Monday, May 25, 2015

Suggest New Use For VICC - VIU Arts & Humanities

Reader suggests new use for Vancouver Island Conference Centre

It can happen here
VICC = VIU Arts & Humanities

Brock University will be one of the latest institutions to get into the act when it begins construction of an academic and cultural arts centre in downtown St. Catharines, Ontario, this year. In British Columbia, the University of the Fraser Valley announced plans to open a campus in downtown Abbotsford while in Alberta, Grant MacEwan University aims to become “Edmonton’s downtown university.” 

Many see these campuses as solutions to the problem of decaying downtowns in smaller Canadian cities. Universities, in turn, are reaping community goodwill – as well as badly needed expansion space.

Leo Groarke, U of Windsor’s provost and vice-president, academic, says the downtown campus will be “a tiny island [of renewal] in the middle of urban decay.” But it’s not just the city that benefits. “From a teaching, learning and research point of view, universities need to be where the issues are,” he says, calling downtown the heart of the arts and culture scene as well as an important connection point for those who rely on social services.

Dr. Groarke has been through this exercise before. As a former dean and principal of Wilfrid Laurier University’s campus in downtown Brantford, Ontario (infamously described by a former mayor as “the worst” downtown in Canada), he presided over the creation of that city’s new campus. He also wrote the book – literally – on what many see as the model of how to transform a downtown with a university campus.

Andrew Homzy


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