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Gryphon Gallery: Alison Partridge

Alison Margaret Grant (m.Partridge) attended GNS (Norfolk House School) from 1959 until her graduation in 1967. She was a member of Caister House, Games Captain of the school, played on the field hockey, badminton, tennis and basketball teams, and was a member of the United Nations Club. She captained the BC High School Championship-winning field hockey team. All this on top of a heavy academic load, with majors in History, German, Biology, Math and French.

Alison went on to gain admittance to the prestigious Neuchatel Junior College in Switzerland, graduating in 1968 with a Grade 13 equivalent diploma. From here she entered Queen’s University, graduating with a BA in 1972.

Following the motto of Neuchatel, “Step Outside”, she chose the tourism and travel industry as a career path. She worked internationally in New Zealand, the UK and Canada. In 1976 she set up the Student Work Abroad Programme (SWAP) that facilitated the exchange of Canadian students, on a government-to-government basis, with New Zealand, Belgium and the UK. It survives to this day. In 1979, she set up her own PR agency that represented US and Canadian airlines, tour operators and travel companies in the UK and Europe. Returning to Canada in 1993, Alison coordinated the 1994 WYSTC Conference (World Youth and Student Travel Conference), a leading trade event for the global youth, student and educational travel industry. She also worked on other projects for Canadian Universities Travel Service, until she took on the role of Director of PR & Marketing for The Butchart Gardens in 1999 through 2008. 


It was based on this experience and her long involvement in the travel industry, that led to her founding and owning Going Gardens, a garden tourism consultancy and from this, she became a founding patron of the International Garden Tourism Network—connecting the world of garden experiences with the business of tourism. As if she wasn’t busy enough, Alison has filled her ‘spare time’ by working at Hotel Grand Pacific, Victoria Harbour Ferry, Victoria Prime, and the Looking For New Opportunities Canada service. 


Alison is certainly a fine example of a GNS (NHS) graduate who has forged a meaningful, successful career path while “stepping outside” the traditional norms.