Concordia University Magazine

30 Things We Love About Concordia

On Concordia University's 30th anniversary, we look at what makes this institution special

30 Things We Love About Concordia (continued) 1 2 3 4 5

13. Shuttle buses
Shuttle buses

The first Shuttle bus, c. 1976, and the newer, flashier version. Photo courtesy of Concordia Archives/Photo at right by Christopher Alleyne

It began in 1976 as a 13-seat van that made seven return trips per day between the campuses. In the ’80s, the Concordia community was served by yellow school buses; then came the wheelchair-accessible Big Reds in 1992. In March of this year, the university unveiled a new, eye-catching fleet. More importantly, the upgraded shuttle buses provide greater capacity and run on a percentage of biodiesel.

In all incarnations, the free shuttle service has been well used — during rush hours and peak periods, line-ups and complaints remain a tradition. But with 5,000 passengers and more than 100 trips between the campuses daily — 1 million passengers per year — the long-suffering but colourful bus drivers always keep their cool.

14. Women’s hockey powerhouse
Women's hockey

Captain Lisa-Marie Breton and Marie-Claude Allard celebrate the Stingers’ victory at the 2002 Theresa Humes Invitational Hockey Tournament at Loyola’s Ed Meagher Arena. Photo by Andrew Dobrowolskyj

While their supremacy has waned in recent years, the women’s hockey Stingers ( dominated Canadian university women’s hockey through the ’80s and ’90s, winning the first two national championships in 1998 and ’99 and many national and international tournaments. Through the years, the women’s hockey team has been guided by coach extraordinaire Les Lawton, who’s chalked up more than 500 career victories.

Concordia has trained some of the top elite women’s hockey players, from Canadian Olympic gold medalist Thérèse Brisson, BSc 89, to Cammi Granato, attendee 97, Karyn Bye, DSA 95 — both 2002 Olympic silver medalists and 1998 gold medal winners with the U.S. women’s hockey team — and scores of others.

15. Continuing Education
Continuing Education

ESL is a hot subject at Cont Ed, with an influx of students mainly from Asia and Latin America. Photo by Andrew Dobrowolskyj

The Centre for Continuing Education ( thrives as Montreal’s premier destination for not-for-credit courses, for “lifelong learners” who wish to improve their skills and minds. Courses are aimed at providing professional skills in areas such as information technology, business and e-commerce, communications, public relations and human resources management. Cont Ed also specializes in instruction in English as a second language, which has grown exponentially in recent years thanks to an increased emphasis on recruiting international students.

Of the 9,000 students who enrol in Cont Ed each year, about 40 per cent already have Concordia experience, and many, including 15 to 20 per cent of the ESL students, become infected with enthusiasm for learning — and Concordia — and go on to sign up for the university’s academic programs.

16. Colleges
SCPA classroom

A School of Community and Public Affairs classroom, 1995. Photo by Spyros Bourboulis

Concordia’s five colleges are special and more personal environments for learning, with small classes and excellent faculty that attract the very best students from the Faculty of Arts and Science.

The Liberal Arts College provides a rich academic exploration of the development of Western civilization and culture through its core curriculum of the great books of Western civilization. The School of Community and Public Affairs is a place where academics and activism meet, offering a mix of academic and practical training that exposes students to a wide range of public issues. The Science College offers topnotch science students a broad-based scientific education focusing on both laboratory research and the role of science in history and contemporary society, with opportunities to interact with other scientists and explore cross-disciplinary activities.

The Simone de Beauvoir Institute has been a place where women’s studies has matured into a field of rigorous academy, focusing on feminist perspectives and the evolving role of women in society. The Loyola International College, launched in 2001, offers an interdisciplinary program that explores issues of culture, international relations, religion and globalization. Until 2003, the Faculty of Arts and Science also housed Lonergan College, where faculty engaged in interdisciplinary dialogue about important thinkers and fundamental questions of value in culture, art, science and religion.

17. Visual Arts Building sculpture garden
Visual Arts Building sculpture garden

Over the past two years the VA Building garden has blossomed into an attractive and functional meeting place. Photo by Elaine Denis

You’ve seen it if you’ve passed by the corner of Crescent Street and René-Lévesque Boulevard over the past year: high in the sky, the guy on a pole, poised to take a step into empty air. Created by studio arts student Michael Doerksen, the work is a winning selection from the annual sculpture competition in the Faculty of Fine Arts, which each year installs two outdoor sculptures in the courtyard. This year, a backlog of works happily resulted in more sculptures than usual.

The annual sculpture competition has been a fixture since Fine Arts moved to the VA Building in 1979. Inside, the VAV Gallery continues to be the site of eclectic and forward-looking exhibitions of student works. Both spaces provide students with a very public display of their talents.

By the end of the decade, the university will hardly look the same as the one that we remember from the 20th century.

18. Concordia mascots
Buzz the Bee, CUSA Bear

Today’s mascot Buzz the Bee and the CUSA Bear in 1983. Photo at left by Michael Toews/Photo at right courtesy of Concordia Archives

Everyone loves Buzz the Bee, the Stingers’ mascot. But some will recall the CUSA Bear, introduced by the Concordia University Students’ Association in the fall of 1979 to boost school spirit. Soon afterwards, a group of Concordia students rescued the bear when McGill Engineering students kidnapped it. The big but cuddly bear quickly became a fun part of many student activities, distributing buttons, rallying cheers at sports events, dancing and joking with students and passersby. Around the same time, a bee mascot was introduced for the Concordia sports teams; in the first year after the merger, the Loyola Warriors and the Georgians remained separate teams and archrivals, but they were joined as a single set of varsity teams called the Concordians in 1975 and renamed the Stingers soon thereafter.

The bee became a rallying presence at Stingers games and added some fun to other university events. The CUSA Bear quietly disappeared into hibernation after the last Winter Carnival in 1989. Apparently there wasn’t enough honey in town for two mascots…


“I remember the life-changing trips to Japan and China in 1975 and 1976 that were part of Martin Singer’s History of East Asia course, where we experienced the final phase of Mao’s China, among other things. The groups were composed of undergraduate and graduate students, faculty members, physicians, lawyers, nurses, business people, scientists and housewives, ages 18 to 82.”

— Edith Katz, BA 82, DIA 98,
coordinator, marketing/communications, DIA/DSA

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September 2004

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