Situated adjacent to Toronto’s Queen’s Park, the University of Toronto is the premier tertiary education institution in Ontario, Canada. It is divided into twelve colleges each with their own unique character and history, together with substantial autonomy, in addition to two satellite campuses in Scarborough and Mississauga.
The University of Toronto’s main campus features elegant Romanesque and Gothic Revival buildings on its eastern side, many of which date to the late-19th and early-20th centuries. Among its most noted buildings include the Convocation Hall with its domed roof and Ionic-pillared rotunda, the Richardsonian Romanesque-style Main Hall at King’s College Circle, and the Gothic sandstone architecture of Knox College with its distinctive cloisters. The university’s Great Hall is renowned for its impressive stained glass windows and quotation from John Milton’s “Areopagitica” speech which is inscribed on the walls and lies adjacent to the Soldiers’ Tower which is etched with the names of university alumni who died during the World Wars. The western side of the campus features more Modernist architecture in its laboratories and offices, with the Brutalist-styled Robarts Library one of its most distinctive buildings. Also of note is the innovative glass and steel architecture of the Pharmacy Building, built by Norman Foster in the early 2000s. The University of Toronto boasts a Faculty of Arts and Science, Architecture, Applied Science and Engineering, Landscape and Design, Music, Medicine, Dentistry, Law and Social Work, as well as being home to the Toronto School of Theology and the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education. It is considered the birthplace of an influential school of thought in literary criticism that has been labelled the “Toronto School” and is heavily influenced by the works of Eric A. Havelock and Harold Innis.
The University of Toronto’s main campus lies around two kilometres to the north of the city’s Downtown area and is well connected by public bus services. Trams also run along the south and western perimeters of the campus, and there are subway stations at Museum, St George and Queen’s Park that are all within easy walking distance.
The University of Toronto was originally founded as King’s College in 1827 and was controlled by the Church of England. Reformist politicians in what was then known as Upper Canada fought to have it secularised, voting to rename it the University of Toronto and cut all religious ties in 1850.