’s that simple!


Countdown to Provincial Fair — July 2, 2016

Countdown to Provincial Fair

COUNTDOWN: 2 Days until Provincial Fair!


This entry was originally posted on our blog on May 29th 2014 just a few weeks ahead of the Provincial Fair in Kamloops. The author, Tristen, joined the Alumni Delegation last year’s Fair in Victoria. Below are a list of her expert tips for Provincials:

1. Make friends with people in your region: Most activities at the Provincial Fair require you to have a partner. Don’t make friends with just one person and stay with them the whole time. Instead, make friends with all in your region, so you will always have a partner and get stuck with someone you don’t know. The reason you make friends with those in your region is because you all will go onto the same bus, and possibly be on the same floor. (In the building you will live in)

2. Be prepared to present your project: If you heard the judges say something you could improve on during your interview, make sure you fix or change it. Don’t fool around before you go to the camp, and review the facts, so you don’t mess up while presenting.

3. “Upgrade” your project: Make sure the visual appeal of your project is at it’s highest notch, as many people will visit the provincial fair. In my view, I would say double as many people come. If your project seems like it’s missing something, but your project is at it’s highest visual appeal, maybe it’s your dialogue, or the overall “feel” of your project.

4. Don’t hesitate to ask: Other chaperons are happy to help whenever you don’t know where your chaperon is. I don’t suggest asking your friend for times and questions like that, just because they might not know exactly the answer to your question, or get the answer wrong.

5. PINS!!!!: This may seem weird and all, but the biggest “social” thing that happens at the Provincial Fair is trading pins. You get all these cool and funky pins from trading your own region’s pins. If you think the pins you own are useless, think again. You might be the only one who has that one pin, but most importantly, make sure you go to the city hall and ask politely for pins, and they happily will probably give them to you for free.

6. Enjoy your time at the Provincial Fair: The week will go by so quickly, you’ll regret not relishing every moment. Even if the pictures on the flyer look boring, or creepy, don’t worry. I was once in your spot, thinking that it would somehow be “summer school”. It actually was more like field trips every day, and fun, fun, fun.

7. Make conversations happen: Make sure you talk to the audience in a sense of casually, but the “formal” type of casual. Maintain a steady flow of facts and info, throwing in bits while conversing. Believe me, having a little chat full of your facts is MUCH easier than trying to link all your facts together and not letting your audience give feedback or replies. It’s also much easier for the audience.

8. And last of all……:HAVE FUN, make sure your project is absolutely amazing, be proud you made it to the provincial fair, make tons of friends, trade pins, enjoy your time there ,and look for moi(me in french, if you didn’t know).



P.S. I can’t emphasize this enough, ENJOY YOUR TIME!!!