1. QUOTES ABOUT UNIVERSITY COLLEGE
Compiled by Margaret Fulford, UC Librarian, from books available at the UC Library.
QUOTE ABOUT SIR WILLIAM MULOCK (UC 1863):
"[William Mulock] and J.M. Gibson [...] matriculated together and were the first students to enter the Residence of University College, which was opened in the Fall of 1859. [...] During his freshman year young Mulock attended lectures regularly and listened attentively, as most freshman do, to the words of wisdom that flowed from the mouths of the College professors, foremost amongst whom he remembers Dr. McCaul, who gave instructions in Greek and Latin and also some lectures on the principles of Logic. The old doctor impressed his students particularly by his choice language and pleasant stories, interspersed with occasional pinches of snuff."
-- W.J. Loudon
Loudon, William James. Sir William Mulock: A Short Biography (Toronto: Macmillan Co. of Canada, 1932), pp. 37-38.
TWO QUOTES BY RALPH CONNOR [CHARLES GORDON] (UC 1883):
"During our second year under the inspiration of Professor Maurice Hutton, the distinguished head of the classical department, and of Professor Ramsay Wright, a brilliant scientist, both Oxonians, the [University Glee Club] with great daring undertook the production of Sophocles's play Antigone with music. It was the first time a Greek play set to music had been done in the original in modern times. In this production [my brother Gilbert and I] were both fortunate enough to have a place in the first quartet, Gib in the bass, I in the tenor. [...]"
-- Ralph Connor [Charles Gordon]
Gordon, Charles W. Postscript to Adventure: The Autobiography of Ralph Connor (New York: Farrar & Rinehart Incorporated, 1938), pp. 43-44.
"In 1883 [my brother Gilbert and I] graduated from the university. How large a place that institution had made for itself in my heart I never knew till after I had written my last examination. I walked out through the door under the noble Gothic arch and made my way on to the beautiful green in front. Then I turned and looked at the noble building, one of the finest on the continent. It was a perfect day in early May, the trees in Queen's Park were at their best. I was suddenly stricken with an acute homesickness. It was a shock to remember that the varsity was no longer mine, I was no longer of it. I belonged to the great mob outside. I walked slowly down that green toward the School of Science and turned once more to look at the scene before me. There lay the campus, vividly green, the scene of many a hard rugby battle, and beyond it the university, calm, grandly magnificent with its fine old façade of Gothic mullioned windows, every window tricked out with its funny-faced gargoyles, the whole now softened with green splashes of ivy. No longer mine. I lay with my face on the greensward, homesick and desperately lonely."
-- Ralph Connor [Charles Gordon]
Gordon, Charles W. Postscript to Adventure: The Autobiography of Ralph Connor (New York: Farrar & Rinehart Incorporated, 1938), p. 45.
TWO QUOTES BY H. RUSHTON FAIRCLOUGH (UC 1883), LECTURER AT UC FROM 1887 TO 1893:
"It was in October 1887 that I entered upon my work as Lecturer in Greek and Ancient History in University College, Toronto. [...] I had [...] taken a suite of rooms in the residence, which formed one side of the College quadrangle. [...] My youngest brother, George, had by this time entered College, and he occupied these rooms with me. I felt very proud of having my own bachelor quarters. [...] Our sitting room had a large stone fireplace, set in a corner; and opposite this we installed a piano, which George could use for practice, as well as for the entertainment of both ourselves and our friends. The college steward and servants ministered to our physical comforts, every morning bringing hot water to our rooms, laying the fire, polishing our shoes, and making our beds.[...] Thus we lived in what must have seemed to many a state of comparative luxury. I say 'seemed,' because, judged by present-day standards of comfort and healthfulness, the old picturesque Residence was in a deplorable state. Its sanitary facilities were very imperfect, and the whole place was alive with rats, so that, if one woke up in the middle of the night, he was likely to hear swarms of the rodents running up and down the stairs which divided the various houses from one another."
--- H. Rushton Fairclough
Fairclough, H. Rushton. Warming Both Hands: The Autobiography of Henry Rushton Fairclough (Stanford University Press, 1941), pp. 85-86.
"Early in 1890 our peace was disturbed by what seemed at the time to be an irreparable calamity. On the evening of Friday, February 14, the annual Conversazione of the Literary and Scientific Society was again to be held in University College. [...] Our President, who was now Sir Daniel Wilson, for he had recently been knighted by Queen Victoria, had invited to his home for dinner a number of friends who were later to accompany him and his family to the college for the gay function. My wife and I were among these guests. Shortly before dessert was served a servant whispered a message in the ear of our host, who at once arose and left the room. A few moments later the same servant came in to tell Miss Sybil Wilson that the college was on fire and that her father had gone to the scene. It was a terrible yet fascinating spectacle which confronted us on reaching the campus. On this cold winter night the spacious grounds were covered with a mantle of white. Here had already assembled hundreds of people, arrayed in evening dress, who, instead of enjoying the music and gaiety within, were to spend the evening in the open air watching fiery flames leap upwards above the corniced roof and noble central tower, then pass relentlessly from room to room of the majestic Norman structure. The whole eastern half, embracing the Library and the Convocation Hall, was doomed from the first, and the heroic efforts of firemen, students, and other volunteers were confined to saving the western half, which included the natural history museum, a few lecture rooms, and the college Residence. [...] At a late hour a number of us returned to the President's house and discussed the evening's tragedy. The destruction of the Library, with its thousands of volumes, would be most keenly felt by all; while some of us, whose offices had been devastated, had to face personal losses as well, for it was in them that we had kept academic robes, lecture notes, and our most-used books. Sir Daniel was the most cheerful member of the group. Already offers of accommodation had come to him from neighboring schools and colleges; the Prime Minister had assured him of the Government's desire to help in the crisis; and his immediate ambition was to have lectures continue the following week without the slightest break. In this laudable aim he was successful."
--- H. Rushton Fairclough
Fairclough, H. Rushton. Warming Both Hands: The Autobiography of Henry Rushton Fairclough (Stanford University Press, 1941), pp. 95-96.
QUOTE BY STEPHEN LEACOCK (UC 1891):
"At the University [of Toronto] I spent my entire time in the acquisition of languages, living, dead, and half-dead, and knew nothing of the outside world. In this diligent pursuit of words I spent about sixteen hours of each day. Very soon after graduation I had forgotten the languages, and found myself intellectually bankrupt. In other words I was what is called a distinguished graduate, and, as such, I took to school teaching as the only trade I could find that needed neither experience nor intellect."
-- Stephen Leacock
Leacock, Stephen. Leacock on Life, edited by Gerald Lynch (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2002), pp. 3-4.
QUOTE ABOUT HOWARD FERGUSON (UC 1891):
"During his years at University College, Howard [Ferguson] was an active member of the Literary Society [University College Literary and Scientific Society] and served on many of its committees. In the fall of 1890 he represented the Arts undergraduates at a McGill dinner but unfortunately overdid the festive aspects of the occasion. When it came time to report to the Lit on what had transpired in Montreal, he was in a fluster, not knowing what to do. Harry Cody came to his rescue. 'Tell them you forget,' he suggested. Howard did so and brought down the house."
-- Peter Oliver
Oliver, Peter. G. Howard Ferguson: Ontario Tory. (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1977), p. 13.
QUOTE ABOUT HOWARD FERGUSON (UC 1891) AND STEPHEN LEACOCK (UC 1891):
"[A crisis] occurred a few short weeks before graduation when Howard [Ferguson] faced an examination in mathematics. Here was a weakness he shared with language major Stephen Leacock, who was again his roommate. The facile Leacock suggested a solution. After much scanning of the catalogue, he decided that a credit in ethnology would serve equally well to get them their degrees and was more to their taste. Howard was always willing to defer to Leacock's judgment in matters academic, although the necessary exam would have to be written the following day. 'Leacock hurried to the library and discovered that Sir Daniel Wilson, principal of the university, had written two books on the subject.' He brought the books back to their room and they spent the night reading aloud to each other. Each was content to graduate with a third in ethnology."
-- Peter Oliver
Oliver, Peter. G. Howard Ferguson: Ontario Tory. (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1977), pp. 13-14.
TWO QUOTES BY PELHAM EDGAR (UC 1892):
"Sir Daniel Wilson was President when I began my courses in University College. We spoke of him commonly as 'Hence accordingly,' a phrase of frequent repetition in the occasional lectures on history or English that we heard from him. "
-- Pelham Edgar
Edgar, Pelham. Across My Path (Toronto: Ryerson Press, 1952), p. 17
"George Paxton Young died at the opening of my second year. I had intended to combine philosophy with my moderns course -- we were allowed a pretty wide choice in those days -- but a single lecture from him was all that I achieved. The University today can boast of a diversity of brilliant talent on its staff, but it can display no such impressive figures as the venerable President [Daniel Wilson] and Paxton Young. I have a recollection of some violent class room disturbance in the famous number 8 with its tiers of seats that ran from floor to ceiling. There is a corridor picture in my mind of two antique figures, with waving hoary beards, dragging a heavy hose with intent to turn its nozzle on the rioters. This was almost the last public appearance of Sir Daniel Wilson and George Paxton Young."
-- Pelham Edgar
Edgar, Pelham. Across My Path (Toronto: Ryerson Press, 1952), pp. 20-21
QUOTE ABOUT WILLIAM LYON MACKENZIE KING (UC 1895):
"Mackenzie King did well at the Berlin High School, and in 1891 he went on to University College at the University of Toronto. His father was a graduate of the University and a member of its Senate. The new freshman apparently made some ill-advised reference to his latter distinction, which produced a rude comment in the student paper, The Varsity, concerning the son of 'Senator Rex' of Berlin. Claiming that he had been misrepresented, King brought the affair before a meeting of his class, which, he assured his parents, accepted his version and cheered him to the echo. The permanent result of the incident was the nickname 'Rex,' by which those who knew him best called King until the end of his life."
-- Charles P. Stacey
Stacey, Charles P. A Very Double Life: The Private World of Mackenzie King (Toronto: Macmillan Co. of Canada, 1976), p. 18.
QUOTE ABOUT WILLIAM LYON MACKENZIE KING (UC 1895) AND UC PROF. WILLIAM DALE:
"[William Lyon Mackenzie] King's most memorable moment as an undergraduate and his first real taste of political action occurred in his final year, during the great student strike of 1895. To protest the university's firing of William Dale, a popular professor of Latin, and the administration's censorship of The Varsity and the Political Science Association, the students voted to boycott classes until the Ontario government convened a public inquiry in to the university administration's questionable actions. The day Dale's dismissal was announced, the students voted to walk out of classes. At a boisterous rally, King delivered a passionate speech denouncing 'the age-old cult of tyranny,' as journalist Hector Charlesworth, who attended the gathering, later remembered. In his diary, King enthusiastically noted that when he first heard the news about Dale, 'I was that excited that I could not keep still, my blood fairly boiled. I scarcely ate any lunch.'"
-- Allen Levine
Levine, Allan. King: William Lyon Mackenzie King: A Life Guided by the Hand of Destiny (Vancouver: Douglas & McIntyre, 2011), pp. 37-38.
QUOTE ABOUT ARTHUR MEIGHEN (UC 1896) AND PROF. W.J. ALEXANDER:
"As a specialist in mathematics [Arthur Meighen] had most to do with Professor Alfred Baker and the urbane and talented A.T. DeLury, one of the most popular and respected instructors on the campus. But the man who made the greatest impression on him was Professor W.J. Alexander of the Department of English at University College. Meighen had been reading Shakespeare for several years and had already found in his works an inexhaustible source of pleasure. When Alexander read Shakespeare aloud to his class, however, the power and beauty of the language, the insight into human motives and emotions, the majesty and force of the drama were revealed as never before to the enchanted youth. Alexander could establish a kind of spiritual communion between a receptive listener on the one hand and the poet and his characters on the other. His lectures remained in Meighen's mind as among the few truly memorable experiences of university."
-- Roger Graham
Graham, Roger. Arthur Meighen: A Biography (Toronto: Clarke, Irwin & Co., 1960), pp. 18-19.
QUOTE BY WILLIAM JAMES LOUDON (UC 1880):
"The original idea of [architect Frederick William] Cumberland was to have a lawn in front and to the south of University College, hemmed in by shrubberies, with winding roads at the east and west: thus giving approaches from which the College would appear to the best advantage. This idea was carried out for some years but finally, about twenty years ago, Art was sacrificed for Utility, the shrubberies at the south of the lawn were removed, and a road was cut from College Street, straight in front of the main entrance, thus destroying the beauty of the lawn, making it much smaller, and presenting to the eye a bare front of stone. The God of Utility will probably soon require that this short road shall be prolonged straight to the front door of the College, thus dividing the lawn into two equal parts and reducing the time used in describing the arc of a circle to a minimum. Some years ago, about 1892, a number of reformers proposed this very thing and, in addition, suggested that the main road in front of the College be continued through to St. George Street. John Squair was the chief of these reformers, although, latterly, he was strong in favour of Cumberland's original idea. In fact, the last time I saw him, we were standing at the corner of College street and the 'Street without a Name,' and, looking up towards the main building, John deplored the destruction of the original beauty of the lawn. When I reminded him of his former suggestions, he only laughed and said that he had grown wiser with age and that it was never too late to learn.
-- William James Loudon
Loudon, W.J. Studies of Student Life, volume 5 (Toronto: Macmillan, 1928), pp. 241-242.
QUOTE ABOUT VINCENT MASSEY (UC 1910):
"By every family tradition [Vincent Massey] should have gone to Victoria, the intellectual citadel of Methodism, which had recently, and somewhat reluctantly, moved from Cobourg to Toronto to become a college in the University of Toronto. The Massey family was closely associated with Victoria. [...] He was still a serious young man, outwardly faithful to his Methodist upbringing. But he was beginning to chafe under the Massey burden of moral earnestness and loyalty to the firm. His choice of University College, the provincial college that had no official religious ties, and about which there still hung a faint aroma of godlessness, was a declaration of independence, a clear indication that he did not intend to follow in the family footsteps.
-- Claude Bissell
Bissell, Claude. The Young Vincent Massey (Toronto : University of Toronto Press, 1981), pp. 30-31.
QUOTE BY VINCENT MASSEY (UC 1910):
"University College in my time was really a non-collegiate body -- it had no residence and little to give it the cohesion of a community, but it did include in its faculty some persons in the best academic tradition. They were talented men, highly individual, often eccentric in their habits. Standardized practice and overwork had not yet threatened academic life with uniformity. Our professors were good teachers and possessed for the most part very personal qualities. We were able to know them; the contacts between teacher and student were not yet smothered under the weight of numbers. We were spared the dreary and futile machinery of compulsory lectures and the 'credit' system."
-- Vincent Massey
Massey, Vincent. What's Past Is Prologue: The Memoirs of the Right Honourable Vincent Massey, C.H. (Toronto: Macmillan Co. of Canada, 1963), p. 18.
QUOTE ABOUT ARTHUR R.M. LOWER (UC 1914):
"Between men and women students there was not much general association. By the fourth year, a male student was probably calling a few of his women class-mates by their first names, but most of them were still just people sitting in the same class-rooms. There was no casual mingling in the seating. Few activities were conducted in common. There were separate reading-rooms in the library. Between classes the ladies withdrew to their own private world off the East Hall; none of them was ever seen talking to a male student in the corridors. Of course women were ladies in those days. This meant that in University College, that co-educational institution, I lived in a man's world, a monastic world. So did most of the other men I knew."
-- Arthur R. M. Lower
Lower, Arthur R. M. My First Seventy-Five Years (Toronto: Macmillan of Canada, 1967), p. 44.
QUOTE BY ANDREW ALLAN (UC 19??):
"At the University of Toronto, in the late 1920s, my life was torn three ways: by theatre, by newspaper, and by academic studies. Academic studies lost, hands down. My academic career was marked by an exquisite lack of distinction. Theatre was represented by the University College Players' Guild, and by Hart House Theatre -- which, in those days, although on the campus, was not part of the university. Newspaper was represented by the Varsity, the undergraduate daily, on which I started as a reporter, proceeded to masquerade as Drama Editor, and finally became boss Editor."
-- Andrew Allan
Allan, Andrew. Andrew Allan: A Self-Portrait (Toronto : Macmillan of Canada, 1974), p. 55.
QUOTE ABOUT BORA LASKIN (UC 1933):
"In his third year [Bora] Laskin also served on the executive of the UC Literary and Athletic Society. Thanks to its interdenominational character, the University College 'Lit' was one of the few social clubs on campus where religious integration was close to being a reality. In his year on the executive Laskin was joined by fellow law students Sydney Hermant and Nathan Pivnick. As 'literary director' Laskin was responsible for planning a series of speakers[...]. The most popular speaker was Agnes Macphail, the sole woman MP in the House of Commons. In her address to the students in November 1932 she 'flayed pet Canadian institutions,' arguing for increased state control over finance, trade, and industry in order to remedy the horrors of the Depression. The occasion was historic: the all-male Lit had never invited a 'lady' speaker before, but her presence 'met with the approbation of all' [Varsity, November 2, 1932]. "
-- Philip Girard
Girard, Philip. Bora Laskin: Bringing Law to Life (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, for the Osgoode Society for Canadian Legal History, 2005), pp. 54-55.
QUOTE BY PROF. CLAUDE BISSELL (UC 1936):
"I had chosen to go to University College. By upbringing and by religious background, I should logically have gone to Victoria, which was affiliated with the United Church; but my family had no firm convictions on such remote questions as the choice of a college, and I was anxious to assert my own freedom. [....] The decision to go to University College was a wise one for it meant I would encounter an English department at the height of its powers, and English was to be my main interest. I suspect that rarely on this continent has there been assembled in one place a group of teachers of such diverse and splendid power."
-- Claude Bissell
Bissell, Claude. Halfway up Parnassus: A Personal Account of the University of Toronto, 1932-1971 (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1974), pp. 4-5.
QUOTE ABOUT ALAN JARVIS (UC 1938):
"In September 1934, Alan Jarvis entered University College, or "UC," the largest and only secular institution affiliated with the University of Toronto. It was a key choice because much of an undergraduate's life revolved around his or her college. [...] [About half of UC's undergraduates] hailed from Toronto and like Jarvis, a majority of them lived at home throughout their studies. Nevertheless, the student body was more diverse than this fairly narrow catchment area suggests. Half were women, while UC's secularity attracted a substantial number of Jewish students. Similarly, the students' socioeconomic origins encompassed the offspring of professional families with long traditions of university education, those like Jarvis, whose parents' success had propelled them into the middle classes, and a smaller group of scholarship students from more humble backgrounds."
-- Andrew Horrall
Horrall, Andrew. Bringing Art to Life: A Biography of Alan Jarvis (Montreal: McGill-Queen's University Press, 2009), p. 27.
QUOTE ABOUT TOM DALY (UC 1940):
"At the University of Toronto, he started out in the classics course, but switched to English literature when he found that he already had studied much of the material that the classics program at Toronto covered. On the extracurricular side, he served on the Hart House Arts Committee and acted in student plays. In his junior year, he produced the 'University College Follies,' whose stars were Lou Weingarten and Frank Shuster, later known as the comedy team of Wayne and Shuster. In his subsequent career [at the National Film Board of Canada], Daly would often draw on his experiences of classical literature, philosophy, and other arts to help interpret a situation, solve an editing problem, or understand a personal dilemma."
-- D.B. Jones
Jones, D.B. The Best Butler in the Business: Tom Daly of the National Film Board of Canada (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1996), p. 8.
TWO QUOTES BY KENNETH MCNAUGHT (UC 1941):
"The University of Toronto campus in the autumn of 1937 more than met my well-nourished expectations. The creeping leviathan of the 1950s and 1960s had not yet swallowed whole streets. For four years Bev [Argue] and I went several times a week to the Lantern Tea Room -- on Willcocks Street, where one of the ugliest of science buildings has now taken the place of old houses and lofty elms. Lunch could be had there for 25 or 30 cents. I very nearly registered at Trinity College in the company of other Upper Canada College chaps. Inside the Trinity quadrangle, however, I sensed toO much déjà vu. The floor plan resembled that of Upper Canada, the dustbane smelled the same, and I was being invited to join in a select fraternity. A kind of inverted snobbery -- which I mistook for egalitarianism -- overtook me. Across the campus I registered in University College -- the 'godless' college,' but also the one to which my father had been attached."
-- Kenneth McNaught
McNaught, Kenneth. Conscience and History: A Memoir (Toronto : University of Toronto Press, 1999), p. 22.
"The great majority of our lectures, in all fields, were occasions -- a claim that may well be greeted with scepticism in an age in which the lecture enjoys not much approval. Beyond the first year, most lectures were given to fewer than forty students. With very few exceptions, we recognized that lectures had been meticulously constructed by people genuinely engaged with their subjects. Providing one had done at least some of the preparatory reading, the lecture ambiance usually produced personal rapport and beneficial stimulus."
-- Kenneth McNaught
McNaught, Kenneth. Conscience and History: A Memoir (Toronto : University of Toronto Press, 1999), p. 24.
QUOTE BY MAVOR MOORE (UC 1941):
"I had registered at nonsectarian University College precisely because of Father's connection with Trinity, the Anglican centre; and I had taken a room in the Victoria residence only because there were none left at UC. If it must be one crowd or another, I told myself, better the eclectic United Churchers than the pietistic Anglicans, the dour Presbyterians, or the tyrannical Catholics. If there had been a Buddhist residence, I would have gone there. Near the entrance to University College, a Neo-Romanesque edifice from the 1850s, I found a legend: 'Here was realized a major nineteenth-century aspiration: the establishment of a non-denominational institution of higher learning supported by government.' This inscription suited my iconoclasm and my appetite for diversity. But it also showed that a government could do for the community what self-seeking factions would not."
-- Mavor Moore
Moore, Mavor. Reinventing Myself: Memoirs (Toronto: Stoddart, 1994), p. 55.
QUOTE BY HENRY KREISEL (UC 1946), ABOUT PROF. CLAUDE BISSELL (UC 1936) AND PROF. J.R. MCGILLIVRAY (UC 1926):
"In the fall of 1942 I enrolled in the honours course in English Language and Literature at the University of Toronto. Now at last, I thought, I would be able to get a systematic overview of the national literature, for one of the first-year courses was 'American and Canadian Literature.' It was, alas, a misleading description. The Canadian part of the course consisted of three or four lectures at the end of the academic year. These lectures were given by Claude Bissell. They were very good lectures, but there was not very much that he could do in three or four hours. [J.R.] McGillivray taught the American material. When I saw the reading list for the course, I expressed my disappointment because there was so little Canadian material on the list. McGillivray said that if I was interested, I could write a major term paper on a Canadian writer. He suggested A.M. Klein, who had recently published Hath Not A Jew, and whose background was similar to mine. So the very first term paper I wrote at the University of Toronto was on a Canadian poet. It was a great experience for me."
-- Henry Kreisel
Neuman, Shirley, ed. Another Country: Writings by and about Henry Kreisel (Edmonton: NeWest Press, 1984), p. 113.
QUOTE BY HENRY KREISEL (UC 1946) ABOUT ROBERT WEAVER (UC 1947) AND JAMES REANEY (UC 1948):
"In 1943 I met Robert Weaver and James Reaney. Up to now Canada had been for me the confines of internment camps, and the two big cities -- Toronto and Montreal. The rest of the country barely existed in my consciousness. Reaney, both in his inimitable conversation and in the evocative things he wrote, introduced me to the world of small-town Ontario, and Weaver, who was more interested in prose than in poetry, introduced me to modern Canadian fiction."
-- Henry Kreisel
Neuman, Shirley, ed. Another Country: Writings by and about Henry Kreisel (Edmonton: NeWest Press, 1984), p. 113.
QUOTE ABOUT ROBERT WEAVER (UC 1947):
"[Robert Weaver] joined the staff of The Varsity, the university newspaper, for which he reviewed frequently. In his second year he edited The Undergrad, the University College student magazine, which under his watch was transformed into a much more literary publication than it had been up until then. He became close friends with Henry Kreisel, James Reaney, and Colleen Thibodeau, all of whom would have significant careers down the road -- Kreisel as a novelist, Reaney as a poet and playwright, and Thibodeau as a poet."
-- Elaine Kalman Naves
Naves, Elaine Kalman. Robert Weaver: Godfather of Canadian Literature (Montréal: Véhicule Press, 2007), p. 28.
QUOTE BY ROBERT WEAVER (UC 1947) ABOUT PROF. NORMAN J. ENDICOTT:
"Norman Endicott was an English professor at University College and he was a great influence not just on me, but on [James] Reaney and [Henry] Kreisel and that whole group... He was encouraging to us as writers. He taught us, but he went beyond that in encouraging us to find our way as young writers."
-- Robert Weaver
Naves, Elaine Kalman. Robert Weaver: Godfather of Canadian Literature (Montreal: Véhicule Press, 2007), p. 30.
QUOTE BY HARRY RASKY (UC 1949):
"As soon as I attended the University of Toronto, I quickly registered at the Varsity paper and became involved in the UC Follies, the annual college variety show. I felt I had arrived, even if it was in the family pick-up truck, delivering the parcels of chickens on the way."
-- Harry Rasky
Rasky, Harry. Nobody Swings on Sunday: The Many Lives and Films of Harry Rasky (Don Mills, Ont.: Collier Macmillan Canada, 1980), p. 19.
QUOTE BY ERNEST SIRLUCK:
This quote is about the 1940s, when he was a PhD student and a Teaching Fellow at University College. Later, in the 1960s, he became U of T's Dean of Graduate Studies.
"Croft Chapter House, the university's original chemistry laboratory, was at that time the college's senior common room, where tea and biscuits were served from 3:30 every afternoon. [A.S.P.] Woodhouse sometimes took me there, and would introduce me to whoever happened to be sitting nearby. Gilbert Norwood, the renowned historian of the Greek drama, was a trifle remote, but his colleague Charles Cochrane, later to be equally renowned for his Christianity and Classical Culture, was eager to talk. I came to realize that he felt somewhat isolated in his department, which was why he would stand in the cloister outside his office hand-rolling cigarettes and hoping to intercept someone interesting to talk to; it was in that setting that he made me understand something of St. Augustine. Indeed, the hundred feet or so of the West Cloister was for me the true Philosopher's Walk of the university, not the sylvan path of that name a few hundred yards to the northeast. Several members of the smaller departments, lacking the intellectual company offered by the larger departments, used it much as Cochrane did. There Reid MacCallum, tall, lean, and shy, would sometimes try out parts of his difficult theory of aesthetics on me; there too his colleague Fulton Anderson, also tall but neither lean nor shy, would talk very sparingly about Bacon and copiously about how much better he could run the Philosophy department than [G.S.] Brett did. [Barker] Fairley and [Hermann] Boeschenstein hung out there, separately or together always a pleasure to talk to."
-- Ernest Sirluck
Sirluck, Ernest. First Generation: An Autobiography (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1996), p. 88.
QUOTE BY MARTIN FRIEDLAND (UC 1955):
"I probably won the election as president of the Lit [University College Literary and Athletic Society] for two principal reasons. The first was the electoral speech that I made. [....] I do not know whether it is still the tradition, but in the early 1950s the speeches consisted entirely of off-colour jokes. A couple of hundred persons -- men and women -- would gather at noon hour in UC's Junior Common Room, the JCR, to hear the election speeches by the candidates for the Lit and WUA [Women's Undergraduate Association]. [...] My joke, using language that is still not used in mixed company and was even less used in those days, brought down the house. [...] My election was also helped by the future hockey promoter, Alan Eagleson. Everyone knew Eagleson. Although I was not much of an athlete, I had managed to play on two intercollegiate teams -- squash and polo. [...] Having an 'athlete' heading the Lit -- Eagleson must have thought -- would help the athletic side of the 'literary and athletic association.' In those years, the department of Physical and Health Education (PHE) was part of University College and its students were entitled to vote in the elections. Eagleson arranged for all his friends in the program -- and Eagleson had a lot of friends -- to come over to the JCR and vote for me."
-- Martin Friedland
Friedland, Martin L. My Life in Crime and Other Academic Adventures (Toronto: University of Toronto Press for the Osgoode Society for Canadian Legal History, 2007), pp. 9-10
QUOTE BY HENRY BEISSEL (UC 1958):
"In the late fifties, I was part of a group of young and cocky writers/intellectuals-to-be, studying (mostly literature) at the University of Toronto, which included John Robert Colombo, David Helwig, Edward Lacey, Christopher Priestley and David Lewis Stein. It was a time of great ferment, especially in the arts, a first stirring of a Renaissance of unprecedented creativity in Canada, and we were willy-nilly part of it – writing poems and stories, reading them solemnly to each other, discussing them passionately till all hours, publishing chapbooks, and editing more or less juvenile literary journals"
-- Henry Beissel
Lacey, Edward. A Magic Prison: Letters from Edward Lacey, edited by David Helwig, with an introduction by Henry Beissel (Ottawa: Oberon Press, 1995), p. 5.
QUOTE ABOUT BARBARA FRUM (UC 1959):
"For the out-of-town girls of Whitney Hall residence, university was designed not only to broaden the mind, but to make a lady of you. There was a Mistress of Deportment, with whom the girls drank coffee in the drawing room after dinner. My mother [Barbara Frum] encountered this woman in her first week of school. As the Mistress poured my mother a cup of coffee, she asked, in a rich Upper Canadian accent: 'One lump or two?' 'Three please,' replied my mother. 'One lump or two?' the Mistress repeated."
-- Linda Frum
Frum, Linda. Barbara Frum: A Daughter's Memoir (Toronto: Random House of Canada, 1996), p. 63.
QUOTE BY DAVID HELWIG (UC 1960):
"When I arrived at the University of Toronto, a sunny morning in September, my parents' car parked in a laneway so I could carry the boxes of my possessions into the residence where I had a room, I was excited, but also nervous and unsettled. I wanted to leave the little world of my family, but this new universe was enormous and very accomplished. I was moving into Taylor House in the Sir Daniel Wilson Residence at University College, a new yellow brick building constructed around an inner quadrangle at 71 St. George Street, the large building divided into six 'houses', each with a graduate student or lecturer as Don. Just across the lawn of the quadrangle was the west wing of the old college building, nineteenth-century Romanesque, and the little attached house where the principal lived. As I settled in, the more senior students would appear at my door, shake hands, all of them friendly and welcoming, but for all that, I found my situation solitary, chilling. Still, I was intrigued by the possibilities of the place and leapt in with both feet."
-- David Helwig
Helwig, David. The Names of Things: A Memoir (Erin, Ont. : Porcupine's Quill, 2006), pp. 48-49.
QUOTE BY MATT COHEN (UC 1963):
"On December 30, 1963, I turned twenty-one. I was in fourth year, my last year of undergraduate studies in political economy, and had absolutely no idea what I would do if I ever grew up. As a combined birthday-graduation present, which was also a peace offering after the frosty period that had followed my switching courses, my father gave me a green portable Olivetti typewriter. I had always believed my life would begin at twenty-one -- everything else was mere prelude to this moment. [...] At the beginning of January 1964 I took my typewriter back to Toronto to begin this real life, life at twenty-one, of which I had been so certain. On the day of my return I saw a poster announcing a fiction contest at University College, my college, with a prize large enough to finance a summer trip to Europe."
-- Matt Cohen
Cohen, Matt. Typing: A life in 26 Keys (Toronto: Random House Canada, 2000), pp. 22-23.
QUOTE BY PROF. PHYLLIS GROSSKURTH:
"Some universities wouldn't consider hiring me because of the subject matter of the book [John Addington Symonds: A Biography], and I received a number of disturbing anonymous letters. Nevertheless, as a result of the [1964 Governor General's Award for Non-Fiction] numerous offers came my way. Professor Clifford Leech, the chairman of the English department at University College at the University of Toronto, offered me a position at $9,000 a year. I was so inexperienced in the ways of academe that I didn't realize I could have negotiated for a higher salary, more in line with the salaries offered to my male colleagues. The only reason I was even considered was that Professor [A.S.P.] Woodhouse, the college's previous chairman, who had refused ever to hire a woman, had recently died. But a teaching post at University College -- for me it was a dream come true."
-- Phyllis Grosskurth
Grosskurth, Phyllis. Elusive Subject: A Biographer's Life (Toronto: Macfarlane Walter & Ross, 1999), p. 89.
2. BOOKS ABOUT UC HISTORY
These books are available at the UC Library.
BOOKS ABOUT UNIVERSITY COLLEGE:
- A Not Unsightly Building: University College and Its History, by Douglas Richardson; with J.M.S. Careless, G.M. Craig & Peter Heyworth; with special photography by John Wilson (Oakville, Ont.: Mosaic Press for University College, 1990).
- Comings and Goings: University Students in Canadian Society, 1854-1973, by Charles Morden Levi (Montreal: McGill-Queen's University Press, 2003).
- Great Art for a Great University: The University College Collection, edited by Matthew Brower, Niamh O'Laoghaire ; foreword by Dennis Reid; essay by Niamh O'Laoghaire (Toronto: University of Toronto Art Centre, 2011).
- University College, A Portrait, 1853-1953, by Claude Bissell (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1953).
BOOKS ABOUT THE UNIVERSITY OF TORONTO (PARTIALLY ABOUT UC):
- The University of Toronto: A History, 2nd edition, by Martin L. Friedland (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2013).
- Halfway Up Parnassus: A Personal Account of the University of Toronto, 1932-1971, by Claude Bissell (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1974).
- Arts and Science at Toronto: A History, 1827-1990, by Robert Craig Brown (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2013).
- French Studies at the University of Toronto 1853-1993, by C.D. Rouillard and Colleagues (Toronto: Department of French, University of Toronto, 1994).
- English Studies at Toronto: A History, by Robin S. Harris; with a foreword by H. Northrop Frye (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1988).
3. IMAGES FROM UNIVERSITY COLLEGE (& U OF T) HISTORY
The UC Library usually features a historical image on Twitter (@UCLibrary_UofT) about once a week. Since they're so interesting, we decided to post them here too.
Here's an 1835 concept drawing for the University of Toronto -- very different from the actual University College built in the 1850s:
The first home of the University of Toronto (which was then called King's College), within the Parliament of Upper Canada:
Sir Daniel Wilson was President of University College (1880-92) & U of T (1887-92). Here he is in 1856 as a professor at not-yet-built UC:
Here's a photo of University College being built in 1857:
A group of stone carvers outside UC in 1859 (we're still enjoying their fine work today):
The architects of University College were Frederick William Cumberland (1821-1881) and William George Storm (1826–1892). Here we see Storm's name carved on the roof of UC:
University College, possibly in 1859 when the building was nearing completion. (Why are there so many rocks on the pathway?)
A lovely early drawing of "the new University College, Toronto, Upper Canada":
U of T looked very different in 1859! Looking northeast from University College, past the "Senate Tower" on the east side of UC:
Another 19th century view from the University College tower, probably taken in 1865:
Cricket anyone? UC & front campus in the early days, as C.W. Jefferys imagined them:
A 19th century drawing of University College and front campus:
Here's a view of UC from the southwest (before there were buildings where these kids are playing):
An early rendition of University College, seen from the southeast, with a horse-drawn carriage:
The "Metaphysical Class" of 1877, University College:
The UC Lit, seen here in 1879, is Canada's oldest democratically elected student government. Originally called the UC Literary and Scientific Society, it was later renamed the Literary and Athletic Society:
Did you know there were once gates to the U of T campus at the corner of Yonge & College? Here they are around 1880:
Children enjoying Front Campus at U of T in 1880, with University College in the background:
The Ramsay Wright building at U of T is named after this University College professor of Natural History, who lived from 1852 to 1933:
A 19th century photo taken from the University College Tower, showing Moss Hall (built 1850, torn down 1888) near the present-day Medical Sciences Building:
George Paxton Young (1818-1889), professor of Logic, Metaphysics & Ethics at UC:
The study of Classics was far more widespread in the 19th century than it is today. Here's a prize-winning essay from 1886:
Stereoscopic view of the UC quadrangle (east side), as it looked before the fire of 1890
A view of University College from the southeast (1889 drawing):
The First Annual Banquet of the Lady Undergraduates, University College was held in 1889. Here's the front cover of the programme:
Looking inside, we can see that the banquet opened with a toast to Queen Victoria:
The Library in University College's East Hall, before the fire of Feb. 14, 1890 destroyed it:
There used to be a museum in University College's West Hall, until the fire of 1890:
Here's how the museum in UC's West Hall looked after the fire of Feb. 14, 1890:
University College after the devastating fire of 1890 (view from southeast):
A group of men (and one dog) in front of University College, after the fire of 1890:
Here's a photo of "Daniel Wilson at 75," an 1891 George Reid painting of the president of University College and U of T:
A University College production of the Sophocles play Antigone, in 1894:
The University College Banjo & Guitar Society, 1895:
David Reid Keys, a great promoter of multilingualism, taught at University College from 1882 to 1923:
Future prime minister William Lyon Mackenzie King (far left), in his student days at UC in the 1890s:
And here's W.L.M. King (standing on left) with friends in residence (then located in the west wing of UC). The future prime minister graduated in 1895.
Queen's Park, looking West to University College, in 1898:
Yes, at one time (around 1900?) you could buy dinner for 20 cents at the U of T dining hall:
This drawing of University College appeared in a French children's magazine around 1900:
The postmark on this early postcard of UC shows it was mailed from New York City in 1905:
Queen's Hall, a women's residence at UC from 1905 to 1930. The building, located at 7 Queen's Park, no longer exists:
A group portrait in front of Queen's Hall:
University College "Junior Arts" football team, 1909-1910:
A wintry view from Queen's Park in 1918 (you can see University College in the distance):
Soldiers on U of T's front campus for COTC (Canadian Officer Training Corps) Field Day, around 1918:
An airplane on front campus in 1918 (University College in background):
Prof. Barker Fairley (who taught German at University College and was also a painter) hanging out with members of the Group of Seven, at the Arts & Letters Club in Toronto around 1920. Prof. Fairley is fourth from left, smoking a pipe.
An invitation to an "Arts Ball" held by the "UC Lit" in 1928 :
Sir John Cunningham McLennan (1867-1935) graduated from UC in 1892 and became a famous U of T physics prof (the McLennan Physics building is named after him):
A "winter wonderland" (front campus and University College):
Aerial shot taken in 1933. You can see Queen's Park, Hart House, University College, and Convocation Hall:
English professor Mossie May Waddington Kirkwood (1890-1985) taught at University College from 1920 to 1936, before becoming Trinity College's Dean of Women & Principal of St. Hilda's College:
Crossing front campus in the 1930s (lots of footprints in the snow):
View from behind the grand pillars of Convocation Hall in the 1930s:
Cricket match on back campus, with UC in the background. The Laidlaw wing on UC's north side did not yet exist:
Prof. Mary Craig Needler. The daughter of George Henry Needler (Professor of German at UC), she studied Classics at U of T (UC 1922), got a PhD from the University of Chicago, and came back home to University College, where she became Assistant Professor of Ancient History.
Looking north towards UC from College Street in 1937:
These four young women were the executive of the Women's Undergraduate Association in 1938:
Dancing in front of UC's grand main entrance, in 1941:
Women members of the UC Follies in the 1940s, spelling "UC"!
Gilbert Norwood (1880-1954), Professor of Classics at UC:
University College on a very cloudy day:
At a UC Arts Ball, a student being crowned king?
A winter day at U of T, seen from above University College (look at the cars in front of Hart House). The domed building was the Magnetic & Meteorological Observatory, which later became the home of the UofT Students' Union.
Professor Malcolm Wallace, with UC in the background. Prof. Wallace was the University College Principal (as well as heading the English dept.) from 1928 to 1944.
A men's hockey team at University College:
Graduating students in 1953 on their way into Convocation Hall:
University College Council meeting in Croft Chapter House, 1953. There weren't many women on Council in those days!
Sir Daniel Wilson Residence at University College, in the mid-1950s (it still looks this great today):
Program for a 1956 UC production of "Kiss Me Kate" at Hart House, directed by Leon Major (UC '55):
U of T librarian & historian W. Stewart Wallace (1884-1970). He wrote a book about the history of U of T that was published in 1927.
Close-up view of the intricate patterns on the grand doorway to University College:
Michel Sanouillet (then a French prof at University College), in the days when people smoked in their offices:
The Common Room of UC's Sir Daniel Wilson Residence (which was then a men's residence), around 1960:
A.S.P. Woodhouse (1895-1964) got his B.A. at UC in 1919 and went on to become Head of the English Dept. at UC (and a John Milton scholar):
UC's East Hall in 1961-62, when it was a reading room. East Hall was originally a library (from 1859 until the fire of 1890), and more recently it was an exam room. In 2018-19 it's being renovated to become the UC Library once again:
Professor Moffat St. Andrews Woodside, who was the Principal of University College from 1959 to 1963 :
Construction of the Laidlaw Wing, on the north side of the UC building, 1963:
When the UC Library opened in the Laidlaw wing in 1964, it occupied the first and second floors (later reduced to just the second floor):
These "grotesques" or "gargoyles," near the old chimney for UC's Croft Chapter House, were carved in 1857:
Sillhouetted by a stained glass window at UC, 1970. The University College motto is Parum claris lucem dare: To shed light on that which is obscure.
A romantic walk through Sir Dan's Quad, University College, in 1970:
A 1970 meeting in UC's Croft Chapter House (former chemistry lab, future conference centre):
The "dragon staircase" in the east wing dates from the restoration of University College following the fire of 1890. The carved creature has the head of a bird, the body of a lion, and the tail of a serpent (photo from 1973):
Professor of German at University College (and also a UC alumna), Margaret Jane Sinden (1915-1979) was one of the first women at U of T to attain the rank of professor.
Isn't this a nice photo of Prof. Peter Richardson at his 1977 installation as University College Principal?
Library orientation for new students, 1977: "How to find books: the microcatalogue way":
University College at night, with (unusually) a reflection:
A lovely photo of the late Ingrid Epp, University College Librarian, in 1984:
East Hall -- former and future University College Library -- with rows of desks for examinations (photo from 1980s or 1990s):