If UVic, or any other post-secondary institution in town deserves a “best-of” for anything, it’s for being located in Victoria. Any new students hailing from anywhere else in Canada will soon realize this. Victoria is Vancouver without the rainy season; it’s got the best climate in the country, hands-down. If anyone disagrees with that, then they must get their jollies from the sting of weeks of −20° Celsius temperatures. No, Victoria doesn’t have a winter — or at least, what any true Canadian would consider a winter. Victoria’s mild climate makes being passed up by that morning 4, 14 or 26 bus all that much easier to bear.
And while you’re waiting for that 4, 14 or 26, perhaps for the second time, at least you know the trip won’t be too long. That’s the other advantage of Victoria — it’s a bona fide city without being anything like Blade Runner. Think of it as your favourite small town cloned about 50 times and stitched together. You have all the cool things a city offers, like live music venues, art galleries and sports arenas, but you also have the small-town experiences like running into your friends at the coffee shop down the street.
Farmers’ markets and farm stands. We have a lot of them. Eating organic and local food isn’t just a subject for mockery on Portlandia (but as it’s been said before, the TV show could easily be called Victoriandia). Grocery shopping is no longer a chore when visiting the Moss Street Market on Saturdays, for example, where you can get both freshly made mini-donuts and farm-fresh produce.
On campus, you’ll have your share of food outlets to choose from, though it remains to be seen if any of the cafeterias will be disrupted by this month’s potential strike (see page seven). In any event, some of the best food on campus can be found in the Student Union Building (SUB), where food outlets will remain open even if a strike occurs. The Munchie Bar has the best muffins on campus (try the pumpkin millet), and the Health Food Bar will introduce new, vegan smoothies this year.
Once midterms hit, you might not have much time to enjoy that balmy Victoria weather — you’ll be busy boning up on esoteric philosophies and elusive formulas. Remember: McPherson may have the best views, but it’s not the only library around. For Zen-like stillness and solitude, try the Diana M. Priestly Law Library (yes, you’re allowed in there even if you don’t have any attorney-esque ambitions). And the best library for cozying up with a good non-school tome isn’t on campus at all: it’s the Oak Bay branch of the Greater Victoria Public Library, just down the hill from UVic. There’s a charming little reading room complete with a fireplace.
The very best part of being a UVic student, however, is the fact that you’ll learn to question everything, from how to beat the bookstore line-ups to how the university is run. UVic may have a lot going for it, but it’s far from perfect. At the Martlet, we strive to celebrate the achievements of students and faculty, but at the same time, we know that trends like the corporatization of universities and cuts to education funding must be scrutinized. To see the best, you have to acknowledge what still needs work.
It may seem naïve to deal in superlatives, but we’re doing it. Here’s to your best year yet.