March 15, 1827, King's College - the precursor to the University of
Toronto - was granted its royal charter by King George IV. Throughout
2002, U of T celebrated 175 years of Great Minds. As part of the
celebration, the U of T website featured excerpts from The
University of Toronto: A History, written by Martin Friedland, University
Professor and Professor Emeritus of Law at U of T.
The first Engineering
building at U of T came to be known as the "Little Red Skulehouse."
now in Oliver Mowat's cabinet, brought in legislation in 1873 to establish
a "School of Practical Science" in Toronto. In the words of
the preamble, it would, "promote the development of the mineral
and economic resources of the province, and its industrial progress"
by the "establishment of a school for practical education in such
arts as mining, engineering, mechanics and manufacturing."
provide post-matriculation study for the scientific professions (students
would receive a diploma after three years) and also offer evening classes
for artisans and others. The act establishing the School of Practical
Science (SPS) anticipated a close connection between the school and
permitted engineering students to take lectures at University College
and use its library and museum and also permitted the affiliation of
SPS with the University. The arrangement was unsuccessful, however,
in part because the Mechanics' Institute was too far from the University.
Crooks sought the advice of future university president James Loudon,
who recommended that the school be established on university grounds,
with one new professor being hired to teach engineering while University
College professors taught all the other courses.
College Natural Science Club, 1867 with two future deans of engineering:
John Galbraith, second row far left, and William Ellis, second
row from right
would be outfitted with laboratories that could be used by students
and professors of both University College and SPS for work in the physical
sciences. The report was well received by the government and by Casimir
Gzowski, an influential engineer (and the great-great-grandfather of
the broadcaster and author Peter Gzowski) who was a member of the university
senate. In 1877, therefore, the government decided to sell the Mechanics'
Institute and erect a new building on the grounds of the University.
When students tried
to haze John Galbraith, he met them with "sword and dagger."
for the building on the south-west part of the campus was rejected as
being somewhat out of the way for the evening workingmen's classes,
so another was selected at the southeast part of the campus where the
Medical Sciences Building now stands. The three-storey red-brick building,
known for close to a century as "the little red Schoolhouse" - and after
the Second World War sometimes spelled "Skulehouse" - was designed by
Kivas Tully, the architect of Trinity College. The school opened in
of the School of Practical Sciences building began in 1966
John Galbraith was selected as the first professor of engineering. Galbraith
had received his BA from the University of Toronto in 1868, with the
gold medal in mathematics and the Prince of Wales Medal for overall
proficiency, and later received his MA. The story is told that as a
freshman at University College, Galbraith refused to accept the usual
hazing by upper year students: "when he learned of some of the performances
in the initiation in which he was to take part, he refused to submit
to the indignity and defied the whole residence, standing at the door
of his room with a sword in one hand and a dagger in the other."
sword-wielding Galbraith's memory is, of course, honoured in the name
of the Galbraith Building, current home of the central offices of today's
Faculty of Applied Science and Engineering, descendant of the original
School of Practical Science and the keepers of the "Skule"