History book records South Vancouver school story

Comox Valley residents Ken MacLeod and Linda Graceffo have produced a monster book.

Two locals, Ken MacLeod and Linda Graceffo of Sparkling Graphics, have combined to produce a monster book — an 848-page hardcover book.

It’s called The Story of South Vancouver and John Oliver High School. The book is an exhaustive record on the history of South Vancouver from its beginnings in the early 1860s and now the largest part of present–day Vancouver and the high school, which was once the largest high school in Canada.

The book is based on more than 200 interviews and numerous other resources, including old newspapers and earlier publications that attempted to record the history of schools and districts such as Collingwood and Cedar Cottage that were part of South Vancouver.

MacLeod started the work 12 years ago from his home in Langley. On various visits to the City of Vancouver Archives, he had noticed very little about the history of the former municipality. He was also concerned that the memory of high school life in a large city such as Vancouver would be lost to history if someone didn’t record some of these memories.

He and his wife Cheryl retired to the Comox Valley in 2007. MacLeod was formerly a teacher in the Abbotsford School District.

Linda Graceffo has operated a graphic design business in the Comox Valley since 2003. She began working out of her home for the first couple of years until she established an office in downtown Courtenay.

She is originally from Grand Forks and previously lived in Kelowna and Vancouver before moving to the Comox Valley. Graceffo took her graphics training at Excel Career College in Courtenay.

She is a talented and hard–working designer who is able to keep her cool during the inevitable stress–filled periods that accompany such a work as this, which involved 590 photographs.

Until she took on the work of designing MacLeod’s project, the largest book that Graceffo had done was 280 pages. Her work includes “a combination of both yearbooks for local elementary schools and books for a combination of local and Vancouver Island self-publishers from biographies, fiction and non-fiction.”

She offers a wide variety of services that include logo, business/rack cards/brochures, print and web advertising and web advertising, publications and magazines, newsletters, signage for trade shows, website design and management “that caters to entrepreneurs and non–profits, providing cost-effective design solutions.”

Linda is also thinking of expanding Sparkling Graphics into the self–publishing business.

The first printing of the book has sold out. MacLeod is now taking names for a second printing. If anyone wishes to pre–order a copy, contact Ken MacLeod at 250–338–9241 or KenMacLeod2@gmail.com.

MacLeod is a regular contributor to the British Columbia History magazine. His article on the history of John Oliver High School appears in the fall of 2012 edition.

He was also the military subject adviser to the Encyclopedia of British Columbia (Harbour Publishing, 2000). MacLeod has conducted 24 military and veterans tours to Northwest Europe and Italy since 1995, revisiting the Canadian battlefields, cemeteries, and commemorative sites and establishing extensive relations with people in France, Belgium, the Netherlands, and Italy.

MacLeod is an admirer of the late Barry Broadfoot, who produced several books beginning with Ten Lost Years (Canada and the 1930s) that are based on interviews that he made as he criss–crossed Canada during the late 1960s to the 1980s.

His next work is an aural history of the West Coast salmon–fishing industry. MacLeod began interviewing oldtime fishermen along the B.C. coast in the mid–1970s.

— Ken MacLeod


Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

The CSRHD board moved closer to passing a budget with a $4.4 million cut to the tax requisition. Photo by Mike Chouinard
Comox Starthcona hospital district moves on budget with tax cut

At $12.6 million, budget requisition represents drop of $4.4 million for current year

Courtenay councillor Will Cole-Hamilton, standing at right, sits on steering committees of two organizations that are tackling the problem of greenhouse gas emissions. File photo
Courtenay councillor leads campaign to reduce building-sector GHG emissions

Courtenay councillor Will Cole-Hamilton wants local governments to carry a little more… Continue reading

A rendering shows the entrance planned for the Hornby Island Arts Centre. Image supplied
Numerous Comox Valley projects get CERIP grants

Numerous Comox Valley projects have received grants through the Community Economic Recovery… Continue reading

Thrifty Foods. (Black Press file photo)
Thrifty Foods confirms staff member tests positive for COVID-19 in Courtenay

The company currently lists 12 stores within B.C. with confirmed cases

Comox Valley Schools’ distance learning program, Navigate (NIDES), which saw some large gains in enrolment this year, could see a return to normal numbers come September. Image, screenshot
Comox Valley Schools expects enrolment drop come fall

Decline projected online, as more students return to ‘bricks-and-mortar’ classes

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry updates B.C.’s COVID-19 situation at the B.C. legislature. (B.C. government)
B.C. reports 10 additional deaths, 395 new COVID-19 cases

The majority of new coronavirus infections were in the Fraser Health region

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Nanaimo Ladysmith Public Schools is preparing a rapid response team proposal for submission to the B.C. Ministry of Education. (Chris Bush/News Bulletin)
Nanaimo-Ladysmith school district chosen as COVID-19 rapid response team

Team to consist of SD68 and Island Health staff, according to B.C. Ministry of Education

A new survey has found that virtual visits are British Columbian’s preferred way to see the doctor amid the COVID-19 pandemic. (Unsplash)
Majority of British Columbians now prefer routine virtual doctor’s visits: study

More than 82% feel virtual health options reduce wait times, 64% think they lead to better health

Carolyn Howe, a kindergarten teacher and vice president of the Greater Victoria Teachers’ Association, says educators are feeling the strain of the COVID-19 pandemic and the influx of pressure that comes with it. (Nina Grossman/News Staff)
Stress leave, tears and insomnia: Island teachers feel the strain of COVID-19

Teachers still adjusting to mask and cleaning rules, pressures from outside and within

Ella Donovan with mom Tina outside Fuller Lake Arena before heading onto the ice for practice. (Photo by Don Bodger)
Young Ladysmith skater watches and waits in battle against cancer

Ella Donovan’s tumour began a tumultuous time, but community support eased the burden

Captain and Maria, a pair of big and affectionate akbash dogs, must be adopted together because they are so closely bonded. (SPCA image)
Shuswap SPCA seeks forever home for inseparable Akbash dogs

A fundraiser to help medical expenses for Captain and Maria earned over 10 times its goal

The missing camper heard a GSAR helicopter, and ran from his tree well waving his arms. File photo
Man trapped on Manning mountain did nearly everything right to survive: SAR

The winter experienced camper was overwhelmed by snow conditions

Cory Mills, Eric Blackmore and A.J. Jensen, all 20, drown in the Sooke River in February 2020. (Contributed photos)
Coroner confirms ‘puddle jumping’ in 2020 drowning deaths of 3 B.C. men

Cory Mills, Eric Blackmore and A.J. Jensen pulled into raging river driving through nearby flooding

Most Read