How Capilano University’s 50th anniversary marks an important moment in Canadian history
Annie Zhou, Contributor
Megan Orr, Opinions Editor
50 years is a long time. Capilano University was born of a need to have a post-secondary institution on the North Shore, and in five decades it has grown from its modest beginnings as a small college to become a full-fledged university. Students went to the college to upgrade their courses before going on to bigger things at universities with more attached to the name, schools like SFU and UBC. A lot has changed in the last 50 years, and like so many significant events in Canadian history, it wasn’t without growing pains, but is still worth celebrating. Anniversaries are important. Whether it’s a wedding, religion, country or a school.
The celebration of Canada 150 in 2017 gave Canadians the opportunity to celebrate the achievements of this nation and to get involved in their communities. However, the festivities were met with criticism due to high costs to the taxpayer, as well as a general disregard for First Nations communities who have been here for far longer than 150 years. However, these controversies do not take away from Canada’s many accomplishments before and after becoming a nation. The Canadian Pacific Railway (CPR) is one of Canada’s greatest achievements. The railway, completed in 1885, connected Eastern Canada to BC and played a significant role in the development of the nation. Cutting across rivers and through mountains, the railroad is a representation of the Canadian spirit of perseverance and resilience. Over its long history, the CPR diversified, establishing shipping lines and parks. With the creation of national parks and more and more adventure seekers being drawn out west, Canada’s tourism industry began to prosper.
Like the Canada 150 celebrations, this conversation about the railway is rather one-sided, considering that it was built on the backs of Chinese workers and ran up a death toll of an estimated 1,500 people. That’s the thing about history – the story is often one-sided. However, anniversaries are still worth celebrating, including their good, bad and ugly. Acknowledging triumphs as well as failures is what allows true growth.
We now have the opportunity to reflect on CapU’s success stories, although they were not without their own hardships. From struggling with student enrollment and program cutbacks, the University has not had an easy go of it. This does not diminish the school’s accomplishments though, it allows us to celebrate them. First, the sports program at the school is beyond exceptional. Capilano University Blues athletics has a long history of success. Since 1973, CapU has won many provincial and national titles, as well as Coach of the Year and Athlete of the Year.
Additionally, Capilano students have an impressive record of going on to fulfilling careers in many different sectors. Students are taught valuable skills that are highly desirable in any job market. From film and animation, to early childcare and everything in between, CapU grads are highly sought-after employees. Capilano University has a lot be proud of from the last 50 years. While it is still growing, the next 50 years promise to be full of achievement. Like Canada itself, CapU is continually working to be better, and that is worth celebrating.