The community approved a college on the North Shore 50 years ago

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NORTH VANCOUVER B.C. – Community captains, committees and a White Spot parking lot led to the establishment Capilano University.

March 7, 2018 marks 50 years since a plebiscite passed to establish a college on the North Shore. The proposed college would cost taxpayers in West Vancouver and North Vancouver $7 a year on a home valued at $25,000(!); in the Sechelt and Howe Sound areas, it was approximately $4 a year.

“If there’s anyone on the North Shore who doesn’t know about the upcoming plebiscite on March 7 for the proposed community college, it certainly won’t be the fault of the women of the community,” states a newspaper column from 1968.

The West Vancouver women’s division of the campaign in favour of the college appointed a captain with a committee for each school boundary in each community. The captain and committee were to find a “block girl” and each girl was tasked with calling on her neighbours, leaving a fact sheet and requesting they vote.

While girls took to the sidewalks, students plastered cars in West Vancouver with bumper stickers that read: “I’m for N S College” and canvassed the public in the White Spot parking lot on Marine Drive.

The plebiscite passed with a sufficient majority in North Vancouver, West Vancouver and Howe Sound.

Capilano College’s classes that first year were held in portables on the grounds of West Vancouver secondary school, with 784 students. Fifty years later, Capilano University’s student body is more than 10 times that size at campuses in North Vancouver and Sechelt.

Such historical tidbits are presented with a timeline, stories and videos at capilanou.ca/50. Here, members of the public can submit their own recollections, check out vintage CapU curios and read about Capfest – the University’s upcoming celebration on September 22, 2018 that’s open to everyone. This year marks Capilano University’s 50th year and CapU wants to share the experience and celebrate with its community.

“We are proud to highlight our history and the achievements and contributions of our then-college, now University, to the world,” says Toran Savjord, acting president of Capilano University. “We hope everyone with a connection to us will mark their calendars to celebrate with us on September 22.”

About Capilano University
Capilano University is a teaching-focused university based in North Vancouver, with programming serving the Sunshine Coast and the Sea-to-Sky corridor. The University offers 99 programs, including bachelor’s degrees in areas as diverse as film, jazz, early childhood education and tourism management. Capilano University enrols approximately 10,500 students each year, 8,200 in for-credit programs and 2,300 in non-credit courses. Capilano University is named after Chief Joe Capilano, an important leader of the Squamish (Sḵwx̱wú7mesh) Nation of the Coast Salish people. Our campuses are located on the territories of the Lil’wat, Musqueam, Sechelt (shíshálh), Squamish and Tsleil-Waututh Nations.

For more information, or to schedule interviews, please contact:

Cheryl Rossi
Senior Communications Advisor
Capilano University
t: 604 983 7596
c: 778 879 7119
e: cherylrossi@capilanou.ca 

Submitted by: Cheryl Rossi


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Linda Munro