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How well do you know your university? 

The odd stories and unique traditions hidden around campus.

click to enlarge AZIZA ASAT
  • Aziza Asat

Schools in the real world aren’t filled with floating staircases and talking paintings like Hogwarts in Harry Potter. But that doesn’t mean Halifax’s universities don’t have their fair share of unique traditions and odd facts. Dalhousie University does have a quidditch team, after all.

Just like Hogwarts, at Dalhousie students can add their names to the roster of muggles who take to the field on wooden sticks for quidditch. Players don’t play on flying broomsticks, and there’s no Golden Snitch, but it’s as close to the real thing as you’ll get. The official quidditch society was only established last year, but the bewitching game has been played on and off by wannabe-wizards at the university since 2008.

If you’re looking for one of the oldest collections of lesbian erotica, you’ll find it right here in Halifax in the library at Mount Saint Vincent University. The Mount boasts one of the largest collections of these old books, which were written between the 1940s and 1960s. The unique literature goes hand in hand with the content of a lot of the programs the Mount offers, and many students use them for research. The pages are fragile though, and starting to crumble, so the books are preserved in a display case.

Planning to call the University of King’s College your home for the next couple of years? You’ll probably start your degree with an old Latin ceremony, Matriculation. Students read the university’s Latin oath in unison and sign their names in one of many books, or Matricula, that hold the signatures of thousands of students who studied before them. The oldest King’s Matricula dates back to 1803. King’s also has a surprising amount of events where sherry is free-flowing for students and instructors.

The Nova Scotia College of Art and Design is a place to let your creative juices flow, but did you know that NSCAD’s founder, Anna Leonowens, is the same Anna from The King and I? In the early 1860s she was the governess to the children of King Mongkut of Siam (now Thailand). Leonowens founded the Halifax university as the Victorian School of Art and Design in 1887.

In the Saint Mary’s University art gallery, you’ll find a painting that’s been a mystery to curators since it was donated. It’s called “Portrait of a Man Holding a Book,” or “Eddie.” Who the man is, and the identity of the artist who painted it, has stumped curators so much that they turned to the internet to identify their mystery man a couple of years ago (with little success). Word on the street is the painting may be of a member of the historic Uniacke family, but the truth remains unknown.

Whatever university you study at, each have their own personalities with captivating histories, stories you may not believe and fun rituals for students. Be sure to check some of them out, dig up some more stories or make a few of your own.

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