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The University of Toronto (U of T, or simply Toronto) is a public research university in Torontomarker, Ontariomarker, Canadamarker, situated north of the city's Financial Districtmarker on the grounds that surround Queen's Parkmarker. It was founded by Royal Charter in 1827 as King's College, the first institution of higher learning in the colony of Upper Canada. Originally controlled by the Church of England, the university assumed the present name in 1850 upon becoming a secular institution. As a collegiate university, it comprises twelve colleges that differ in character and history, each retaining substantial autonomy on financial and institutional affairs.

Academically, the University of Toronto is noted for influential movements and curricula in literary criticism and communication theory, known collectively as the Toronto School. The university was the birthplace of insulin and stem cell research, and was the site of the first practical electron microscope, the development of multi-touch technology and the identification of Cygnus X-1 as a black hole. By a significant margin, it receives the most annual research funding of any Canadian university. The Varsity Blues are the athletic teams that represent the university in intercollegiate league matches, with particularly long and storied ties to gridiron football and ice hockey. The university's Hart Housemarker is an early example of the North American student centre, simultaneously serving cultural, intellectual and recreational interests within its large Gothic-revival complex.

The University of Toronto ranked as the nation's top medical-doctoral university in Maclean's magazine for twelve consecutive years between 1994 and 2005, and places 24th in the Academic Ranking of World Universities, 18th in the Newsweek global university ranking, and 29th overall in the Times Higher Education ranking.


The founding of a colonial college had long been the desire of John Graves Simcoe, the first Lieutenant-Governor of Upper Canada. As an Oxfordmarker-educated military commander who had fought in the American Revolutionary War, Simcoe believed a college was needed to counter the spread of republicanism from the United Statesmarker. The Upper Canada Executive Committee recommended in 1798 that a college be established in Yorkmarker, the colonial capital.

On March 15, 1827, a Royal Charter was formally issued by George IV of the United Kingdom, proclaiming "from this time one College, with the style and privileges of an University … for the education of youth in the principles of the Christian Religion, and for their instruction in the various branches of Science and Literature … to continue for ever, to be called King's College." The granting of the charter was largely the result of intense lobbying by John Strachan, the influential Anglican Bishop of Toronto who took office as the first president of the college. The original three-storey Greek Revival school building was constructed on the present site of Queen's Parkmarker.

Under Strachan's guidance, King's College was a religious institution that closely aligned with the Church of England and the Britishmarker colonial elite, known as the Family Compact. Reformist politicians opposed the clergy's control over colonial institutions and fought to have the college secularized. In 1849, after a lengthy and heated debate, the newly-elected responsible government of Upper Canada voted to rename King's College as the University of Toronto and severed the school's ties with the church. Having anticipated this decision, the enraged Strachan had resigned a year earlier to open Trinity Collegemarker, a private Anglican seminary. University Collegemarker was created as the nondenominational teaching branch of the University of Toronto. During the American Civil War, the threat from Union blockade on British North America prompted the creation of the University Rifle Corps, which saw battle in resisting the Fenian raids on the Niagara border in 1866.

Established in 1878, the School of Practical Science was precursor to the Faculty of Applied Science and Engineering, which has been nicknamed Skule since its earliest days. While the Faculty of Medicinemarker opened in 1843, medical teaching was conducted by proprietary schools from 1853 until 1887, when the faculty absorbed the Toronto School of Medicine. Meanwhile, the university continued to set examinations and confer medical degrees during that period. The university opened the Faculty of Lawmarker in 1887, and it was followed by the Faculty of Dentistry in 1888, when the Royal College of Dental Surgeons became an affiliate. Women were admitted to the university for the first time in 1884.

A devastating fire in 1890 gutted the interior of University College and devoured thirty-three thousand volumes from the library, but the university restored the building and replenished its library within two years. Over the next two decades, a collegiate system gradually took shape as the university arranged federation with several ecclesiastical colleges, including Strachan's Trinity College in 1904. The university operated the Royal Conservatory of Musicmarker from 1896 to 1991 and the Royal Ontario Museummarker from 1912 to 1968; both still retain close ties with the university as independent institutions. The University of Toronto Press was founded in 1901 as the first academic publishing house in Canada. In 1910, the Faculty of Education opened its laboratory school, the University of Toronto Schoolsmarker.

The First and Second World Wars curtailed some university activities as undergraduate and graduate men eagerly enlisted. Intercollegiate athletic competitions and the Hart House Debates were suspended, although exhibition and interfaculty games were still held. The David Dunlap Observatorymarker in Richmond Hillmarker opened in 1935, followed by the University of Toronto Institute for Aerospace Studies in 1949. The university opened regional campuses in Scarboroughmarker in 1964 and in Mississaugamarker in 1967. Created in 1959 as a subsidiary, York Universitymarker became a fully independent institution in 1965. Beginning in the 1980s, reductions in government funding prompted more rigorous fundraising efforts. The University of Toronto was the first Canadian university to amass a financial endowment greater than C$1 billion.


The university grounds lie about 2 kilometres north of the Financial Districtmarker in Downtown Torontomarker, and immediately south of the neighbourhoods, Yorkvillemarker and The Annex. The site encompasses 71 hectares (176 acres) bounded mostly by Bay Streetmarker, Bloor Street, Spadina Avenue and College Street. An enclave surrounded by university grounds, Queen's Parkmarker contains the Ontario Legislative Buildingmarker and several historic monuments. With its forested landscape and many interlocking courtyards, the university forms a distinct region of urban parkland in the city's downtown core. The namesake University Avenue is a ceremonial boulevard and arterial thoroughfare that runs through downtown between Queen's Park and Front Street. The Spadinamarker, St. Georgemarker, Museummarker, Baymarker, and Queen's Parkmarker stations of the Toronto subway system are located in the vicinity.

The architecture is defined by a combination of Romanesque and Gothic Revival buildings spread across the eastern and central portions of campus, most of them dated between 1858 and 1929. The traditional heart of the university, known as Front Campus, is located near the centre of the campus in an oval lawn enclosed by King's College Circle. The centrepiece is the main building of University Collegemarker, built in 1857 with an eclectic blend of Richardsonian Romanesque and Norman architectural elements. The dramatic effect of this blended design by architect Frederick William Cumberland drew praise from European visitors of the time: "Until I reached Toronto," remarked Lord Dufferin during his visit in 1872, "I confess I was not aware that so magnificent a specimen of architecture existed upon the American continent." The building was declared a National Historic Site of Canada in 1968. Built in 1907, Convocation Hallmarker is recognizable for its domed roof and Ionic-pillared rotunda. Although its foremost function is hosting the annual convocation ceremonies, the building serves as a venue for academic and social events throughout the year. The sandstone buildings of Knox Collegemarker epitomizes the North American collegiate Gothic design, with its characteristic cloisters surrounding a secluded courtyard.

A lawn at the northeast is anchored by Hart Housemarker, a Gothic-revival student centre complex. Among its many common rooms, the building's Great Hall is noted for large stained-glass windows and a long quotation from John Milton's Areopagitica that is inscribed around the walls. The adjacent Soldiers' Towermarker stands tall as the most prominent structure in the vicinity, its stone arches etched with the names of university members lost to the battlefields of the two World Wars. The tower houses a 51-bell carillon that is played on special occasions such as Remembrance Day and convocation. The oldest surviving building on campus is the former Toronto Magnetic and Meteorological Observatorymarker building, built in 1855. North of University College, the main building of Trinity Collegemarker displays Jacobethan Tudor architecture, while its chapel was built in the Perpendicular Gothic style of Giles Gilbert Scott. The chapel features exterior walls of limestone and interiors of marble quarried from Indianamarker, and was constructed by Italian stonemasons using ancient building methods. Philosopher's Walkmarker is a scenic footpath that follows a meandering, wooded ravine linking with Trinity College, Varsity Arenamarker and the Faculty of Lawmarker. Victoria Collegemarker is on the eastern side of Queen's Park, centred on a Romanesque main building made of contrasting red sandstone and grey limestone.

Developed after the Second World War, the western section of the campus consists mainly of modernist and internationalist structures that contain laboratories and faculty offices. The most significant example of Brutalist architecture is the massive Robarts Librarymarker complex, built in 1972. It features raised podia, extensive use of triangular geometric designs and a towering fourteen-storey concrete structure that cantilevers above a field of open space and mature trees. The Leslie L.marker Dan Pharmacy Buildingmarker, completed in 2006, exhibits a modern style of glass and steel by British architect Norman Foster.

Governance and colleges

The University of Toronto has traditionally been a decentralized institution, with governing authority shared among its central administration, academic faculties and colleges. The Governing Council is the unicameral legislative organ of the central administration, overseeing general academic, business and institutional affairs. Before 1971, the university was governed under a bicameral system composed of the board of governors and the university senate. The chancellor, usually a former governor-general, lieutenant governor, premier or diplomat, is the ceremonial head of the university. The president is appointed by the council as the chief executive.

Unlike most North American institutions, the University of Toronto is a collegiate university with a model that resembles those of the University of Cambridgemarker, Durham Universitymarker and the University of Oxfordmarker in Britain. The colleges hold substantial autonomy over admissions, scholarships, programs and other academic and financial affairs, in addition to the housing and social duties of typical residential colleges. The system emerged in the 19th century, as ecclesiastical colleges considered various forms of union with the University of Toronto to ensure their viability. The desire to preserve religious traditions in a secular institution resulted in the federative collegiate model that came to characterize the university.

University Collegemarker was the founding nondenominational college, created in 1853 after the university was secularized. Knox Collegemarker, a Presbyterian institution, and Wycliffe Collegemarker, a low church seminary, both encouraged their students to study for non-divinity degrees at University College. In 1885, they entered a formal affiliation with the University of Toronto, and became federated schools in 1890. The idea of federation initially met strong opposition at Victoria Universitymarker, a Methodist school in Cobourgmarker, but a financial incentive in 1890 convinced the school to join. Decades after the death of John Strachan, the Anglican seminary University of Trinity Collegemarker entered federation in 1904, followed in 1910 by the University of St. Michael's Collegemarker, a Roman Catholic college founded by the Basilian Fathers. Among the institutions that had considered federation but ultimately remained independent were McMaster Universitymarker, a Baptist school that later moved to Hamiltonmarker, and Queen's College, a Presbyterian school in Kingstonmarker that later became Queen's Universitymarker.

Colleges of the University of Toronto
Constituent colleges Theological colleges Federated colleges
St. Hilda's Collegemarker
Emmanuel Collegemarker
Graduate college

The post-war era saw the creation of New Collegemarker in 1962, Innis Collegemarker in 1964 and Woodsworth Collegemarker in 1974, all of them nondenominational. Along with University College, they comprise the university's constituent colleges, which are established and funded by the central administration and are therefore financially dependent. Massey Collegemarker was established in 1963 by the Massey Foundation as a college exclusively for graduate students. Regis Collegemarker, a Jesuit seminary, entered federation with the university in 1979.

In contrast with the constituent colleges, the colleges of Knox, Massey, Regis, St. Michael's, Trinity, Victoria and Wycliffe continue to exist as legally distinct entities, each possessing a separate financial endowment. While St. Michael's, Trinity and Victoria continue to recognize their religious affiliations and heritage, they have since adopted secular policies of enrollment and teaching in non-divinity subjects. Some colleges have, or once had, collegiate structures of their own: Emmanuel Collegemarker is a college of Victoria and St. Hilda's Collegemarker is part of Trinity; St. Joseph’s College had existed as a college within St. Michael's until it was dissolved in 2006. Ewart College existed as an affiliated college until 1991, when it was merged into Knox College. The colleges of Knox, Regis and Wycliffe, along with the divinity faculties within Emmanuel, St. Michael's and Trinity, confer graduate theology degrees as members of the Toronto School of Theology.


The Faculty of Arts and Science is the university's main undergraduate faculty, and administers most of the courses in the college system. While the colleges are not entirely responsible for teaching duties, most of them house specialized academic programs and lecture series. Among other subjects, Trinity College is associated with programs in international relations, as are University College with Canadian studies, Victoria College with Renaissance studies, Innis College with film studies, New College with gender studies, Woodsworth College with Employment Relations and St. Michael's College with Medievalism. The Faculty of Applied Science and Engineering is the other major faculty that allows direct-entry into bachelor's degree programs from secondary schools; undergraduate programs in other faculties generally admit by second entry. Postgraduate programs in arts and science are administered by the School of Graduate Studies.

The Ontario Institute for Studies in Educationmarker is the teachers college of the University of Toronto. It is affiliated with the university's two laboratory schools, the Institute of Child Study and the University of Toronto Schoolsmarker. Autonomous institutes at the university include the Canadian Institute for Theoretical Astrophysicsmarker, the Pontifical Institute of Mediaeval Studiesmarker and the Fields Institutemarker.

The University of Toronto is the birthplace of an influential school of thought on communication theory and literary criticism, known as the Toronto School. The school is described as "the theory of the primacy of communication in the structuring of human cultures and the structuring of the human mind." Rooted in the works of Eric A. Havelock and Harold Innis, it grew to prominence with the contributions of Edmund Snow Carpenter, Northrop Frye and Marshall McLuhan, who coined the expressions "the medium is the message" and "global village". Since 1963, the McLuhan Program in Culture and Technology has carried the mandate for teaching and advancing the Toronto School.

The Munk Centre for International Studies provides undergraduate and graduate curricula with international focuses. As the Cold War heightened, Toronto's Slavic studies program evolved into a leading institution on Soviet politics and economics, financed by the Rockefeller, Ford and Mellon foundations. The Munk Centre is also home to the G8 Research Group, which conducts independent monitoring and analysis on the Group of Eight and its annual summits. The Trudeau Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies teaches qualitative and quantitative methods for analyzing foreign policy and causes of conflict.

The Faculty of Medicinemarker is affiliated with a network of ten teaching hospitals, providing medical treatment, research and advisory services to patients and clients from Canada and abroad. The University Health Network consists of Toronto General Hospitalmarker, specialized in cardiology and organ transplants; Princess Margaret Hospitalmarker, dedicated to oncology and home to the Ontario Cancer Institute; and Toronto Western Hospitalmarker for neuroscience and musculoskeletal health. The Hospital for Sick Childrenmarker is the pediatric medical centre specializing in treatments for childhood diseases and injuries. The other full affiliates of the university are Bloorview Kids Rehabmarker, Baycrest Centre for Geriatric Caremarker, the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health, Mount Sinai Hospitalmarker, St. Michael's Hospitalmarker, Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centremarker, Toronto Rehabilitation Institutemarker and Women's College Hospitalmarker. Physicians in the medical institutes have cross-appointments to faculty and supervisory positions in university departments.

Several notable works in arts and humanities are based at the university, including the Dictionary of Canadian Biography since 1959 and the Collected Works of Erasmus since 1969. The Records of Early English Drama collects and edits the surviving documentary evidence of dramatic arts in pre-Puritan Englandmarker, while the Dictionary of Old English compiles the early vocabulary of the English language from the Anglo-Saxon period.

Faculties and schools of the University of Toronto

Library and collections

The University of Toronto Libraries is the fourth-largest academic library system in North America, following those of Harvard, Yale and Berkeley, measured by number of volumes held. The collections include more than 10 million bound volumes, 5.4 million microfilms, 70,000 serial titles and 1 million maps, films, graphics and sound recordings. The largest of the libraries, Robarts Librarymarker, holds about five million bound volumes that form the main collection for humanities and social sciences. The Thomas Fisher Rare Book Librarymarker constitutes one of the largest repositories of publicly accessible rare book and manuscripts. Its collections range from ancient Egyptian papyri to incunabula and libretti; the subjects of focus include British, European and Canadian literature, Aristotle, Darwin, the Spanish Civil War, the history of science and medicine, Canadiana and the history of the book. Most of the remaining holdings are dispersed at departmental and faculty libraries, in addition to about 1.3 million bound volumes that are held by the colleges. The university has collaborated with the Internet Archivemarker since 2005 to digitalize some of its library holdings.

Housed within University College, the University of Toronto Art Centre contains three major art collections. The Malcove Collection is primarily represented by Early Christian and Byzantine sculptures, bronzeware, furniture, icons and liturgical items. It also includes glassware and stone reliefs from the Greco-Roman period, and the painting Adam and Eve by Lucas Cranach the Elder, dated from 1538. The University of Toronto Collection features Canadian contemporary art, while the University College Art Collection holds significant works by the Group of Seven and 19th century Landscape artists.


In the Academic Ranking of World Universities of 2008, the University of Toronto is placed at 24th in the world; by academic subject, it ranks 21st in engineering and computer science, 27th in medicine, 34th in natural science and mathematics, 48th in life and agricultural sciences, and 51–76th in social science. The Times Higher Education ranking of 2009 places Toronto at 29th in the world, 14th in natural sciences, 8th in technology, 11th in arts and humanities, 11th in life sciences and biomedicine, and 15th in social sciences. In the Newsweek global university ranking of 2006, Toronto ranked 18th in the world, 9th among public universities and 5th among universities outside the United States. It ranked 11th worldwide in the 2009 Performance Ranking of Scientific Papers. In 2009, the university was graded B-minus for environmental sustainability from the Sustainable Endowments Institute.

The University of Toronto ranked as the nation's top medical-doctoral university in Maclean's magazine for twelve consecutive years between 1994 and 2005. Since 2006, it has joined 22 other national institutions in withholding data from the magazine, citing continued concerns regarding methodology. The university places second in the Maclean's ranking of 2009. In 2009, the Faculty of Lawmarker was named the top law school in Canada by Maclean's for the third consecutive year, placing first in elite firm hiring, faculty hiring and faculty citations, second in Supreme Court clerkships and fifth in national reach.


Since 1926, the University of Toronto has been a member of the Association of American Universities, a consortium of the leading North American research universities. The university manages by far the largest annual research budget of any university in Canada, with sponsored direct-cost expenditures of $845 million in 2008. The federal government was the largest source of funding, with grants from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council and the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council amounting to about one-third of the research budget. About 8 percent of research funding came from corporations, mostly in the health care industry.

The first practical electron microscope was built by the physics department in 1938. During World War II, the university developed the G-suit, a life-saving garment worn by Allied fighter plane pilots, later adopted for use by astronauts. Development of the infrared chemiluminescence technique improved analyses of energy behaviours in chemical reactions. In 1972, studies on Cygnus X-1 led to the publication of the first observational evidence proving the existence of black holes. Toronto astronomers have also discovered the Uranus moons of Caliban and Sycorax, the dwarf galaxies of Andromeda I, II and III, and the supernova SN 1987A. A pioneer in computing technology, the university designed and built UTEC, one of the world's first operational computers, and later purchased Ferut, the second commercial computer after UNIVAC I. Multi-touch technology was developed at Toronto, with applications ranging from handheld devices to collaboration wall. The Citizen Lab conducts research on Internet censorship as a joint founder of the OpenNet Initiative.

The discovery of insulin at the University of Toronto in 1921 is considered among the most significant events in the history of medicine. The stem cell was discovered at the university in 1963, forming the basis for bone marrow transplantation and all subsequent research on adult and embryonic stem cells. This was the first of many findings at Toronto relating to stem cells, including the identification of pancreatic and retinal stem cells. The cancer stem cell was first identified in 1997 by Toronto researchers, who have since found stem cell associations in leukemia, brain tumors and colorectal cancer. Medical inventions developed at Toronto include the glycaemic index, the infant cereal Pablum, the use of protective hypothermia in open heart surgery and the first artificial pacemaker. The first successful single-lung transplant was performed at Toronto in 1981, followed by the first nerve transplant in 1988, and the first double-lung transplant in 1989. Researchers identified the maturation promoting factor that regulates cell division, and discovered the T-cell receptor which trigger responses of the immune system. The university is credited with isolating the genes that cause Fanconi anemia, cystic fibrosis and early-onset Alzheimer's disease, among numerous other diseases. Between 1914 and 1972, the university operated the Connaught Medical Research Laboratories, now part of the pharmaceutical corporation Sanofi-Aventis. Among the research conducted at the laboratory was the development of gel electrophoresis.

The University of Toronto is the primary research presence that supports one of the world's largest concentrations of biotechnology firms. More than 5,000 principal investigators reside within 2 kilometres from the university grounds in Toronto's Discovery District, conducting $1 billion of medical research annually. MaRS Discovery Districtmarker is a research park that serves commercial enterprises and the university's technology transfer ventures. In 2008, the university disclosed 159 inventions and had 114 active start-up companies. Its SciNet Consortium operates the most powerful supercomputer outside the United States.


The 44 sports teams of the Varsity Blues represent the university in intercollegiate competitions. The two main leagues in which the Blues participate are Canadian Interuniversity Sport for national competitions, and the auxiliary Ontario University Athletics conference at the provincial level. The athletic nickname of Varsity Blues was not consistently used until the 1930s; previously, references such as "Varsity", "The Big Blue", "The Blue and White" and "The Varsity Blue" also appeared interchangeably. The Blue and White is commonly played and sung in athletic games as a fight song.

North American football traces its very origin to the University of Toronto, with the first documented football game played at University College on November 9, 1861. The Blues played their first intercollegiate football match in 1877 against the University of Michiganmarker, in a game that ended with a scorless draw. Since intercollegiate seasons began in 1898, the Blues have won four Grey Cup, two Vanier Cup and 25 Yates Cup championships, including the inaugural championships for all three trophies. However, the football team has hit a rough patch following its last championship in 1993. From 2001 until 2008, the Blues suffered the longest losing streak in Canadian collegiate history, recording 49 consecutive winless games. This was preceded by a single victory in 2001 that ended a run of 18 straight losses. The site of Varsity Stadiummarker has served as the primary playing grounds of the Varsity Blues football and soccer programs for more than a century since 1898.

Formed in 1891, the storied Varsity Blues men's ice hockey team has left many legacies on the national, professional and international hockey scenes. Conn Smythe played for the Blues as a centre during his undergraduate years, and was a Blues coach from 1923 to 1926. When Smythe took over the Toronto Maple Leafs in 1927, the familiar blue-and-white sweater design of the Varsity Blues was adopted by his new team. Blues hockey competed at the 1928 Winter Olympics and captured the gold medal for Canada. At the 1980 Winter Olympics, Blues coach Tom Watt served as co-coach of the Canadian hockey team in which six players were Varsity grads. In all, the Blues have won the University Cup national hockey title ten times, last in 1984. Varsity Arenamarker has been the permanent home of the Blues ice hockey programs since it opened in 1926. In men's basketball, the Varsity Blues have won 14 conference titles, including the inaugural championship in 1909, but have not won a national title. In swimming, the men's team has claimed the national crown 16 times since 1964, while the women's team has claimed the crown 14 times since 1970. Established in 1897, the University of Toronto Rowing Club is the oldest collegiate rowing club in Canada. It earned a silver medal for the country in the 1924 Summer Olympics, finishing second to Yalemarker's crew.

Culture and student life

In the heart of social, cultural and recreational life at the University of Toronto lies Hart Housemarker, the sprawling neo-Gothic student activity centre that was conceived by alumnus-benefactor Vincent Massey and named for his grandfather Hart. Opened in 1919, the complex established a communitarian spirit in the university and its students, who at the time kept largely within their own colleges under the decentralized collegiate system. At Hart House, a student can read in the library, dine casually or formally, have a haircut, visit the art gallery, watch a play in the theatre, listen to a concert, observe or join in debates, play billiards, go for a swim and find a place to study, all under the same roof and within the span of a day. The confluence of assorted functions is the result of a deliberate effort to create a holistic educational experience, a goal summarized in the Founders' Prayer. The Hart House model was influential in the planning of student centres at other universities, notably Cornell Universitymarker's Willard Straight Hall.

Hart House resembles some traditional aspects of student representation through its financial support of student clubs, and its standing committees and board of stewards that are comprised mostly of undergraduate students. However, the main student unions on administrative and policy issues are the University of Toronto Students' Union for undergraduates and the Graduate Students' Union for postgraduates, both with delegates in the university's governing council. Student representative bodies also exist at the various colleges, academic faculties and departments.

The Hart House Debating Club employs a debating style that combines the American emphasis on analysis and the British use of wit. Smaller debating societies at Trinity, University and Victoria College have served as initial training grounds for debaters who later progress to Hart House. The club won the World Universities Debating Championship in 1981 and 2006. The United Nations Society hosts an annual Model United Nations conference in Toronto, in addition to participating in various North American and international conferences. The Toronto chess team has captured the top title six times at the Pan American Intercollegiate Team Chess Championship. The Formula SAE Racing Team won the Formula Student European Championships in 2003, 2005 and 2006.

Greek life

The University of Toronto is home to the first collegiate fraternity in Canada, Zeta Psi, whose Toronto chapter has been active since 1879. Because few other Canadian universities in the 19th century were deemed comparable to their American counterparts in repute, age and secularity, most early American fraternities chose to open their first international chapter at Toronto, including Delta Upsilon, Phi Kappa Sigma, Phi Gamma Delta, Delta Kappa Epsilon, Psi Upsilon, Alpha Delta Phi, Beta Theta Pi, Sigma Nu, Alpha Gamma Delta, Alpha Omicron Pi and Lambda Chi Alpha. A secret society known as Episkopon has operated from Trinity College since 1858.

Theatre and music

Hart House Theatre is the university's student amateur theatre, generally producing four major plays every season. As old as Hart House itself, the theatre is considered a pioneer in Canadian theatre for introducing the Little Theatre Movement from Europe. It has cultivated numerous performing-arts talents, including Donald Sutherland, Lorne Michaels, Wayne and Shuster and William Hutt. Three members of the Group of Seven artists (Harris, Lismer and MacDonald) have been set designers at the theatre, and composer Healey Willan was director of music for fourteen productions. The theatre also hosts annual variety shows run by several student theatrical companies at the colleges and academic faculties, the most prominent of which are U.C. Follies of University College and Daffydil of the Faculty of Medicine, both in production for more than eight decades.

The main musical ensembles at Hart House are the orchestra, the chamber strings, the chorus, the jazz choir, the jazz ensemble and the symphonic band. The Jazz at Oscar's concert series performs big band and vocal jazz on Friday nights at the period lounge and bar of the Hart House Arbor Room. Open Stage is the monthly open mic event featuring singers, comics, poets and storytellers. The Sunday Concert is the oldest musical series at Hart House; since 1922 the series has performed more than 600 classical music concerts in the Great Hall, freely attended by the university community and general audiences. The public may also screen midday events held at noon, when concerts are recited prior to formal debut.

Student media

The Varsity is one of Canada's oldest student-run newspapers, in publication since 1880. The paper was originally a daily broadsheet, but has since adopted a compact format and is now published twice a week with three summer issues. Hart House Review, a literary magazine by students of the Literary and Library Committee of Hart House, features prose, poetry, art and photography from emerging writers and artists. The Newspaper is an independent student-run community newspaper, published weekly since 1978. CIUT-FMmarker is a campus radio station owned and operated by the students of the University of Toronto. Students at each college and academic faculty also produce their own set of journals and news publications.

Members of the student press have contributed to activist causes on several notable occasions. At the height of debate on coeducation in 1880, The Varsity published an article in its inaugural issue voicing in favour of admitting women. In 1895, the university suspended the editor of The Varsity for breach of collegiality, after he published a letter that harshly criticized the provincial government's dismissal of a professor and involvement in academic affairs. University College students then approved a motion by Varsity staff member William Lyon Mackenzie King and boycotted lectures for a week. After Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau decriminalized homosexuality in 1969, a medical research assistant placed an advertisement in The Varsity seeking volunteers to establish the first university homophile association in Canada.


Each college at the University of Toronto operates its own set of residence halls and dining halls clustered in a different area of the campus. Innis, New, St. Michael's, Trinity, University, Victoria, and Woodsworth colleges reserve most of their dormitories for their undergraduate students within the Faculty of Arts and Science, while setting a portion available to students from the professional and postgraduate faculties. Massey Collegemarker is exclusively for graduate students, while Knox and Wycliffe Colleges mainly house graduate theology students. Annesley Hallmarker of Victoria College, a National Historic Site, was the first university residence for women in Canada. After St. Hilda's Collegemarker became coeducational in 2005, Annesley Hall and Loretto College of St. Michael's College are the last remaining women's halls at the university.

As campus residences accommodate just 6,400 students in all, the university guarantees housing only for undergraduates in their first year of study, while most upper-year and graduate students reside off-campus. Traditionally, the adjacent neighbourhoods of The Annex and Kensington Marketmarker are popular settling grounds for University of Toronto students, resulting in a distinct enclave of youth subculture. In 2004, the university purchased and converted a nearby hotel into the Chestnut Residencemarker, which houses students from all colleges and faculties. There are also numerous fraternity houses and student housing cooperatives, where boarders pay reduced rent for assuming housekeeping duties.


In addition to Havelock, Innis, Frye (alumnus), Carpenter and McLuhan, former professors of the past century include Frederick Banting (alumnus), H. S. M. Coxeter, Robertson Davies, John Charles Fields (alumnus), Leopold Infeld and C. B. Macpherson (alumnus). 9 Nobel laureates studied or taught at Toronto. As of 2006, Toronto academics accounted for 15 of 23 Canadian members in the American Academy of Arts and Sciencesmarker (65%) and 20 of 72 Canadian fellows in the American Association for the Advancement of Science (28%). Among honorees from Canada between 1980 and 2006, Toronto faculty made up 11 of 21 Gairdner Foundation International Award recipients (52%), 44 of 101 Guggenheim Fellows (44%), 16 of 38 Royal Society fellows (42%), 10 of 28 members in the United States National Academies (36%) and 23 of 77 Sloan Research Fellows (30%).

Alumni of the University of Toronto's colleges, faculties and professional schools have assumed notable roles in a wide range of fields and specialties. In government, Governors General Vincent Massey and Adrienne Clarkson, Prime Ministers William Lyon Mackenzie King, Arthur Meighen, Lester B. Pearson and Paul Martin, and 14 Justices of the Supreme Court have all graduated from the university, while world leaders include President of Latvia Vaira Vike-Freiberga, Premier of the Republic of China Liu Chao-shiuan and President of Trinidad and Tobago Noor Hassanali. Economist John Kenneth Galbraith, historian Margaret MacMillan, philosophers David Gauthier and Ted Honderich, anthropologist Davidson Black, sociologist Erving Goffman, psychologist Endel Tulving, physicians Norman Bethune and Charles Best, geologists Joseph Tyrrell and John Tuzo Wilson, physicists Arthur Leonard Schawlow and Bertram Brockhouse, computer scientists Alfred Aho and Brian Kernighan, astronaut Roberta Bondar are also some of the most well-known academic figures from the university. In business, Toronto alumni include Rogers's Edward Samuel Rogers, TD Bank's W. Edmund Clark, Bank of Montreal's Bill Downe, Scotiabank's Peter Godsoe, Barrick Gold's Peter Munk, Research In Motion's Jim Balsillie and eBay's Jeffrey Skoll. In literature and media, the university has produced writers Stephen Leacock, John McCrae, Margaret Atwood and Michael Ondaatje, film directors Arthur Hiller, Norman Jewison, David Cronenberg and Atom Egoyan, actor Donald Sutherland, screenwriter David Shore, musician Paul Shaffer and journalists Malcolm Gladwell, Naomi Klein, Barbara Amiel and Peter C. Newman.

See also


  1. ; ; ; ; ;
  2. ; ;
  3. College Songs and Songbooks
  4. "... discover within its walls true education that is to be found within good fellowship, in friendly disputation and debate, in the conversation of wise and earnest men, in music, pictures and the play, in the casual book, in sports and games and the mastery of the body".

Further reading

  • Bissell, Claude T. Halfway up Parnassus: A Personal Account of the University of Toronto. University of Toronto Press, 1974. ISBN 0802021727.
  • Ford, Ann Rochon. A Path Not Strewn with Roses. University of Toronto Press, 1985. ISBN 0802039995.
  • Friedland, Martin L. The University of Toronto: A History. University of Toronto Press, 2002. ISBN 0802044298.
  • Levi, Charles Morden. Comings and Goings. McGill-Queen's University Press, 2003. ISBN 0773524428.
  • McKillop, A. Brian. Matters of Mind. University of Toronto Press, 1994. ISBN 080207216X.
  • Slater, John G. Minerva's Aviary: Philosophy at Toronto. University of Toronto Press, 2005. ISBN 0802038700.
  • Wallace, W. Stewart. A History of the University of Toronto, 1827-1927. University of Toronto Press, 1927.

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