The purple spirit: a journey through the Eastern Townships

Unveiling the symbols: the colour purple and the Gaiters 

My friends and I, cheering on our basketball team, the Gaiters, and wearing the school colour. 

As an exchange student stepping into the vibrant world of Bishop’s University, I cannot help but be surrounded by a sea of symbols, each carrying a rich tapestry of meaning. Among these, the colour purple reigns supreme, casting its aura across the campus and into the hearts of students. But what does it really signify here at B.U.? 

The back of someone walking through the woods, and wearing a purple jacket that reads Bishop's University.

The meaning of purple at B.U. 

Purple, a hue that blends the passion of red and the tranquility of blue, embodies the spirit of Bishop’s. It speaks of creativity, ambition, and a dash of eccentricity—characteristics that define the Gaiter community. For my friends and me, “bleeding purple” isn’t just a slogan; it’s a way of life. It signifies our unwavering loyalty to our school, the pride we take in our accomplishments, and the unity that binds us together. 

Unveiling the “Gaiter” identity 

Ah, the term “Gaiter”—a curious moniker that may leave newcomers puzzled. It took me a while to understand it. To be a Gaiter is to be part of a legacy, a tradition that dates back through time. Originally, it used to describe the distinctive leg coverings worn by soldiers, and now, by extension, the resilience, strength, and the will to overcome obstacles. We are Gaiters, marching through our challenges with determination and ambition, clad in the colors of our alma mater. 

Transition to more spring-like colours: a glimpse of spring

And now, as the hues of winter slowly give way to the promise of a new season, the colours of Bishop’s University take on a different vibrancy. The purple of our spirit seems to deepen, mirroring the awakening of nature around us. As the snow melts to reveal patches of green, and the air begins to carry a hint of warmth, we find ourselves in the midst of a beautiful transition. 

The charm of Spring: a personal reflection 

Spring at B.U. is a study in contrasts. The best? The ethereal beauty of snowflakes dancing in the air, transforming the campus into a winter wonderland. There’s a certain magic in waking up to a world blanketed in white, a sight I rarely saw in France. The worst? The unpredictability of spring weather, teasing us with hints of warmth one day, only to send us scrambling for our winter coats the next. 

Chasing seasons: my love affair with nature’s rhythms 

My favourite season? It’s a tough choice. Spring bears the promise of new adventures, the thrill of exploration as nature awakens from its slumber. Yet, there’s something special about winter –the quiet serenity, the joy of cozying up with a hot cup of cocoa after a day of skiing or a long hike and sledding session behind the school. 

Exploring the region: beyond campus walls 

Three people walking on a snowy trail.

Beyond the hallowed halls of B.U., the Eastern Townships unfold like a treasure trove waiting to be discovered. For the adventurous soul, there’s no shortage of activities to indulge in, each offering a glimpse into Quebecois culture.

Exploring beyond: my treasured adventures near Bishop’s 

If you don’t know what to do around Bishop’s, here are my recommendations! The forest trails that surround the school are a real haven of peace. Each step is a meditation in the pine-scented air and offers landscapes that I find breathtaking. 

A few people serving themselves at a maple grove buffet. The room is rustic in style.
Sheep in a snowy barn.

Likewise, I strongly recommend that you take the opportunity to visit a maple grove. The smell of maple syrup envelops you, and hearty meals always leave you satisfied, but it’s so good! And if, like me, you are lucky, you will be able to see animals in breathtaking landscapes. 

Coffees and sweets from FARO, seen from the top.

Sherbrooke, with its historical and artistic charm, captivated me. It’s the perfect place to spend the afternoon strolling, browsing thrift stores, or having a coffee at Faro, where time stands still. 

Of course, there are so many other things to do in the area. But for me, these experiences were the most impactful. Whether you walk the trails, savour the syrup, or get lost in Faro, you will have an unforgettable experience. Every moment leaves an imprint, a memory of discovery and joy. 

The perfect weekend for new students 

Girl sitting in a car.
People posing around a big J'aime MTL sign in Montreal's Old Port.

For new students eager to immerse themselves in the region, a perfect weekend might unfold with a Friday night spent dancing away at the Golden Lion Pub, soaking in the lively atmosphere and making new friends. Saturday calls for an adventure—perhaps a road trip to Montreal via Amigo Express, where the bustling streets and cultural delights await. Round off the weekend with a Sunday ski trip to Mont Orford, feeling the rush of wind against your face as you carve through pristine snow. 

Reflections and lessons learned 

A group of five standing in front of Bishop's building McGreer.

As I reflect on my journey through Bishop’s University and the Eastern Townships, I realize the depth of meaning woven into every symbol and season. The colour purple, the Gaiter spirit, the legacy of the Bishop’s logo—they all speak of a community bound by tradition, yet ever-evolving. 

I’ve learned to embrace contrasts, finding joy in the dance of snowflakes and the blossoming of spring flowers. I’ve discovered a love for the simple pleasures—a quiet walk in the forest, the warmth of good company, and the thrill of exploring new horizons. 

Looking ahead, I wouldn’t change a thing. So, as I continue to ‘bleed purple’ and explore the wonders of this region, I carry with me the lessons learned and the memories made, grateful for this chapter in my life’s journey. 

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