Members of the class of 1971 pose for a photo at St. Margaret’s School in Saanich. Theirs was the first class studying at the current school campus to graduate. Unable to hold a 50th reunion in person, the alumni are hosting a special online talk by retired Chief Justice Beverley McLachlin on May 1. (Photo courtesy Bonnie Helm-Northover)

Members of the class of 1971 pose for a photo at St. Margaret’s School in Saanich. Theirs was the first class studying at the current school campus to graduate. Unable to hold a 50th reunion in person, the alumni are hosting a special online talk by retired Chief Justice Beverley McLachlin on May 1. (Photo courtesy Bonnie Helm-Northover)

Saanich girls school’s 50th reunion promises an inspiring celebration

St. Margaret’s alumni hosting former Chief Justice Beverley McLachlin for online talk May 1

Not being able to meet in person due to public health restrictions might have put a damper on the 50th grad reunion for the first class coming out of the new St. Margaret’s School on Lucas Avenue in Saanich.

Keen to do something that benefited the school and the community, the members of the class of 1971 put their heads together with the school, took advantage of some mutual connections and landed the woman often referred to as Canada’s Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

As part of the 50th celebration, Trailblazers: Empowering Women will feature former Supreme Court of Canada chief justice Beverley McLachlin, who will give a virtual talk on Saturday, May 1. The presentation and Q&A is also a fundraiser for a new artist-in residence program at St. Margaret’s.

Retired Chief Justice of Canada, Beverley McLachlin, will give a talk online May 1 as part of the 50th anniversary of the class of 1971 from St. Margaret’s School in Saanich. (Photo by Jean-Marc Carisse/courtesy Bonnie Helm-Northover)

Bonnie Helm-Northover, among the class of ‘71, expects listeners of all ages to be inspired by McLachlin and her story, emerging from the small town of Pincher Creek, Alta. and working her way up to the top legal position in the country, which she held for a record-setting 18 years.

RELATED STORY: Former Supreme Court Chief Justice to investigate B.C. legislature affair

“The lesson from all of this is she had an idea, she wanted to do something, and was not willing to be held back by social implications,” Helm-Northover said. “The fact she has really accomplished something fantastic in her life is an inspiration to anybody.”

McLachlin’s 2019 memoir, Truth Be Told: My Journey Through Life and the Law, is an award-winning recounting of her journey.

“She’s such a fantastic mentor to people and she’s really our RBG in Canada. And reading her book, she seems so approachable,” Helm-Northover said.

As an artist herself, she is also excited that the talk will provide startup money for the artist-in-residence program at the school, one of few remaining all-girls campuses. The plan is for the first person in the position to be Indigenous.

“It’s not only a cultural inspiration, it’s an act of reconciliation and it’s about contributing to our community,” Helm-Northover said. Providing added exposure to the arts will help broaden students’ learning perspectives, she added. “If you think in a creative way, you are training your mind to think outside of the lines and problem solve in different ways.”

ALSO READ: Teen-built robot Beyonce puts a ring on virtual robotics competition

Tickets are $25 for the online talk, which runs from 1 to 2 p.m. Visit for more information and to register.


Do you have a story tip? Follow us on Instagram.  
Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.


Just Posted

Victoria-born, 16-time Grammy winning musician David Foster penned a letter to the Greater Victoria School District May 7 urging them not to cut music programs. (THE CANADIAN PRESS)
David Foster joins fight to save music in Greater Victoria School District

‘Music is the great equalizer’ Foster wrote in a letter to the district

‘Nindanikoobijiganag: We are Star People’ by Mississauga Nishnaabe Lucbanin artist Estrella Whetung. (Jane Skrypnek/News Staff)
Victoria beadwork exhibit speaks to evolving, enduring nature of Indigenous art

On Beaded Ground features work from West Coast artists and a Cedar Hill Middle School group

Former Victoria HarbourCat and Chicago White Sox player Andrew Vaughn. (Photo courtesy of Chicago White Sox)
Former Victoria HarbourCat hits first MLB home run, adds another two days later

Andrew Vaughn is the first HarbourCat alumni to hit a homer in the majors

A seniors housing complex proposed for Cedar Hill Road in Saanich was supported by council after a public hearing on May 12. (Rendering by Jenson Group Architects)
New 85-unit seniors housing development gets green light from Saanich council

Four-storey rental complex would be located on Cedar Hill Road

Daily confirmed COVID-19 cases reported to B.C. public health, seven-day rolling average in white, to May 12, 2021. (B.C. Centre for Disease Control)
B.C. preparing ‘Restart 2.0’ from COVID-19 as June approaches

Daily infections fall below 500 Friday, down to 387 in hospital

On Friday, May 14 at Meadow Gardens Golf Club in Pitt Meadows, Michael Caan joined a very elite club of golfers who have shot under 60 (Instagram)
Crowds at English Bay were blasted with a large beam of light from an RCMP Air-1 helicopter on Friday, May 14. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Marc Grandmaison
Police enlist RCMP helicopter to disperse thousands crowded on Vancouver beach

On Friday night, police were witness to ‘several thousand people staying well into the evening’

Sinikka Gay Elliott was reported missing on Salt Spring Island on Wednesday, May 12. (Courtesty Salt Spring RCMP)
Body of UBC professor found on Salt Spring Island, no foul play suspected

Sinikka Elliott taught sociology at the university

The first Black judge named to the BC Supreme Court, Selwyn Romilly, was handcuffed at 9:15 a.m. May 14 while walking along the seawall. (YouTube/Screen grab)
Police apologize after wrongly arresting B.C.’s first Black Supreme Court Justice

At 81 years old, the retired judge was handcuffed in public while out for a walk Friday morning

Queen Elizabeth II and Clive Holland, deputy commonwealth president of the Royal Life Saving Society, top left, virtually present Dr. Steve Beerman, top right, with the King Edward VII Cup for his drowning-prevention work. Tanner Gorille and Sarah Downs were honoured with Russell Medals for their life-saving resuscitation. (Buckingham Palace photo)
Queen presents Vancouver Island doctor with award for global drowning prevention

Dr. Steve Beerman receives Royal Life Saving Society’s King Edward VII Cup at virtual ceremony

Former UFV Cascades wrestling coach Arjan Singh Bhullar is now the ONE heavyweight champion after defeating Brandon Vera via TKO in round two on Saturday in Singapore. (ONE Championship)
Former UFV wrestling coach wins MMA championship

Arjan Singh Bhullar captures ONE heavyweight title, first Indian origin fighter to achieve honour

Astra Zeneca vaccine waits for injection in a Feb. 3, 2021 file photo. A Langley man has become the second B.C. resident to suffer a blood clot following an injection. (AP Photo/Frank Augstein)
B.C. man required emergency surgery after AstraZeneca vaccination

Shaun Mulldoon suffered ‘massive blood clot’ after jab

Chilliwack’s Kile Brown, performing as drag queen Hailey Adler, dances and lip syncs in front of hundreds of people during the inaugural Chilliwack Pride Barbecue at the Neighbourhood Learning Centre on Aug. 24, 2019. Monday, May 17 is International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress file)
Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of May 16 to 22

International Day Against Homophobia, Talk Like Yoda Day, Sea Monkey Day all coming up this week

Most Read