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York University ( ) is a university located in Torontomarker, Ontariomarker. It is Canadamarker's third-largest university and has produced several of the country's top leaders across the humanities and in sciences such as chemistry, meteorology and space science.

York has a student population of approximately 50,000, 7,000 staff, and 200,000 alumni worldwide. It has eleven faculties, including the Faculty of Science and Engineering, Schulich School of Businessmarker, Osgoode Hall Law Schoolmarker, Glendon College, the Faculty of Fine Arts, the Faculty of Health, the Faculty of Environmental Studiesmarker, and 24 research centres.

York University has always enjoyed a strong participation in the Canadian Space Program. The Faculty of Science and Engineering is Canada's primary research facility into Martian exploration and has designed several space research instruments and applications currently used by NASAmarker.


York University, a non-denominational institution, was established in 1959 by the York University Act.
which received Royal Assent in the Legislative Assembly of Ontario on 26 March of that year. Its first class was held on September 1960 in Falconer Hall on the University of Torontomarker campus with a total of 76 students.

The policy of university education initiated in the 1960s responded to population pressure and the belief that higher education was a key to social justice and economic productivity for individuals and for society. The governance was modelled on the provincial University of Toronto Act of 1906 which established a bicameral system of university government consisting of a senate (faculty), responsible for academic policy, and a board of governors (citizens) exercising exclusive control over financial policy and having formal authority in all other matters. The president, appointed by the board, was to provide a link between the two bodies and to perform institutional leadership.

In the fall of 1961, York moved to its first campus, Glendon College, and began to emphasize liberal arts and part-time adult education. It became independent in 1965 after an initial period of affiliation with the University of Torontomarker (U of T) under the York University Act, 1965. Its main campus on the northern outskirts of Toronto opened in 1965.

Murray Ross, who continues to be honoured today at the University in several ways, was still vice-president of U of T) when approached to become York University's new president. At the time, York University was envisaged as a feeder campus to U of T, until Ross's powerful vision led it to become a completely separate institution.

In 1965, the university opened a second campus on Toronto's northern outskirts. The Glendon campus became a bilingual liberal arts college led by Escott Reid, who envisaged it as a national institution to educate Canada's future leaders, a vision shared by Prime Minister Lester Pearson, who formally opened Glendon College in 1966. Its bilingual mandate and focus on the liberal arts continue to shape Glendon's special status within York University. The new Keele campusmarker was regarded as somewhat isolated, in a generally industrialized part of the city. Petrol storage facilities are still located across the street. Some of the early architecture was unpopular with many, not only for the brutalist designs, but the vast expanses between buildings, which was not viewed as suitable for the climate. In the last two decades, the campus has been intensified with new buildings, including a dedicated student centre and new fine arts, computer science and business administration buildings, a small shopping mall, and a hockey arena. The Rexall Centremarker tennis stadium, built in 2004, is a perennial host of the Canada Masters tennis tournament. As Toronto has spread further out, York has found itself in a relatively central location within the built-up Greater Toronto Area (GTA), and in particular, near the Jane and Finchmarker neighbourhood. Its master plan envisages a denser on-campus environment commensurate with that location.

On November 6, 2008, the York University Senate suspended classes because of a strike by CUPE Local 3903. The local represents contract professors, teaching assistants, and graduate assistants. Classes resumed on Monday, February 2, 2009 after back-to-work legislation was passed by the Ontario Legislative Assembly (see: 2008-09 York University Strike)


York University has produced the current directors and CEOs of almost all the major banks in Canada (Royal Bank of Canada, Bank of Nova Scotia, TD Bank, Bank of Montreal), the largest and most prominent media networks in Canada (CTV Television Network, Rogers Communications, Canadian Broadcasting Corporation), and numerous judges, diplomats, and senior politicians including the current Chief Justice of the Federal Court of Appeal of Canada, the Minister of Finance of Canada, the Attorney General of Ontario, the President of the Privy Council of Canada and the Canadian Ambassador to the United Nations. Astronaut Steve MacLean was educated at York University in the physics department and later taught there before going to work at NASAmarker.

View from Vari Hall

York's approximately 2,450 full-time faculty and academic librarians are represented by the York University Faculty Association. Contract faculty, teaching assistants, and graduate assistants are represented by CUPE Local 3903.


York University has eleven faculties. Several of these faculties' programs overlap. The Faculties of Arts (which merged with the Atkinson Faculty of Liberal and Professional Studies to form the Faculty of Liberal Arts and Professional Studies in July 2009), Science and Engineering, Liberal and Professional Studies (Atkinson), and Glendon College, for instance, each house separate mathematics departments, although some of these are being merged; the Schulich School of Businessmarker offers undergraduate and graduate International Business Administration programmes. Also, the Atkinson, Glendon, and Schulich units are offering or are in the processing of preparing to offer degrees in public policy and administration. The University administration has, however, taken steps in some cases to unify departments in separate faculties, in part to support York's efforts to brand itself as a university focused on interdisciplinarity. For example, the Faculty of Health, opened on 1 July 2006, houses the School of Health Policy and Management, School of Kinesiology and Health Science, School of Nursing, and the Department of Psychology.

The Osgoode Hall Law Schoolmarker moved from a downtown location to the York campus in 1969 following the requirement that every law school affiliate with a university. The law school has several flexible degrees available including the Osgoode-NYU JD/LLB degree in conjunction with New York University School of Lawmarker. Osgoode Hall Law School of York University has been ranked the top law school in Canada in Canadian Lawyer magazine’s 2008 Law School Survey.

York University offers the first and largest graphic design programme in Ontario (Bachelor of Design Honours degree). It is a four-year university degree delivered jointly by the two educational institutions of design in Canada, York University and Sheridan Collegemarker.

York University's Faculty of Graduate Studies offers graduate degrees in a variety of disciplines, and there are several joint graduate programmes with the University of Torontomarker and Ryerson Universitymarker. It is the second largest graduate school in the Province of Ontario.

The Ph.D. program at York in Social and Political Thought consistently ranks as one of Canada's best PhD programmes as reflected by the number of times York U students in this program have won the award for best PhD thesis in Canada.The School of Women's Studies at York University offers a large array of courses in the field, some of which are offered in French.The Canadian Centre for Germanic and European Studies is co-housed at York University and Université de Montréal. The Centre is funded by the German Academic Exchange Service.

View of Vari Hall from Harry W.
Arthurs Common

Research centres and institutes

York has an art gallery (Art Gallery of York University. The Faculty of Fine Arts offers programmes such as ethnomusicology, cultural studies, visual arts, music, dance, and theatre. York's Jazz Department was once overseen by Oscar Peterson. York also has a joint Bachelor of Design program with Sheridan Collegemarker. York's Departments of Film, Theatre and Creative Writing (which is not officially affiliated with the Faculty of Fine Arts) offers programmes in film production/directing, acting, and writing respectively, producing many award-winning graduates. The founders of Toronto's Hot Docs International Documentary Film Festival and CineACTION film theory magazine were graduates of York's Faculty of Fine Arts.

York's Dance department was founded by National Ballet of Canada's first choreographer Grant Strate.

York offers a Space and Communication Sciences undergraduate degree. York’s Centre for Vision Research has developed a ‘virtual reality room’ called IVY (Immersive Virtual Environment at York) in order to study spatial orientation and perception of gravity and motion. The Canadian Space Agency and National Space Biomedical Research Institute (NSBRI) use this room to strengthen astronauts’ sense of ‘up’ and ‘down’ in zero-gravity environments. The room is a six-sided immersive environment made of the glass used in the CN Towermarker’s observation deck and includes walls, ceiling, and a floor made of computer-generated pixel maps. York's Faculty of Science and Engineering most recently took part in the 2007 NASA Phoenix Mars Mission.

York is also the only university in Canada with specialized programmes in meteorological sciences at both the undergraduate and graduate level.



The Keele campus is host to a satellite facility of Seneca Collegemarker, Seneca@York, and York University offers a number of joint programs with Seneca College:
  • School of Communication Arts
  • Computer Studies
  • Biological Science and Applied Chemistry
  • Corporate and Technical Communications
  • Nursing


There are seven libraries and archives at York, five of them (Scott, Steacie, Peter F. Bronfman, Leslie Frost, and Clara Thomas) constituting York University Librariesmarker, plus the Archives of Ontario and the library of Osgoode Hall Law Schoolmarker.


Keele Campus

An outdoor art exhibit outside of Scott Library, Keele Campus

York's primary campus ("The Keele Campus") is located in the former municipality of North York. Most of the University's faculties reside here, including Arts, Fine Arts, Environmental Studies, Science and Engineering, Education, and Health. All together, nearly 50,000 students attend classes on the Keele campus.


Glendon College, a bilingual liberal arts faculty which conducts its own recruitment and admissions and hosts its own academic programs, is also housed on its own campus on Bayview Avenue in North Toronto. Glendon is the only university-level institution in Southern Ontario that offers university courses in both French and English; others elsewhere in Ontario include the University of Ottawamarker and Laurentian Universitymarker in Sudburymarker. A shuttle bus runs regularly between the Glendon and the Keele campuses. Glendon students are generally free to take courses at the Keele campus (and vice-versa), but the difficulty of getting from one campus to the other reduces the attractiveness of this option.

Schulich School of Business and Osgoode Hall

Seymour Schulich Building at York's Keele Campus

While most of the Schulich School of Business and Osgoode Hall programs are offered at the Keele Campus, both of them maintain satellite facilities in downtown Toronto. Schulich operates the Miles S. Nadal Management Centre, while Osgoode Hall has a Professional Development Centre located at 1 Dundas Street West.

Student life

York has more than 50,000 students enrolled. Many students come from the Greater Toronto Area, but there is a sizeable population of students from across Canada and abroad, making York one of the most international universities in Canada. To serve this large population, there are 225 student clubs and organisations; six student-run publications and three broadcast programs; six art galleries; 33 on-campus eateries; and a retail mall. Undergraduate students at York are represented by the York Federation of Students, a student-elected body that sponsors most of the clubs and engages in lobbying with the university administration and the provincial and federal governments.


Vanier Residence
The entrance area of Bethune College.
The main floor was recently redesigned.
The Pond Road Residence

York has nine undergraduate residential colleges:
Colleges of York University
Name(Founded) Motto/Mandate Academic Affiliations Undergrad Population Namesake
Calumet(1970) "Technology and the Arts" Schulich School of Businessmarker, Economics, Geography, Business and Society, Cognitive Science, Communication Studies, Urban Studies 4806 Norman-French for pipe or pipestem.
Founders(1965) "Self, Culture & Society" Anthropology,Environmental Studies, French, Italian, History, African studies, East Asian studies, Latin American and Caribbeanmarker Studies, South Asian Studies, International Development, Women's Studies 4185 Those who founded York University and are not otherwise recognized.
Glendon(1966) Bilingual Liberal Arts Liberal Arts, English, French, Public Policy approx. 3000 A combination of "glen" meaning "valley" and "Don" for the Don River.
McLaughlin(1968) Public Policy & Social Sciences Political science, Sociology, Law and Society, Criminology, Public policy, Health and Society, Labour Studies 5128 Colonel Samuel McLaughlin, businessman and philanthropist.
New College(2009) Professional Studies Human Resources, Administrative Studies, Information Technology unknown Newest college at York University.
Norman Bethune(1972) "Science and its Place in the World" Natural Sciences, Engineering, Science and Society 6261 Dr. Norman Bethune, Canadian doctor and Chinese hero.
Stong(1969) Language and Sport English and other Languages, Kinesiology, Health Science 4336 The Stong family lived on the land now occupied by the Keele campus.
Vanier(1965) Humanities Classics, Creative Writing, Humanities, Education, Philosophy, Psychology, Theology 4667 Georges Vanier, Governor-General of Canada.
Winters(1967) Fine Arts Fine Arts 2574 Robert Winters, Canadian Cabinet Minister and York's first chairman.
Glendon College acts as both a faculty and a college of the university. New College was created in 2009 to accommodate the creation of the Faculty of Liberal Arts and Professional Studies.

The different houses that make up Founders Residence are actually named after the Group of Seven (Varley House, Harris House, etc.), or as the plaque at the building says, 'The Founders of Canadian Art."

The Village at York off-campus student housing area has become quite a popular area of accommodation for many upper-year and post-graduate students, and the area has had a large amount of attention particularly for large parties hosted by students, including the annual Battle of the Village kegger held in March. There have also been many reports of the level of noise pollution from late-night parties from students living in the area.

York University has also begun to extend the Village, with more housing nearer to the campus gates, and an urban marketplace at Pond and Sentinel Roads, that will have several restaurants, bars, student shops and a miniature grocery shop.

Newspapers and other publications

Excalibur has been the university's autonomous student newspaper since 1966. In 2008, the YU Free Press was formed as an alternative campus newspaper.

Colleges and some programs also have individual newspapers or magazines. They include: The Flying Walrus (Stong College), MacMedia (McLaughlin College), The Pipe (Calumet College), Winters Free Press (Winters College), SOFA (Spotlight On Fine Arts), The Lexicon (Norman Bethune College), The Vandoo (Vanier College), Obiter Dicta (Osgoode Law School), Pro Tem (Glendon College), The Insider (Schulich School of Business), The Phoenix (Founders College), and The Atkinson Beat (Atkinson Faculty of Liberal and Professional Studies).

Existere - Journal of Arts and Literature (est. 1978) is a national publication with local and international contributors. It is financed by Vanier College Council. The journal publishes short fiction, poetry, non-fiction and art from novices and seasoned veterans. Several major writers got their early start in Existere.

YorkU Magazine (est. 2003) is the official magazine of York University. It publishes five times per year in hard copy and digital editions.

e-MAGINED (est. 2007) is The Canadian electronic-Magazine of International Education. It is produced three times yearly by York International.


A dog sporting a York University dog T-shirt

The University is represented in Canadian Interuniversity Sport by the York Lions. Beginning in 1968 York's sporting teams were known as the "Yeomen", after the Yeomen Warders, the guardians of the fortress and palace at the Tower of Londonmarker, otherwise known as Beefeaters. Later, the name "Yeowomen" was introduced to encourage women to participate in sports. Popular sentiment ran against this name scheme, however, as many students were fond of noting that a "Yeowoman" was fictitious, neither a real word nor having any historical merit. In 2003, after conducting an extensive internal study, the University replaced both names with the "Lions", as part of a larger renaming effort, and a new logo, now a white and red lion, was brought into line with the university's new visual scheme. The name change also brought York University in line with the 92% of other Canadian universities which use a single name for both sexes' sports teams. Ironically, students often refer to the female Lions teams as the "York Lionesses", even though the name "Lion" is intended to apply to both sexes.
Logo of the York Lions
SportYork offers 29 interuniversity sport teams, 12 sport clubs, 35 intramural sport leagues, special events and 10 pick-up sport activities offered daily.

York University has several athletic facilities, some of which are used for major tournaments. These include a football stadium, 4 gymnasia, 5 sport playing fields, 4 softball fields, 9 outdoor tennis courts, 5 squash courts, 3 dance/aerobic studios, 6 ice arenas, a swimming pool, an expanding fitness centre and the new Rexall Centremarker (home of the Rogers Tennis Cup).

In 2005, plans were made to build a new football and soccer stadium to host the Toronto Argonauts of the Canadian Football League and future football tournaments. These plans were scuttled, however, when a deal was signed by the Argos to remain at the Rogers Centremarker. York's proximity to many of Toronto's cricket-playing communities and role as host of an annual "York is U" cricket tournament has led to speculation that the university might act as a permanent home for Canada's cricket program.

Fight song

Notable among a number of songs commonly played and sung at various events such as commencement and convocation, and athletic games are: "York Song", sung to the tune "Harvard".

At sporting events, and in a host of frosh week events on campus, students are often heard singing and chanting the cheer "Deep in the Heart":

Deep in the heart of the York U Jungle,
You can hear the Lions rumble,
Oo Oo, YU YU, Oo Oo, YU YU

Another York Fight song that is used at Homecoming games is:

The red and white are waving over the field
Our team is fighting with the spirit that will not yield
Rah rah rah!
Hail to thee O York U
We'll fight for you
Once again the Lions will reach victory!

There are also college songs, particularly from the friendly feuds between Stong College and Bethune College, and the infamous Winters College and Vanier College cheer songs.

Fraternities and sororities

Until 1989, membership in a fraternity or sorority at York University was forbidden. In 1989, the related senate resolution was revoked and replaced with Presidential Regulation Number 5 which does not forbid membership but rather denies official status to fraternities and sororities at York University. The reasons given in this regulation are that fraternities and sororities deflect students from participation in the College system, that their commitment to exclusivity is in conflict with York's principles of inclusivity (no student club is allowed to deny membership except on the grounds of major, for those organisations with representation to their department), and are often associated with inappropriate conduct. Over the years, however, two fraternities and two sororities have operated, unofficially, on campus:



Phi Delta Phi (ΦΔΦ) international legal fraternity, at Osgoode Law Schoolmarker, was given special dispensation when the law school became part of the university, as the fraternity's history with the law school dated back to 1896, and is recognized at York.


Global rankings

  • The Webometrics Ranking of World Universities 2008, which conducts an annual ranking of the World's Top 4000 Universities, placed York at 115 out of 4000.
  • The Times 2007 (THES) World Rankings placed York University at 248th out of the top 400 universities The same survey ranked York 41st best social science university in the world
  • The Shanghai Jiao Tong Universitymarker 2007 Academic Ranking of World Universities placed York in the range of 403-510 of the universities surveyed.

Specialised rankings

  • York University's overall grade was 'C+' on the 2009 College Sustainability Report Card of the Sustainable Endowments Institute.
  • Maclean's 2008 Reputational Survey ranked York 28th overall (down three spots from last year), in its survey of over 11,000 qualified individuals. The same survey ranked York 9th (down one spot from last year) in its "comprehensive" university category.
  • In the Globe and Mail 2007 University Report Card, based on student feedback surveys York's grade was 'B'.


TTC bus at York
York University is sometimes referred to as a "commuter school". Over 65% of the students and staff have home addresses in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA), particularly in York Region and downtown Toronto. Many students are opting for public transit owing to York's high parking fees. York intends to increase the fees for parking for the 2009/10 academic year to combat the congestion around the campus and to assist the fight for making Toronto more environmentally friendly .

Close to fourteen hundred buses move people through the campus each day; a proposed extension of the Yonge-University-Spadina subway line would help alleviate this problem. It would run directly under the campus, creating new stations at Keele and Finch (Finch West), at the centre of campus (York University), and at Steeles Avenue, interfacing with York Region Transit (Steeles West).As of 10 A.M., Friday November 20, 2009, express buses on the very frequent 196 route now use a dedicated busway to get from Downsview Station to York Lanes in about 15 minutes. It consists of bus-only lanes on the Allen Road/Dufferin Street, and bus-only roadways through a hydro corridor north of Finch Avenue West, and along the east side of the campus.York University's Glendon and Keele campuses are served by the Toronto Transit Commission. The Keele site is also served by York Region Transit buses (both regular and Viva) from the immediate north, GO Transit express buses from several other Toronto suburbs and colleges or universities and Greyhound buses for regional transportation. The department of Security, Parking and Transportation Services operates a shuttle service to GO Transit's York University train station on its Barrie corridor.

Campus safety

York University Department of Security Services provides security services on the university's campuses. York Security Services provide uniformed patrol officers, campus liaison officers (community services unit) and the Investigative Unit which works closely with the Toronto Police Services. The investigative unit and Toronto Police Investigative Units and 31 Division work jointly on serious investigations. Patrols are conducted on foot, bicycle and vehicle. The security service is a member of the Ontario Association of College and University Security Administrators (OACUSA) and the International Association of Campus Law Enforcement Administrators (IACLEA). The campus community is over 55,000 people.

The department uses marked Crown Victoria police interceptors which are clearly identifiable with low-profile LED roof lights. The department responds to all calls for service.

Uniform officers can be clearly identified by their dark cargo-style pants, red shirt (York University colour) and black exterior bulletproof vest covers.

Residence watch officers are also posted nightly at all undergraduate residence buildings to provide an extra level of protection.

As part of the campus safety system a student escort service is available to all members of the community. The escort staff are students hired on a part-time basis. In an emergency escort staff have immediate communication with Security Services.

The campus is currently undergoing a complete safety audit.


Anti-racism rally held in the York Student Centre

A tradition of activist politics on campus has resulted in vocal demonstrations, particularly concerning issues relating to the Middle East and economic globalization. There have been criticisms of both activist groups by the administration and media, for disrupting classes and provoking confrontations between students, and of the university administration for its response to demonstrators and activists, including expulsion and alleged police misconduct against activists.

As well, a controversy arose in 2005 regarding the sale of university land for a nearby townhouse development, and whether the developer, Tribute Communities, paid the full market price for the land. York University maintained that it was the best overall proposal. An independent investigation conducted by retired judge Edward Saunders verified that there had been no misconduct.

In October 2005, Professor David F. Noble, in opposition to York's practice of cancelling classes on the Jewish High Holidays, which originated in 1974 in deference to the university's large proportion of Jewish students and faculty members at that time, applied to the university's senate body for review of the policy. Upon the York senate's affirmation of the policy, he pledged that he would teach on those days anyway, but later decided instead to poll students in his courses, asking if they wished future classes to be cancelled out of respect for other religious holidays.

On March 31, 2006, in the case of Freeman-Maloy v. Marsden, the Court of Appeal for Ontario ruled that the university and its president, Lorna Marsden, could be sued by plaintiff Daniel Freeman-Maloy for "misfeasance in public office."


York University has a history of faculty and teaching assistant strikes. In 1997, there was a faculty strike by YUFA that lasted seven weeks. At the time, this was the second longest strike in Canadian University history. Key issues in the strike included retirement, funding, and institutional governance. In 2001, teaching assistants and contract faculty went on strike for 11 weeks, when the university broke its own record. The central issue in the 2001 disruption was the administration's proposed attempts to remove tuition indexation language.

A strike beginning on November 6, 2008 concerned a variety of institutional grievances, including job security for contract professors, elimination of the Non-Academic Student Code of Conduct, creation of whistleblower protection, and fund indexation. On January 20, 2009, CUPE 3903 defeated a forced ratification vote that would have ended the strike. On January 24, Ontario premier Dalton McGuinty announced a rare Sunday recall of the provincial legislature in order to pass back-to-work legislation mandating an immediate end to the strike. On January 29, the York University Labour Disputes Resolution Act was passed in the provincial parliament on a count of 42-8 ending the long 85-day strike and setting a precedent for future university strikes in Ontario. Post-strike supports were offered to students who experienced financial stress from the extension of the academic session.



Noted alumni and faculty

See also


  1. Experiment aboard Space Shuttle Endeavour. York U press release. Retrieved 2008-05-22
  2. NASA Phoenix Mission to Mars. York U press release. Retrieved 2008-05-22.
  3. York University Act, 1959
  4. University
  6. York University Act, 1965
  7. Ross, Murray. The Way Must be Tried: Memoirs of a University Man. Toronto: Stoddart Publishing Company, 1992.
  8. York University Gazette Online
  9. YorkSpace: Item 123456789/701
  10. Profiles Online - August 2000 - Features: GUIDING PRINCIPALS
  11. National Post. "Classes Suspended as Strike Hits York University"
  25. Schools Guide | York University: The city within a city
  29. Fight Songs
  35. World Universities' ranking on the Web: top 4000 World Ranking
  36. THES/QS Top 400 Universities. Retrieved 2008-05-22.
  37. THES/QS Top 50 Social Sciences. Retrieved 2008-05-22.
  38. Shanghai Jiao Tong Academic Rankings. Retrieved 2008-05-22.
  40. Maclean's OnCampus. 2007 Comprehensive ranking. Retrieved 2008-05-22.
  45. "Ontario to legislate end to York University strike", CBC News, January 24, 2009.
  47. Y-File: McMaster's Mamdouh Shoukri chosen as next president of York



  • UPACE (1963) Master Plan for the York University Campus.
  • York University (1998). York Campus Master Plan.

External links

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