Cornett Memories

A memory can be shared as a photograph, a story, a poem, a limerick, or a video. Do you have an entertaining memory of your undergrad years in Cornett? Are you a faculty member with a story about teaching in the Cornett?

Cornett Peak
Submitted by Taylor T on Tuesday, October 26, 2010

There's only one way to the top of the Cornett building. Well one way for mortals and non-maintenance staff. To achieve the summit requires guts, stamina, strength, courage, and teamwork. One spooky October night I myself attempted it with a coterie of my fellow UVic comrades. We suited up in black to blend in with the building. We brought snacks for the top to ensure we had enough energy for the descent, lest we perish at the high altitudes. And then we entered at the brain of Cornett (as old myth has it, Cornett was conceived by a possibly evil psychology professor wanting to model the structure of the human brain).

In the inner courtyard lies an old tree with sinewy branches. From the tip of a large branch on this tree one can lean over and jump to the first-floor roof to complete the first stage of the ascent. Next comes the second and the hardest stage of the climb: a sheer vertical wall of about 11 feet. One way to go at it is to run, jump off a low-lying cement ledge, and catch your hands on the flat eves at the top. From there, all you have to do is pull yourself up with enough force. Easier said than done. The more feasible method is to get a boost from a friend cupping your feet, and then to hoist him up with your arms once you've made it to the second story. At this stage you will have to cross a gravel pathway on the quad-facing side of Cornett. At night a look into the dark classrooms juxtaposed against this path reveals deserted chairs, half-erased formulae in chalk, and mute pencil sharpenings lying lifeless under old creaky desks. The classroom appears as it never has before, and you expect something or someone to jump out at any moment. If janitorial staff are on duty, maybe they will. Coming to the end of the gravel path, there is a slippery black ladder hanging from the brick facade leading to the top floor of Cornett. For the most determined of climbers, the true summit lies even one story above on top of the maintenance exits which do not comprise a floor in and of themselves. But only from the top of the ladder can one walk around the whole building, seeing off into the distance the red bricks of business and economics, the blue panels of SSM, the brown timbers of the First Peoples House, and off in the distance, even the shadow of Mt. Douglas peak.

That night will remain my greatest experience of Cornett; and although I cannot recommend you do the same, I can attest that above all the labyrinthine hallways, creaky double doors, closeted spooks, and basement gremlins, there lies an end to the maze: a beautiful view and a reminder of how sublime the campus of the University of Victoria really is.

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