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.
opposition to Victoria College federating with the University of
Toronto continued. The Victoria senate rejected the board's decision.
The Victoria Alumni Association was also against federation, as was
the town of Cobourg, which did not want Victoria to leave and promised
it $25,000 plus yearly grants if it stayed.
Cobourg brought a
lawsuit, claiming that it was illegal for Victoria to move.
brought a lawsuit, claiming that it was illegal for Victoria to move.
Pamphlets were circulated for and against the move. One pamphlet argued
that "Cobourg is a much more desirable place for the residence
of youth, in pursuing their student work - especially of youth who may
not resist the temptations or afford the expense of a large city - than
it went on, Cobourg "is a notably healthy town - not subject to
the effects of the doubtful water and bad drainage for which Toronto
has become notorious." The pamphlet set out government statistics
showing that the death rate in Toronto was more than double that in
Cobourg. It was a well-known fact that Taddle Creek had been so polluted
it had had to be covered over. Disease was widespread. (Even in Cobourg,
four of Principal Nathanael Burwash's children had died of diphtheria
in one week in 1889.)
College in Cobourg
did Cobourg offer Victoria money to stay, but Hart Massey, the head
of the farm implement company that earlier had had its headquarters
near there, offered the college $250,000 if it would consent to remain
as an independent institution in Cobourg. In September 1889, however,
Victoria received $200,000 from the will of William Gooderham. He had
made his money in railways, having declined a role in the family's distillery
was given on the condition that Victoria move to Toronto. Gooderham
had favoured an independent college not in federation on an 11-acre
site on the high ground just west of the present Casa Loma, but acceptance
of the concept was not made a condition of the bequest.
windfall made the move to Toronto considerably easier. As it turned
out, the college would have not only the Gooderham money, but also $200,000
from the will of Hart Massey, who died in 1896. The Cobourg lawsuit
was settled during the summer of 1890, and in September the Methodist
Conference once again voted for federation, this time with a more decisive
vote - 165 to 83 in favour. Victoria's senate then reversed its earlier
vote against the move, and the provincial government was notified that
Victoria now accepted federation.