The University of Toronto and its colleges – 1827-1906

From the introduction of the book: the following pages afford a conspectus of the development of the institution from its beginnings, some eighty years ago to the close of the labours of the Commission in the passing of the University Act of 1906.

At just over 300 pages, there is a lot of interesting history in the book, with a number of portraits and the following list of illustrations. There is also a separate, useful chronology of U of T events online that I’ve quoted in some cases. Below the images I’ve also included the list of Ph.D.s the U. of T. had issued up to that that point, including two women.

Towards the back of the book is the Plan of the University grounds from 1906 to situate us:

The legend for the map:

  • A. McMaster University Building – Now the Royal Conservatory of Music building
  • B. Wyclifife College – still there, on the south side of Hoskin Ave.
  • C. Gymnasium – integrated into Hart House
  • D. Main Building – University College
  • E. Convocation Hall – remains very similar to this day
  • F. Physical Laboratory (In process of erection) – now called the Sandford Fleming building
  • G. Chemical Building – now the D.L. Pratt building on the west side of King’s College Rd.
  • H. Engineering Building – on the east side of King’s College Rd.
  • I. Geological and Mineralogical Building – completed 1904, now the Lassonde Mining Building on College St
  • J. Library Building
  • K. Medical Building
  • L. Biological Building
  • M. Y.M.C.A. Building
  • N. Parliament Buildings
  • O. Victoria College
  • P. Annesley Hall – remains at 95 Queens Park
  • Q. Queen’s Hall – where the Frost building south – Ministry of Finance building now stands at 7 Queens Park Cres E

Taddle creek is still visible in some places towards the top of the map. Bloor, Hoskin, St. Joseph, Grosvenor, College and University remain as they were, as does the ‘University Athletic Field’. But some notable changes:

  • Czar Street just south of Annesley Hall has been renamed Charles St. West (since roughly 1909)
  • St. Albans has been renamed Wellesley St. West
  • Surrey Place doesn’t run north of Grosvenor Street anymore


The Main University College doorway with gate and vines – Frontispiece

1856 October 4: The corner stone for the University College building is laid (Cumberland and Storm, architects). The first contract for its construction was signed four days later.” – Chronology

The Main University College Building

  • As rebuilt after the 1890 fire.
  • Architect W. G. Storm refuses to allow the University use of his plans for University College during the rebuilding process. Architect D. B. Dick has to create a complete set of new plans.” – Chronology

North side of the Main University College building from the playing fields – now called the Back Campus

The Library Building

  • Reading room opened Oct 11, 1892
  • Stacks opened 1893 when electrical light was also installed – connected to the dynamo in University College

Scene from the “Antigone 1 of Sophocles, as presented by the Students of University College in 1894

Professor Hutton enlists the University College’s Glee Club and the newly formed Classical Association to stage an ambitious remounting of ‘Antigone’ at the Academy of Music, again in Greek, using a set of scenery used in New York City the previous year. Attended by Governor General Lord Aberdeen and Lady Aberdeen, it was the social event of the season.” – 1894 February 15-17 – Chronology

Victoria College

  • Opened Oct 1st, 1892 when the college moved from Cobourg, Ontario
  • Designed by W.G. Storm

Trinity College

Scene from the ” Frogs ” of Aristophanes, as presented by the Students of Trinity College – June 23-25 1902

Jubilee of the founding of Trinity College. Although Trinity did have a dramatic club, the students stage the ‘Frogs’ of Aristophanes in the original Greek on 23 June [1902], a clever abridgement of an earlier English translation.” – Chronology

The Residence Garden

The Medical Building

The Entrance Hall of the Main Building

1858 October 4: The Governor-General places the capping stone of University College on the summit of the turret of the tower, followed by a lavish banquet in the new Library in the east wing. The final cost was $355,907.” – Chronology

Convocation Hall

  • Built to replace the older building lost in the 1890 fire
  • Cornerstone of the new building laid on June 10th, 1904
  • Opens officially on June 6th, 1907

The appendices contain lots of interesting details, too. In particular the Appendix D of Ph.D. theses, which includes the first two women to earn a Ph.D. from U. of T.

  • Frederick Hughes Scott, 1900. The Structure, Micro-Chemistry and Development of Nerve Cells, with Special Reference to their Nuclein Compounds. Univ of Toronto Studies, Physiological Series, No. I. 1900. Trans. Can. Inst., 1898-1899, Vol. 6, Parts I and 2, pp. 45-438.
  • John Cunningham McLennan, 1900. Electrical Conductivity in Gases Traversed by Cathode Rays. 1000. Phil. Trans. Roy. Soc. of London. Series A., Vol. 195, PP- 49-77-
  • Francis Barclay Allan, 1901. The Basic Nitrates of Bismuth. 1901. American Chemical Journal, Vol. 25, No. 4, April, 1001, pp. 307-3IS-
  • William Arthur Parks. 1900. The Huronian of the Basin of the Moose River. Univ. of Toronto Studies, Geological Series, No. I, 1000.
  • Ross George Murison. 1902. The Mythical Serpents of Hebrew Literature. 1902. – see
  • Richard Davidson. 1902. The Semitic Permansive-Perfect. 1902. – see
  • Walter Reuben Can. 1903. On the Potential Difference required to produce electrical discharges in gases at low pressure, an extension of Fasch Law. Trans. Roy. Soc. of Can, 2nd Series, 1902-1903. Vol. 8, Section – On the Laws Governing Electric Discharges in Gases at Low Pressures. Phil. Trans, of the Roy. Soc. of London. Series A, Vol. 201, pp. 403-433
  • Emma Sophia Baker. 1903. Experiments on the Esthetic of Light and Color. Univ. of Toronto Studies, Psychological Series, Vol. I, No. 4. – see
  • Spectrally Pure Colors in Binary Combinations. Univ. of Toronto Studies. Psychological Series, Vol. 2, No. 3. 1902.
  • George Gallie Nasmith. 1903. The Chemistry of Wheat Gluten. Uniy of Toronto Studies. Psychological Series, No. 4- Trans, of the Can. Inst, Vol. 7, 1903
  • Clara Cynthia Benson. 1903. The Rates of Reactions in Solutions Containing Ferrous Sulphate, Potassium Iodide and Chromic Acid. The Journal of Physical Chemistry, May, pp. 356-388, 1903 – see
  • William Edington Taylor. 1903. The Ethics and Religious Theories of Bishop Butler. 1903. Toronto: The Bryant Press.
  • Thomas Eakin. 1905. The Text of Habakkuk, Chap. i. i-ii. 4- Toronto: E. D. Apted.

Full list of Appendices:

You can see the whole book on the Internet Archive: The University of Toronto and its colleges, 1827-1906

Leave a Comment