What is Queen’s Tricolour Spirit? [updated]

In this photo essay, I try to unpack Queen’s legendary school spirit through my photographs.

I ask: What is the “Tricolour Spirit”?

As a three-time alumnus and current doctoral student, I hold enormous pride for my alma mater.  Queen’s University, located in Kingston, Ontario, Canada, is renowned for its school spirit and traditions. In only a few days, over 3000+ new undergraduates will arrive on this beautiful campus, effectively joining the family of students, grad students, faculty, staff, and alumni. Residence and faculty orientation week soon follow. It not only serves as an induction but also a capstone experience that catapults school spirit into feverish state.

[Update: This post has been viewed over 1200+ times in under 21 hours in 11+ countries. It’s been tweeted 31 times and Facebook shared 58 times. It’s also been picked up by the official Queen’s University social media channels and various campus groups! Thanks for all the love. Keep sharing and keep tweeting. Cha Gheill, Chi]

Class of 2016, Are You Ready?

Is Tricolour Spirit about being decked out in fans gear…

girl cheering…or is it showing off your school pride in every possible way?

Is Tricolour Spirit about being painted in tricolour along with your floormates?

Is Tricolour Spirit about ingenuity in climbing the grease pole…

…or hugging the adorable school mascot, Boo Hoo the Bear?

Is Tricolour Spirit fighting as a golden Queen’s Gael?

… or cheering on the Queen’s Gaels?

… or welcoming froshies in disguise?

Is it being purple?

Is Tricolour Spirit about singing Oil Thigh in a stadium full of 3000+ fellow Gaels…

… or moshing in frosh week…

… or celebrating the end of exams by wearing and slamming your Queen’s jacket proud?

Is Tricolour Spirit about returning to campus, sharing in the glory of winning the Vanier Cup, as a Principal and as a Mayor?

… or, finally, leading frosh week cheers?



The fact is, the Tricolour Spirit is all that…
and more.




Tricolour Spirit is about belonging.

Tricolour Spirit is about being a part of something big.

Tricolour Spirit is about building lifelong friendships.

Tricolour Spirit is about daring to think
and see different(ly).

Tricolour Spirit is sometimes about singing Happy Birthday!

… and getting your hands dirty and having fun.

Tricolour Spirit is about coming home.

Tricolour Spirit is about a thirst for knowledge
the intellectual pursuit that goes with it.

Tricolour Spirit is about dressing up in neon because you feel like it.

Tricolour Spirit is about building memories.

Tricolour Spirit is about perseverance.

Finally, Tricolour Spirit is about being yourself.




Welcome to Queen’s University!



The challenge I have for the incoming Class of 2016: How will you be willing to be shaped by Queen’s? And, how will you shape Queen’s for those who come after you?

PS: If you like what you see, show me some love by sharing it on Facebook, tweeting it to your friends (#TricolourSpirit), and leaving a comment below. I would love to hear your reactions and feedback. Thanks!

PPS: If you know a Queen’s alumni, please consider sending this to him/her! 

All photographs are copyrighted (c) Chi Yan Lam, 2008 – 2012.


By Chi Yan Lam

Dr. Chi Yan Lam is a Credentialed Evaluator and an Adjunct Assistant Professor of evaluation at the Faculty of Education and the Faculty of Health Sciences, Queen’s University; he is also a full-time evaluator practicing in public service. He specializes in evaluating large-scale, complex programs and incorporates multi-, mixed- and design methods in his evaluations to answer questions of importance to program administrators and policy makers working on educational and social programs. His articles on evaluation have been published in peer-reviewed journals, including the American Journal of Evaluation and the Canadian Journal of Program Evaluation. He has been a holder of the professional designation in evaluation since 2014.

3 replies on “What is Queen’s Tricolour Spirit? [updated]”

Awesome job.

I grew up in a family in the 60’s who’s every dollar was earmarked for essentials, our 1 extravagance was on Saturday afternoons my Mom and Dad would load us in the car and take us to the Golden Gaels football game, we have had seasons tickets for decades, the first time I ever heard my Mother use the “F” word was during a Golden Gaels – Varsity game. I bleed tricolour.

After my Dad passed my Mom and I continued to go, then we she re-married her new husband joined us and he too was hooked, then when they got just simply too old to be able to attend I inherited the tickets and myself and my two sons make it down from Toronto for every home game (just got back from 2 wonderful homecoming weekends), and they too are Gaels fans for life, (During the 1st homecoming game against Laurier when things were looking dire my 12 yo actually buried his head in my Arts jacket because he couldn’t bear to watch).

See you in two weeks for our playoff game.

Thank you for a wonderful article.

James – Arts 89

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