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.
number of full-time students at University College continued to
increase during the 1860s. At the time of Confederation, there were
250 full-time students, primarily from the towns and villages of Ontario.
those who graduated in 1867 was a prize-winning black student, Alfred
Lafferty, whose parents probably came from the United States in the
1830s. Lafferty went on to become the headmaster of the Guelph High
School and, later, a lawyer. Another member of a minority group was
James Ross, who received his MA in 1865, after receiving two gold medals
for his BA. Ross, whose grandfather was an Okanagan Indian chief, became
a lawyer and was chief justice in Louis Riel's 1869 provisional government
at Red River.
The 1860s were not
peaceful years for the University. Nor were they peaceful outside
the campus .
were not peaceful years for the University. Nor were they peaceful outside
the campus. For the first half of the decade, Canada lived under the
shadow of the American civil war, which posed a threat to British North
America, particularly after American forces forcefully removed Confederate
agents from a British ship on the Atlantic Ocean. In view of the threat,
Professor Henry Croft organized the University Rifle Corps. Croft was
the captain, [natural philosophy professor John] Cherriman was a lieutenant,
and [alumni president Adam] Crooks an ensign.
saw action in 1866 in resisting the Fenian raids on the Niagara frontier.
Three University College students, Malcolm Mackenzie, I.H. Mewburn,
and William Tempest, were killed. The bell in the great tower of University
College tolled every minute until their bodies were brought back to
the University. A memorial window in their memory can be found in the
East Hall of University College, and a monument to those who took part
in the battle can be found on the mound between the legislative buildings
and the Sigmund Samuel Library building.
monument constructed in 1870
Hart House, 1919
the House of Commons declared the first Sunday of June to be "Canadian
Forces Day," in appreciation of the service of Canada's soldiers.
Coincidentally, this year it falls on June 2, the anniversary of the
action at Ridgeway in which the three U of T students died fighting