4 thoughts on “Origins of the Magical Mystery Tour”

  1. Yes I remember all the busses pulling up and all students climbing in. Off we went to island view beach

  2. Always a great time for everyone to get to know each other. Kids also learning that teachers are human beings and able to relax at appropriate times.
    AND teachers learning that there’s no such thing as an everyday kid. We learned more about ourselves on those days than any curriculum could provide.

    Wonderful memories that I treasure!

    Keith Fraser 1992-2002 and 2004-2008 staff

  3. I remember being told that there was a mystery day coming up. We were told to prepare by taking a lunch that day, and some of the TAs made kites with their students. Then one day the city busses pulled up and all the students got on and we drove off to who knows where. We went to Island View Beach and had a great time. It was awesome. Teachers and students got thrown in the water, kites were flying, there was excitement in the air as we had a wonderful time of it. Last summer my wife and I were back in Victoria and went to Island View Beach. I told her about that day and she was envious of such a positive high school experience. It was a highlight of my high school experience.
    Tom Bomhof
    (I would have graduated in 1980 but my family went and moved to Richmond in my grade 11 year)

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Origins of the Magical Mystery Tour

Magical Mystery Tour 1978When Spectrum was created, in the early 1970’s, it’s educational philosophy was humanistic, student-centered, and positive. Many emerging practices were included making Spectrum a much-studied model for reform and innovation. A key idea was the Teacher Advisor system, which was first-line counselling and support, not just homeroom. For that to be effective, teachers had to really get to know their TA students and those students needed to trust their TA as someone to turn to. So, many activities were organized around that nuclear group, one of which was TA Afternoon. Early in September, the school would close for most of a day and TA groups would disperse thro ughout the city to do something together. Some would organize a picnic in a park. Others would go bowling, when that was popular and available. A number of teachers had boats so they would take their students sailing or waterskiing.

As the logistics involved in creating so many different activities were a challenge, Spectrum’s first principal, Wally Russell, organized the first Magical Mystery Tour, in 1978. Instead of groups going their separate ways, busses took everyone to a secret destination in an odyssey named for the famous Beatle song and film. TA groups still worked together to organize food and games for events at Island View Beach, the first time out.
Magical Mystery Tour 1985
Despite its success, the Magical Mystery Tour did not immediately become a Spectrum tradition and, for the next few years, TA activities were centered at the school. In the mid-1980’s, Principal Maurice Preece called for another tour which took everyone to the Esquimalt Lagoon, where the fierce winds made the TA kite flying contest a near-Olympic event. There was soon another one during his tenure and, from 1988 on, the Magical Mystery Tour was an annual September highlight. Mystery locations included: Bamberton, Shawnigan Lake Park, Witty’s Lagoon, Gyro Park, and, a regular favourite, Beaver Lake.Magical Mystery Tour 2000 The tour ended, as such, when the school doubled in size, in 2005, to accommodate grades 9 and 10. Lack of busses or even a venue that could accommodate such a crowd meant things had to change and the event became a Welcome-Back Barbeque, at the school. But traditions die hard and the MMT was transformed to become a very special grad activity for grade 12’s in the spring of their final year at Spectrum.Magical Mystery Tour 2004