Blake Handley started work at Camosun’s Carey Road Campus in 1979 as the Branch Library Clerk. In those days, recalls Blake, Lansdowne Campus was like Vancouver – big, formal, and very business-like – while Interurban Campus was like Victoria – you knew a lot of people and there was a great sense of community. And then there was Carey Road Campus – it was like living in Sooke. Everyone knew everyone else, also their family, kids, and pets. Everyone contended with the poorly insulated buildings, under-equipped facilities, and contaminated water. They made do and were closer because of it all.
Blake’s background was in entertainment. He had worked in Audio Visual all through high school and beyond. While at Carey Road, he was able to continue working in theatre and on films which was great preparation for what was to follow.
In 1986, Blake was hired as an Audio Visual Clerk, joining a dynamic team consisting of Dan Doherty, Kathy Evans, Anne Wheeler, Ken Whitehead, and Darrel Parkinson. After seven years, Blake became the AudioVisual Supervisor guiding the department through the multitude of changes brought about by the new digital age. The team supported college conferences and events and Blake helped in planning new buildings and classroom renovations.
In the early 2000s, Blake was instrumental in the creation of a fitness program for big men. Blake realized that there was no place where overweight men could exercise without fear of failure or ridicule. The Victoria Big Guys started in 2006 with ten men, weighing between 250 and 400 pounds, who met for workouts led by students from the Exercise and Wellness program. The classes were held at the Interurban Campus until being moved to the GR Pearkes Centre, where the program became co-ed. Except for the current COVID-19 situation, it is are still going strong.
For Blake, one of the great blessings of working at the college was the support for continuing education. Blake took advantage of this by getting a diploma in History through the college. After that, he moved to UVic where he received his BA in History in 2015. All thanks to working at Camosun!