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History of Toronto and County of York in Ontario
Part IV: Toronto: Universities and Schools


In its wealth of educational institutions Toronto justly claims to be far and away ahead of any of its sister cities in the whole Dominion. In this even Montreal is eclipsed; and it is significant that Toronto's progress .n matters educational has .been almost entirely made within the last forty years. In 1844 Upper Canada College and the Grammar School were the only institutions that made any pretence at training in the higher branches of learning. At the present time, in addition to the Provincial University, the city contains five denominational universities and colleges for advanced students, the Normal and Model Schools, three schools of medicine, and one each of pharmacy, chemistry, dental surgery, practical science and veterinary medicine.

At the head of the entire educational system of the Province stands the Provincial University, or, as it is commonly called, the University of Toronto. It is one of the most magnificent piles of buildings in the whole country—if not on the entire continent—and its architectural beauties are enhanced by its position in the midst of spacious and well-wooded grounds lying to the west of the Queen's Park. The structure was completed m 1859 from designs by Messrs. Cumberland and Storm, architects, of Toronto. The style of architecture is Norman, and the material a gray freestone, for the most part undressed, which harmonizes admirably with the massive outlines of the edifice. The front of the pile faces to the south, is about a hundred yards in length, and is surmounted by a huge square tower, which adds greatly to the mediaeval appearance of the building. The rest of the outline is rectangular, enclosing on three sides a quadrangle of some two hundred feet in width, but open to its north end. The central tower is one hundred and twenty feet in height, and from its summit an admirable view is obtained. On the east front is another, but smaller and pointed, tower. In the interior the entrance-hall and grand staircase are worthy of note, and the fine library will at once attract all lovers of literature. The present President of the University is Dr. Daniel Wilson, who succeeded Dr. McCaul, of Trinity College, Dublin. The University, in the first stage of its existence, was known as the University of King's College it owed its existence in great measure to the exertions of Dr. Strachan, later on Anglican Bishop of Toronto, and was entirely in the hands of that body. Its denominational character gave great offence, and its unpopularity on that account was so great that in 1850 this grievance w as abolished and it became a purely unsectarian and State institution. For some years previously to the erection of the present edifice the University had its headquarters in the Parliament Buildings on Front Street. The present Chancellor of the University is the Hon. Edward Blake, and the Vice-Chancellor Mr. W. Mulock.

The University of Trinity College is a Church of England institution, and, like King's College, was the outcome of the untiring energy of Bishop Strachan, in whose honour the avenue leading up to the College building from the south has been named. On the abolition of the sectarian character of King's College, the Bishop, failing to secure the repeal of that measure, successfully appealed to the members of the Churches of England and Ireland for aid towards erecting a Church University in Toronto, and in April, 1851, the foundation of the present budding was laid. In January of the following year the regular course of classes was thrown open, and six months later the University was constituted by royal charter and empowered to grant degrees in diviriity, arts, law and medicine. To these have since been added music and theology, the first degree of " licentiate in theology" having been bestowed in the summer of 1884. Though a purely Church of England institution, it does not necessarily require its students, with the exception of those taking the divinity course, to be members of that denomination. The University building, which s situated on the north side of Queen Street West, immediately to the east of the Lunatic Asylum grounds, is a two-story white brick in the Third-pointed style of English, with a frontage of two hundred feet, and surmounted by a handsome turret in the centre and similar tunets, one at each wing. A new chapel has just been erected in front of the cast wing, which, by obscuring a portion of the main building, detracts considerably from its general appearance. The present Chancellor of the University is the Hon. G. W. Allan, D.C.L., and the Provost, who is also Vice-Chancellor, the Rev. C. W. E. Body, D.C.E.

Knox College is the theological training-school of the Presbyterian bod-1 in this Province. It was founded in 1844, but the present edifice at the head of Spadina Avenue was not erected until 1875, the College having previously to this had its headquarters in the old Elmsley Villa, which occupied the site of the present Central Presbyterian Church. It took its origin in the disruption of the National Kirk and the consequent formation of the Canadian branch of the Free Church of Scotland. The existing building is an extensive Gothic structure of white brick with stone dressings, and contains, in addition to the usual lecture-rooms, ample accommodation for eighty resident students. It has a frontage of two hundred and thirty feet to the south, and three rings, each of about one hundred and fifty feet, running to the north. Surmounting the main entrance is a massive tower one hundred and thirty feet in height. Rev. W. Caven, D.D., is Principal of the College, and is assisted by a staff of prominent clerical members of the Presbyterian Church as professors.

McMaster Hall, which occupies the same position in the educational system of the Baptist Church as Knox College does in that of the Presbyterian body, is situated on the south side of Bloor Street, on grounds that formerly formed part of the Queen's Park. It owes its existence to the liberality of the Hon. William McMaster. It is a massive building of Credit Valley stone with dressings of red brick, forming a curious and unusual blending of colours.

To the south of the Provincial University, and on College Street, is Wycliffe Hall, or the Protestant Episcopal Divinity School, an institution organized in 1879 by the Evangelical branch of the Church of England, and affiliated with the University of Toronto, its professed aim being to impart "sound and comprehensive theological training, in accordance with the distinctive principles of evangelical truth as embodied in the "Thirty-nine Articles."

In connection with the educational institutions of Toronto a word may be said of the buildings of the Education Department and Normal and Model Schools, which stand in pleasant grounds of their own, occupying the entire block enclosed by Church, Gerrard, Victoria and Gould Streets. The main building, occupied by the offices of the Education Department, faces the last mentioned street. It is of brick faced with stone, and the style of its architecture is a Roman Doric. Its frontage measures one hundred and eighty-four feet, and the facade presents in the centre four pilasters of the full height of the building, with pediment, surmounted by an open Doric cupola ninety-five feet high. Within this building, in addition to the offices mentioned, is an interesting museum and art gallery open to the public free of charge. The Normal and Model Schools are in the same block of buildings. The former, intended for the training of Public School teachers,, dates from 1847, and owes its existence to the efforts of the late Egerton Ryerson, the father of the educational system of Ontario. It at first had its habitat in the Government buildings, but was subsequently, on the transfer of the seat of Government from Montreal to Toronto, removed to the Temperance Hall, and later on, in 1852, to the present building, then just completed. In the Model School, which is merely a complement to the Normal, the teachers who have received instruction m the art of teaching in the latter have an opportunity of putting their experiences to a practical test. The Principal of the Normal School is the Rev. W. H. Davies, D.D. The Ontario School of Art, which is doing good service in supplying much-needed instruction in the various branches of art, is also contained in these buildings.

The Ontario School of Practical Science, or School of Technology. another Government institution, and in close connection with University College, is situated to the south of the Provincial University buildup. In its curriculum special attention is given to instruction in chemistry, engineermg, mining and assaying, with important practical results to the Province.

Upper Canada College was founded :n 1829 by Sir John Colborne, then Lieutenant-Governor of Upper Canada. It was at first known as Minor College, and was intended to impart education of a class only inferior to that of the university type. It occupies, with its grounds, the entire square formed by King, Simcoe, Adelaide and John Streets ; and is at present an imposing red brick building of a modified Elizabethan style, having been largely remodelled and added to within the last few years. Many of the most prominent public men in the Province received then-early education at Upper Canada College.

Other educational institutions worthy of notice are the Collegiate Institute, on the east side of Jarvis Street, just south of Old St. Andrew's Church ; St. Michael's College, on St. Joseph Street, a Roman Catholic Seminary in the charge of the Basilian Fathers; and the Bishop Strachan School, on the south side of the College Avenue, a high-class Anglican establishment for the education of young ladies. The latter institution is affiliated with the University of Trinity College, where some of its alumna! have matriculated in the Arts course.

The Medical Schools of the city are:—Trinity Medical School, on Spruce Street, n affiliation with the Universities of Toronto, Trinitv College, Halifax and Manitoba; the Toronto School of Medicine, on the corner of Gerrard and Sackville Streets, in affiliation with the Universities of Toronto and Victoria College; and the recently established Woman's Medical College, on Sumach Street—all in the immediate vicinity of the Toronto General Hospital.

The Public Schools of the city are at present twenty-two in number, but the supply is scarcely equal to the demand, and many of the classes are unavoidably overcrowded. The latest school edifices are built in a uniform style of a modified Italian Renaissance. The class-rooms are large, lofty and well ventilated, and to each school are attached two spacious playgrounds, one for the boys and the other for the girls. The schools are managed by trustees elected annually in each ward. Within the last few years the Kindergarten system has been introduced m one or two of the Public Schools.

In addition to the Public Schools are the Separate Schools, eleven in number, for the education of Roman Catholic children. They are supported by the members of that faith, whose payments on account of school tax are not applied to the maintenance of the Public Schools. The Roman Catholics also have several educational institutions of a higher class, such as the Loretto Abbey, on Clarence Square; the Loretto Convent, on Pond Street; the Convent of St. Joseph, De La Salle Institute, St. Mary's Institute, and others.


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