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.
faculty of education opened its three-storey red brick building at the
corner of Bloor Street and Spadina Avenue in 1910. The faculty had
been established in late 1906 on the recommendation of the royal commission.
The commission's members had visited faculties of education at Columbia
and Chicago, and it concluded that the teaching of education "is
best performed where the theory and practice can be made to supplement
each other," and that a university was the place where that could
be done best.
A university was the
best place for the teaching of education .
school would also fit in with the needs of the city of Toronto, which
required a new high school in what was then still the northern end of
the city. Moreover, such a school would be able to "conduct educational
experiments." As it happened, the superintendent of education,
John Seath, held the same view and had urged his minister to transfer
the Ontario Normal School in Hamilton to the University of Toronto.
It was difficult to attract students to Hamilton, and consequently there
was a shortage of high school teachers in the province.
education students were admitted to the new faculty of education in
October 1907. While the building was being constructed, the West Hall
of University College and other locations were used for lectures, and
various city schools were used for practice teaching.
was then acquired on Bloor Street between Spadina and Huron. Plans were
drawn up for 200 teachers and a large model school of more than 1,000
students. The school would be for both primary and secondary students
- both boys and girls - and would include a technical school. For that
reason, it was given a pluralized name - University of Toronto Schools
of Toronto Schools: The faculty of education opened at the corner
of Bloor Street and Spadina Avenue in 1910; additions were later
made to both ends of the building.
"We feel very
strongly that the girls of Toronto should not be placed at a disadvantage
by being excluded from what is to be the leading Secondary School."
As it turned
out, however, the funding for the school was limited, and a
decision was made to eliminate the technical school and to include only
a secondary school and
the higher grades of a primary school - and also to teach only boys.
The United Alumnae were incensed. "We feel very strongly,"
they wrote President Robert Falconer, "that the girls of Toronto
should not be placed at a disadvantage by being excluded from what is
to be the leading Secondary School."
MacMurchy, a noted woman doctor - the first woman to intern at the Toronto
General Hospital - wrote to the president that it was shocking for the
University to have a school where "no girls need apply - no women
are appointed as teachers - and no university student in the Faculty
of Education can learn there how to teach girls, because there are no
girls there to teach." Falconer wrote that "if the school
is successful, we hope that we may be able to extend it before very
long" to include women. Women were not admitted to UTS until 1973,
however, almost seventy years later.