University College is one of Canada’s great buildings, designed in the 1850s by Frederic Cumberland and William Storm. Significant reconstruction, overseen by David B. Dick, was required after a disastrous 1890 fire, and major restoration was undertaken in the 1970s with architectural historian Eric Arthur advising.
Peter Richardson knows this story well, and capturing his reflections on the design of the building and its changing uses over time is an essential part of preserving the College’s heritage. His background as an architect and his term as Principal of the College from 1977 to 1989 has given him an unparalleled perspective on the ways in which stone, brick, slate, and wood have been combined with such wondrous effect.
Peter Richardson (L) and David Rayside. Photo by Stephanie Coffey.
In 2015, a filming project conceived by Professor David Rayside was begun, with Nick Genova working the cameras, and Frank Scornaienchi of the U of T’s audiovisual services unit helping manage the process. Peter was filmed over fifteen two-hour sessions at several locations in UC and at the Fischer Rare Book Library poring over original architectural drawings. Throughout the process, Douglas Richardson’s remarkable book, A Not Unsightly Building: University College and Its History (1990), was an essential guide.
The goal is to create a series of edited “clips” that will show Peter talking about one or another feature of the College. One such segment, focused on the Junior Common room and the history of the UC Lit, is accessible on this page. Successful fundraising will allow the creation of a whole library of such clips, publicly accessible through UC’s website.
This project needs your support to cover the costs of basic filming and editing. $20,000 is the goal, and you can help us get there with a donation of $500, more than that, or any amount you can manage. You will of course receive a charitable tax receipt in the full amount of your gift.
Donors will be listed on this web page, and will be invited to a reception officially launching the project at which a couple of the video clips will be shown.