When it comes to Canadian icons, the University of Toronto represents one of our country’s most important foundations, and plays a distinctive part of Toronto’s landscape. As Canada’s oldest university, this important educational institution has long shaped minds for generations. Established in 1827 as King’s College, U of T has earned a solid reputation as a progressive, intelligent incubator for ideas and innovation driven by education and research. It’s just one of the many landmarks that contribute to Toronto’s cultural identity, and makes our city revered as one of the best places to live.
The U of T boasts an impressive international reputation, with rankings at the top (or near the top of several notable lists. Current rankings from the QS university rankings have it rated the top university in Canada, second in public universities across North America and within the top 15 internationally. This is because of a diverse and highly intelligent student body, state-of-the-art facilities and cutting-edge research and innovation. Even more impressive- this is the second consecutive year that it has held all three of these positions.
It consistently enjoys top ranking among the most regarded ranking bodies in addition to the QS rankings Times Higher Education, QS World University Rankings, Shanghai Ranking Consultancy, U.S. News & World Report’s Best Global Universities and National Taiwan University World University Rankings.
It has a total of just over 95,000 students currently enrolled; this is indeed a global university, with representation from students from over 164 countries. The U of T library system is the fourth largest in North America. It’s also a hub for innovation. In the last decade, they have secured $1.5 billion in investment and creation of more than 500 start-up companies.
For more U of T fun facts, click here.
*Photo courtesy of https://instagram.com/uoft/?hl=en
Like so many other schools across the country, the U of T campus was largely vacant during pandemic lockdowns, with the bulk of classes and programs taking place online. The school took advantage of the space and time to make a number of improvements to building and infrastructure, fast-tracking a lot of the dirty, noisy work. Click here to read While you were away… U of T was busy building for the future.
In particular, they made significant headway with their Landmark project, intended to make the campus core greener and more pedestrian friendly.
The university has three campuses, including the original St. George Campus, located in Queen’s Park. This storied area boasts some of the most fascinating architecture in the city (most of the buildings were modeled after buildings at historic and revered Oxford and Cambridge Universities). The U of T isn’t just home to some of the brightest minds in the world; it is also setting to one of the “Most Beautiful Places in Canada” as named by Conde Naste Traveler Magazine: Hoskin Avenue Walk (or the Philosopher’s Walk as it is also known) which runs from the ROM and the Royal Conservatory of Music on Bloor down to Hoskin Avenue. Winding paths, impressive mature tree canopies, stunning architecture and historical monuments provide a unique and lovely setting through which to meander on the downtown campus as part of this scenic walk.
Look in any direction on campus and you’ll be able to pause and admire some of the best Gothic-style architecture in the city. Representative of how the past melds with the future at the downtown U of T campus, its architecture isn’t just about honouring traditional style. Fusing traditional and the modern (as is reflective of so many downtown streetscapes) the contemporary and cool Terrence Donnelly Building features glass, steel and open concept design (there is even an indoor bamboo garden in the atrium). It’s also the site for some of the most important Stem Cell research in the world.
*Photo courtesy of ArchDaily
You may know that insulin, one of the most remarkable medical innovations of the 20th century was discovered by a Canadian – Fredrick Banting. But did you know that it was discovered at the U of T and that he won a Nobel Prize for doing so? Always progressive, U of T was one of the first to allow women, admitting them in 1884. The list of famous alumni is lengthy, including Donald Sutherland, Lorne Michaels, Julie Payette and Prime Ministers Pearson and MacKenzie King.
The University of Toronto is a fascinating place really. It’s partly about engaging in awe and wonder at the architecture and the accomplishments of the past couple of centuries and partly about curious fascination about how this school buzzes with energy towards the future.
The University of Toronto is extremely recognizable for its stunning architecture – both new and old! Looking for more landmark architecture in Toronto? Check out these Urbaneer.com posts:
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