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.
1887 act permitted the establishment of a "teaching faculty"
of medicine at the University. A few months after its passage, the
new faculty came into being. Two decades later, it was recognized as
one of the best medical schools on the continent.
closing of the medical school in 1853, the University had continued
to set examinations and grant medical degrees, even though it no longer
offered a teaching program. The teaching was left to the proprietary
schools in the city. These schools did not have the power to grant degrees,
and those of their students who wanted degrees - most were content to
practise, as they were entitled to do, without a university degree -
had to obtain them through a university. The University of Toronto kept
raising its standards, so fewer and fewer students took a Toronto degree.
In 1883, for example, only ten degrees were granted in medicine by the
University of Toronto.
There were three proprietary
medical schools in the city of Toronto in the 1880s.
three proprietary medical schools in the city of Toronto in the 1880s:
Trinity Medical College, the Toronto School of Medicine, and the Woman's
Medical College; together they had more than 500 students. The Victoria
medical school in Toronto, started by John Rolph in the 1850s, had closed
its doors in 1874, and its faculty and students had transferred to the
Toronto School of Medicine, which had purchased Victoria's building
on Sackville Street opposite the Toronto General Hospital (then on the
site of the present Regent Park) in the east end of the city.
Geikie, dean of the Trinity medical school, who resisted a merger
with the U of T.
have been torn down. Trinity's building - still standing as the Trinity
Mews condominiums at 40 Spruce Street - was also in the same area. So
was the Woman's Medical College, established in 1883 at the urging of
Emily Stowe. This college was linked to Trinity University, and its
enlarged 1890 building is also still standing, at 291 Sumach Street.
Women would not be admitted to the new University of Toronto medical
school until 1906.
when the medical teaching faculty had been closed down, there had been
agitation to re-establish the faculty at the University. Most major
American universities had medical schools. Unlike the Law Society, the
medical licensing body in Ontario had no interest in running a professional
school. One of the strongest advocates of a faculty at the University
was William Aikins, the dean of the Toronto School of Medicine, who
had been a member of the University of Toronto senate between 1862 and
1880, and who hoped that if a faculty were established his staff would
become its instructors.
Woman's Medical College; the building still stands on Sumach Street.
From the college's 1891-2 calendar.
the cost of scientific work was probably the primary factor that drove
the Toronto School of Medicine to seek to become the faculty of the
University of Toronto, there were other reasons for the move. The school
was having trouble preparing its students for the increasingly scientific
University of Toronto medical exams. In addition, its students would
no longer be able to take their medical degrees through Victoria University,
because, with federation, Victoria would be giving up its right to grant
medical school, King's College Circle, completed in 1903, demolished
in the late 1960's to make way for the Medical Sciences Building
the Toronto School of Medicine was about to be faced with a potentially
very strong additional competitor, a faculty of medicine at the University
of Toronto. It is not surprising, therefore, that the Toronto School
of Medicine was keen to join the University of Toronto. The University
of Toronto made arrangements to use the Toronto School of Medicine's
building and established a faculty of medicine with 29 members, drawn
from both the Toronto School of Medicine and the University of Toronto.
Wright became the professor of biology, A.B. Macallum a lecturer in
physiology, and W.H. Pike and William Ellis professors of chemistry
and applied chemistry respectively. The new faculty officially opened
on October 6, 1887.