Cedric Albert Zala
Cedric Zala was born on October 5, 1949, in Victoria, British Columbia. He grew up in South Fairfield looking across at the Olympic Mountains from the Dallas Road beach. In those early years he didn't realize how the mountains would play an important part of his life, and was more interested in the cliffs, the beach and the ocean. Cedric said: "If I didn't come home covered in mud and soaking wet it wasn't a good day."
Academically Cedric was a high achiever as he was the top student at Central Junior High and in the top few at Victoria High. While at high school he joined the Calamity Players, a comic acting troupe, and made many friends which whom he has kept in close contact over the years. This was a zany, madcap group of young people that loved performing on stage. Cedric was also a keen member of the Cubs and Boy Scouts and when he was eleven he went on a three day trip to Forbidden Plateau. Two years later he went on a week-long trip with the Scouts across to the Olympics where he fell in love with the mountains.
After graduating from High School in 1967 he obtained a Bachelor of Science in Biochemistry at the University of Victoria in 1971. He then went to Manchester University in England for three years as a Commonwealth Scholar, where he worked on thermochemical techniques applied to red blood cells, and graduated with a Ph.D. in 1974. While living in Manchester, Cedric and some of his friends would go hiking and scrambling in the Lakes District, the Peaks District and North Wales. From 1974 to 1980 he was a Post-Doctoral Fellow and Professional Assistant at the Lady Davis Institute for Medical Research at the Jewish General Hospital in Montreal, studying glucose transport in red blood cells. During this time, and recognizing that the computer revolution was just getting underway, Cedric also took night courses in Computer Programming at McGill University and earned a Certificate in Computer Programming.
While in Victoria for the holidays in 1974 he met Lissa Brand. They were married in 1975 and set up their home in Montreal. In 1977 their first daughter Krista was born, and their second daughter Meredith arrived two years later. Unfortunately, Meredith was diagnosed with spinal muscular atrophy, and this, combined with Cedric's increasing disenchantment with Biochemistry, provided the catalyst for them to move back to Victoria in 1980 to enjoy the support of their extended families. The draw of his old friends the ocean and the mountains of Vancouver Island were also no small factors in this life-changing decision. In 1984, a year following Meredith's death, their son Roger was born.
Not long after returning at Victoria, Cedric found a job as an administrative assistant in the newly created Department of Computer Science at UVic, and was soon recruited by that department's founder, Ian Barrodale, to join his fledgling research and development company, Barrodale Computing Services (BCS). Here Cedric worked on a variety of mathematical and scientific projects, including applications of least absolute values methods, development of high-resolution deconvolution techniques, implementation of acoustic array signal processing systems, and modeling and simulation of British Columbia's forest timber supply, including the effects of the mountain pine beetle outbreak.
In the 1980's Cedric joined the Victoria Canoe and Kayak Club and was active with them for many years, paddling, and editing the VCKC's newsletter. His involvement with the Alpine Club of Canada, though, was almost by chance. While Krista was a student at UVic in the early 2000's, she joined the Outdoors Club, and told her dad that "You should really get involved with the ACC - they're just your kind of people!" She talked Cedric into attending a slide show on hiking in Northern British Columbia, and then a talk by renowned Canadian mountaineer Barry Blanchard. His interest was piqued by the photos of the mountains and the camaraderie of the climbers and he joined in 2003. He soon met Vancouver Island section executive members Sandy Briggs, Viggo and Judith Holm, and Tom Hall, who was Chair at the time, and expressed to Tom an interest in serving on the club executive. Tom later phoned Cedric to ask if he would be interested in filling the position of club Secretary, and he served in this position from 2005 until 2008, when he accepted the role of club Chair.
In 2004 Cedric attended his first section summer camp at the Elizabeth Parker Hut in Lake O'Hara, Yoho Park, and then attended the 2005 camp at the Wheeler Hut in Roger's Pass, and the Sorcerer Lodge trip in 2006. He organized the summer camps at the Stanley Mitchell Hut, Yoho Park in 2007; the Elizabeth Parker Hut, Yoho Park in 2008; and the Wates-Gibson Hut, Jasper Park in 2009, and the summer camp at Mount Alava/Bate on Vancouver Island in 2010. Lissa has also attended several of these camps and served on the Section executive during the years 2005 - 2009 as the organizer of the highly successful annual Banff Mountain Film Festival.
Although not a technical climber, Cedric enjoys climbing the more modest peaks while in the company of other club members. Some of the ascents he has made while on these section camps include: Yukness Peak, Mount Vice President, Mount President, Isolated Peak, Mount McArthur, Mount Pollinger, Mount Schaffer, Walter Feuz Peak, Mount Clitheroe, Mount Maccarib, Thunderbolt Peak, Mount Alava, Mount Bate and Mount Gratton. He has also climbed Mount Baker as part of an introductory mountaineering course put on by the section.
As Chair of the club, one of Cedric's first goals was to reorganize and revamp the website so that designated executive members could regularly update their own sections themselves without needing to involve a web expert. Another goal was to create and take on the editorship of an electronic monthly newsletter which is distributed to club members via email. In April 2010, Cedric helped form the Protect Our Parks (POP) alliance. POP's mission statement was to provide a communications framework for organizations interested in protecting and enhancing the values of Victoria area parks. This group was formed when CRD Parks Committee at its March meeting indicated that the ban on Motorized Off-Road Vehicles (MORV) in Regional Parks might be rescinded. Following lobbying by POP and other groups, the Regional Parks Committee voted unanimously later that year to maintain the ban. In 2011, Cedric also participated in an umbrella group of organizations seeking to prevent resort development alongside the Juan de Fuca Trail, an effort in which they were ultimately successful. Cedric's services to the ACC were recognized in 2010, when he was awarded the Don Forest Service Award. He stepped down as Chair in 2012 but stays on the executive as newsletter editor.
Cedric and Lissa moved from Oak Bay to a small acreage in Saanichton,
and in 2008 he retired from BCS. He and Lissa soon established a vineyard
(with Perle of Zala grapes!) with the intention of making their own wine.
They also grow lavender on a commercial scale. Although very modest about
his musical ability, Cedric is a talented pianist and guitar player and
has been singing with the Victoria Choral Society since 1999. As his retirement
proceeds, he looks forward to more ACC summer camps and many enjoyable
hikes and scrambles with the club. And he still hopes to climb some of
the Island Qualifiers.
Shostal, Vernice. "Get to the top." Senior Living Magazine. Victoria, B.C. January 2011.
Gillese, Kevin. "ACC Vancouver Island Section Annual Summer Camp: Roger's Pass." Island Bushwhacker. The Alpine Club of Canada Vancouver Island section. 2005. p. 46 -48.
Zala, Cedric. "King's Peak." Island Bushwhacker. The Alpine Club of Canada Vancouver Island section. 2006. p. 24-25.
Zala, Cedric. "Sorcerer Lodge Trip." Island Bushwhacker. The Alpine Club of Canada Vancouver Island section. 2006. p. 43-44.
Zala, Cedric. "A Comedy of Errors at the Sooke Potholes." Island Bushwhacker. The Alpine Club of Canada Vancouver Island section. 2007. p. 23.
Zala, Cedric. "ACC-VI Summer Camp 2007: Stanley Mitchell Hut." Island Bushwhacker. The Alpine Club of Canada Vancouver Island section. 2007. p. 35-37.
Bennett, Geoff. "Lake O'Hara Camp." Island Bushwhacker. The Alpine Club of Canada Vancouver Island section. 2008. p. 56-60.
Zala, Cedric. "Mount Maccarib Horseshoe." Island Bushwhacker. The Alpine Club of Canada Vancouver Island section. Vol. 37. 2009. p. 48.
Zala, Cedric. "ACCVI Summer Camp 2010, Alava-Bate Sanctuary: Synopsis of Week 2." Island Bushwhacker. The Alpine Club of Canada Vancouver Island section. 2010. p. 22-23.