November 16th, 2018
Beaches Living Guide Fall/Winter 2016

University of Toronto

St. George Campus, 172 St. George Street
Granted a Royal Charter in 1827
Canada’s Largest and Oldest University,
Ranked 16th in the world

Fun Fact:
10 Nobel Laureates were based at U of T inc luding Dr. Frederick Banting who along with Charles Best discovered insulin and overnight gave those with diabetes hope.


University without borders

Everyone somewhat has a connection to the University of Toronto, perhaps you are a student, or someone you know has attended the university, a family member, friend or neighbour.

When you are walking downtown in the area of College Street, Spadina Avenue, Bloor Street and Bay Street, part of Toronto’s colourful and active street life, you might also find yourself in the middle of University of Toronto’s St. George Campus. 40,000 students study, learn, and build future careers.

With its other two campuses (Scarborough and Mississauga), U of T is home to about 63,000 students. The student population is made up of individuals from over 150 countries!

A Lesson in Architecture

The buildings were erected at different times over the university’s history. University College and St. Michael’s College are the oldest buildings on campus, many new buildings also went up in the 1960s as well as in recent years. Taking in the various structures is a course in itself. The building styles include:

  • University College, a mixture of Norman and Romanesque and on Canada’s list of National Historic Sites.
  • Gothic-style Soldiers’ Tower that houses a 51-bell carillon that is rung for special occasions.
  • Classical Greek, Convocation Hall with its round dome roof and ionic pillar
  • Trinity College, Jacobethan Tudor architecture
  • One of several student centres, Hart House, a wonderful example of Gothic Revival with an expansive Great Hall lined with magnificent stained glass windows. Just wander in one day and channel “Harry Potter!”
  • “Collegiate” Gothic design, Knox College, a reminder of the architecture of US ivy-league schools like Yale and Princeton.
  • Richardsonian Romanesque (late Victorian era) style of Victoria College
  • Modern Brutalist, Robarts Library
  • Ultra modern Leslie Dan Pharmacy Building with it’s “Star Trek” feel

The Leading Edge of Everything

The University of Toronto has long been recognized not only as one of the top universities in the world, but also as a university that encourages diversity and innovation. It was founded in 1827 as King’s College and granted its royal charter by King George IV. Initially controlled by the Church of England, the university deliberately broke away from its church roots in early 1850s and declared itself non-denominational.

By 1884, the first women were admitted, a true victory for the time, and in 1974, U of T offered the first gay studies class to be taught at a Canadian university, which quickly became the subject of a huge public controversy. Today, the university welcomes over 11,000 foreign students as part of its student complement.

Famous Alumnae and Accomplishments

The history of the university follows the history of many of our country’s accomplishments. One of the most important scientific breakthroughs in the world took place in a U of T lab. A young doctor, Frederick Banting, received permission from Professor John Macleod at the university to conduct experiments in pancreas research. Banting enlisted the help of medical student Charles Best, resulting in the discovery of insulin in 1921 which changed the face of medicine forever.

Before insulin, those with severe diabetes had days left to live. Once they could be given insulin, they could live an almost normal life. Banting and Macleod were awarded the Nobel Prize in Physiology of Medicine in 1923.

8 other Nobel Laureates were based at the U of T. Other notable graduates who’ve made a mark on Canadian art, culture, music and science and political life included Northrop Frye and Marshall McLuhan, writers Margaret Atwood, Farley Mowat, Michael Ondaatje, film directors Atom Egoyan, Norman Jewison, David Cronenberg, actors Donald Sutherland, Raymond Massey, and astronaut Roberta Bondar.

Name that Movie

Just wander through the St. George campus and you’ll have no doubt as to why the U of T has been a favourite for Hollywood when it wants to depict an historical educational institution. Among the many movies shot, are the Incredible Hulk, Mean Girls, Good Will Hunting, Capote, Chicago, Cocktail, Scott Pilgrim vs. the World, Paper Chase, Total Recall.

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