Sir Sandford By Bus

Below is an excerpt from author Orland French’s book, PIONEERING: A History of Loyalist College (1992). While some references are no longer current, the publication provides a rich report on Loyalist’s history, which helps to contextualize its milestones. To read more from Mr. French’s book, please click here

There is a secret tale that rarely sees daylight. Though truth be told, the story can only be revealed under the cloak of anonymity. It is a tale of the growing pains of an immature institution and of students testing the limits of discipline.

In the very early years of Loyalist, a sporting expedition set out to challenge the athletic gladiators of Sir Sandford Fleming College in a game of basketball. Because Sir Sandford was in its own developmental stage, it did not have a gymnasium, so the contest was to take place in a high school.

A convoy of three buses carried the enthusiastic Loyalist team and its exuberant supporters to Peterborough.

While the details of the expedition are hazy – the score of the game has been eclipsed in the mists of memory – it is sufficient to say that in the time honoured tradition of students everywhere, some experimentation with the human tolerance of alcohol took place.

Before it ended, the episode featured a vodka-drinking chicken, involuntary student participation in a high school play, and an explanation to the Peterborough constabulary as to why some students were in a state of undress.

The day turned out to be a practical lesson in the duties of one who pursues a career in law and security, as the bus convoy was eventually escorted home from Peterborough, without a tavern stop on the way, by Ontario Provincial Police cruisers. The escorts changed at each police division boundary to ensure that the students arrived home safely without straying along the way.

“We were young,” one participant confessed, many years later. “We were a new College and we were testing to see how far we could go.”