Phase One: 1967 – 1977
In the late spring of 1967, the University Administration and the Faculty Association agreed to establish a Faculty Club at the University of Victoria. The parties established an Interim Executive Board for such a Club, comprised of 10 members: seven members appointed by the Faculty Association and three members appointed by the University Administration.
The task of the Interim Board was to prepare a constitution, establish a financial arrangement with the University for the operation of the Club, establish membership eligibility and a dues structure, determine the scope of services to be provided, and undertake such other actions as required to establish the Club. The overall guideline was that the Club should be a “separate entity, controlled or dominated by neither the Faculty Association nor the University Administration.”
The Interim Executive Board first met on June 19, 1967 and elected Mr. R.W. (Bob) McQueen as its Chair.
It was intended that the Club would fulfill an important role, a portion of which had been previously fulfilled by the Faculty Association’s Entertainment Committee. It was hoped that the Club would become a pivotal “social melding” vehicle to help bring the rapidly expanding and diverse campus constituency together as a “university community.” At the time, the University community was comprised of at least five discernible groups: the Victoria College cadre and their former Normal School compatriots and the “newcomers,” notably from UBC, the UK and the United States. The Board of Governors and the Faculty Association were strong supporters of the concept of the Faculty Club becoming a unifying element.
The Interim Board deliberated on its task for the next five months through six meetings. It proposed a constitution under the Societies Act, negotiated with the University and other affected parties for the exclusive use of Hut E, and subsequently changed the name of Hut E from the Faculty Hut to the Faculty Club. The Interim Board determined that membership should be open to all employee groups at the University; membership was to be inclusive of the University community with the exception that it would not embrace undergraduate or graduate students as ordinary members.
The Registrar at the time coined the phrase to describe the membership as “Members of the Faculties and Departments but not necessarily Faculty Members.” Membership categories and definitions were topics of debate over several years with terms such as “adjunct” and “active” and “professional” requiring more precise definition as the Club worked towards implementation of its concept of inclusiveness.
Notwithstanding the fact that the administrative framework for the Club had neither been developed nor approved, the Interim Board opened the doors to Hut E on July 3, 1967 as an operating entity and invited the University community to come and partake in a regular luncheon service provided through arrangements with Karin’s Delicatessen for the duration of Summer Session 1967. The luncheon service was stopped at the end of Summer Session and was recommenced on September 18, 1967.
The Interim Board set October 19, 1967 as the date for the first annual general meeting of the “Faculty Club of the University of Victoria.” In preparation for that meeting, the Interim Board had prepared a constitution, established a fee structure based on annual dues of $24 per year, prepared a draft operating agreement with the University Administration, established membership eligibility, debated and decided some issues such as dress code, chit payment system, games and reading room requirements, etc. The Interim Board also recruited additional “phantom Board members” in order to have the 15 members required for the Club to apply for incorporation under the Societies Act of BC.
On October 19, 1967, the first annual general meeting of the Club was held in Room 101 of the McLaurin Building. By that time, 63 members had joined the Club of which 45 attended the meeting. Seven directors were elected to the Board, several of whom had been on the Interim Board. It was announced that the Club had been incorporated under the Societies Act and that an application to serve liquor in the Club had been prepared for submission to the Liquor Control Board. An agenda for action by the Directors was outlined and the meeting was then adjourned.
On October 26, 1967, the first meeting of the permanent Board was held. Dr. Steve Jennings was elected Chair, Dr. Friedman was Vice Chair, Mr. Halliwell as Secretary, and Mr. McQueen as Treasurer. The Treasurer was authorized to submit an application to the Liquor Control Board to permit liquor to be served in the Club commencing in 1968 on a regular basis. Heretofore, liquor had been served through use of a daily Liquor Control Board Banquet Permit. An official bar opening was set for 4:30 pm November 9, 1967.
On November 2, the Club hired Mr. Jones as Club Steward. Mr. Jones had previous experience in the Canadian Armed Forces. The Board also established the following bar prices: Martini or Manhattan – 70 cents; Gin, Rum, Rye, Vodka – 50 cents; Scotch – 60 cents; Domestic Sherry – 35 cents; Import Sherry – 50 cents; Beer 40 cents. Later in November, the Board discussed the need for refurbishment of the Club and allocated $100 for the purchase of a refrigerator.
During December 1967, the Club forwarded to the Board of Governors a draft Operating Agreement and a proposal for alteration and renovations required to make the Club a reasonable operating entity. The Board of Governors subsequently agreed to these improvements as well as suggesting some further improvements. The improvements were to occur as soon as possible.
During January 1967, the Club forwarded to the Board of Governors a draft Operating Agreement and a proposal for alterations and renovations required to make the Club a reasonable operating entity. The Board of Governors subsequently agreed to these improvements as well as suggesting some further improvements. The improvements were to occur as soon as possible.
During January 1968, House Rules were adopted, and a chit credit system was approved with a target implementation date of January 12, 1968. Membership in January was reported in excess of 150 and climbing. By the end of Febuary membership had risen to 175, and the food and beverage service was viable, showing a surplus from the beginning of the year of $270 from the food and $150 from the bar.
In March, one of the Board members resigned and Dr. Bill Cross was named as a replacement. The Club was closed from March 23rd to April 11th for the much needed renovations. The reopening was marked as a special occasion with drinks being offered at a price of two for one, with a free smorgasbord for members and a $2.00 charge for non-member guests.
From April to September 1968, the Board continued to be active on all fronts in the development and management of the Club. One of the Board members resigned in April and Mr. Alf Loft was named as a replacement. The Board reviewed the scope of the Club Steward position and the likely longer term need for an overall Club Manager. The Club Steward decided to resign effective July 31st and the Board, after seeking professional advice, began the search for a Club Manager.
On July 3, the position was accepted by Mr. Glen Foster, a fully trained an qualified Chef. At the time of appointment, Mr. Foster held the position of Executive Chef at one of Victoria’s major food and lodging establishments.
The Board was pleased to appoint someone with Mr. Foster’s experience and felt he would be able to lead the Club in its further development.
The Club ended its summer activities by setting September 30, 1968 as the date for the second annual general meeting to be held in the Faculty Club at 8:00 p.m.
At the second Annual General Meeting Messer’s Cross, Loft and Friedman were re-elected to the Board. The Board thus had continuity with a focus on improving the physical facilities and the day to day operation of the Club under the direction of the new Club Manager, Mr. Glen Foster.
To provide an incentive for the staff and Manager to improve the operations, the Directors developed a gratuity system for the staff and a bonus program for the Manager. A project to improve the physical facilities of the Club was developed at a projected cost of $22,000.
The improvements were for the washrooms, furnace area, cloakroom, rewiring, kitchen and dining room furniture an involved a proposed 1200 square foot addition. The Board agreed to contribute $5,000 to the project with its contribution being directed to the washroom and furnace improvements. The project was complicated by the fact that Hut E did not come close to meeting current building code requirements (for example, the foundation was still of posts resting on small concrete pads.)
For the next four years, the Board of Directors maintained its focus on improving the physical facilities, refining and improving the day to day operations of the Club. Reciprocal arrangements were made with other Faculty Clubs in Canada and abroad. The food and beverage service continued to improve and special events became a staple of Club activities.
The Board of Governors and the University President used the Club extensively for University events. The Governor General of Canada and the Lieutenant Governor of BC were wined and dined at the Club as were the University’s distinguished Honourary degree recipients, including Sir Edmund Hilary, Maureen Forrester and Northrup Frye.
University departments hosted their special events and dined their guest speakers at the Club. Membership continued to grow, reaching over 300 by 1972. Revenues continued to climb and the Club had clearly developed into a thriving and sustainable entity.
The membership base and activities of the Club had broadened to the point that the Directors even discussed changing the name to the University Club.
The Club eventually embarked on a $40,000 addition to Hut E involving new furniture, an expanded dining room and a private dining room. The Board of Governors agreed to contribute half of the cost of these proposed improvements.
In 1974 the Board of Directors concluded that the Club probably would require either further expansion or a new building in a new location soon. From 1974 to 1977 this prospect became the major focus of the Board’s attention and deliberations. This attention and focus marked the beginning of the Club’s evolution into Phase Two: a new Club facility in a new location, completed in 1982.
(Note: The above history was compiled by Bill Cross and Trevor Matthews.)