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.
of the financial difficulties, a number of significant physical changes
to the university took place during the tenure of President James Ham.
The athletic centre - to be used by both men and women - was opened
officially in September 1979, and named after the long-time director
of men's athletics, Warren Stevens.
"A ceremony at
this time would be seen by the local residents' associations as
'rubbing salt in the wounds' and might even spark demonstrations."
excellent facilities - for example, an Olympic-size pool, a 200-metre
indoor track, and twelve squash courts. A sod-turning event was avoided
because local residents were opposed to that they called "Fort
Jock," and Vice-president Frank Iacobucci advised the director
of athletics, Bud Fraser, that "a ceremony at this time would be
seen by the local residents' associations as 'rubbing salt in the wounds'
and might even spark demonstrations."
dean of engineering, Bernard Etkin, places a ap on president James
Ham's head at Ham's installation in September 1978. Paul Fox,
the principal of Erindale, is to the left and behind, and Peter
Richardson, the principal of University College, is directly behind.
Sandford Fleming engineering building, which had been gutted by a fire
in 1977, was opened officially in June 1982, with a provincial grant
of almost $10 million, and a library for Scarborough College, named
after Vincent Bladen, was built after the students raised $400,000 in
a student levy.
Toronto Reference Library at College and St George streets was acquired
from the city, and construction started on its conversion into the Koffler
Student Services Centre, which brought together, from around the campus,
such services as health, housing, and career counselling, as well as
the University of Toronto Press bookstore. It did not include space
for student-run activities, however, such as the Students' Administrative
Council or the Varsity.
Koffler Student Services Centre, formerly the Toronto Reference
Library, opened in 1985.
Ham also received a commitment from the Ontario government for two-thirds
of the approximately $40 million required for a new earth sciences building
on the south-west campus, between Huron Street and Spadina Avenue. A
limited campaign to raise the rest was undertaken by the Noranda executive
Adam Zimmerman. The Earth Sciences Centre, which was to accommodate
teaching and research programs in botany, forestry, geography, geology,
and environmental studies, would not be opened officially until 1989.
Ham wisely opposed was a non-University proposal for the construction
of an immense domed stadium on the south side of Bloor Street to replace
Varsity Stadium and other buildings. Premier Bill Davis had invited
Ham to view the proposed site, which had the convenience of being adjacent
to two subway lines. Ham told him it was "impossible," and
the Skydome was subsequently built on its present site close to Lake
Ham can be credited also with reopening academic exchanges with China
and other East Asian countries, including Korea and Japan. He and a
number of colleagues made two trips to the Far East during his term
and with the assistance of the government of the Republic of Korea established
a fund of $500,000 to support Korean studies at the University.
had been active in China during President Falconer's tenure, but the
subsequent political situation there had made continuing involvement
difficult. After the cultural revolution ended in the 1970s, however,
China was eager for academic assistance, and Toronto, with its long
relationship with China and its program in Chinese studies, and as the
alma mater of Norman Bethune, was a welcome participant. In the early
1970s, the University established a joint program in modern Chinese
studies with York University, and in 1980 it established a centre for
South Asian studies.
number of Asian immigrants settling in the Toronto area and the resulting
increase in the number of students of Asian background at the University
were also factors in the growing interest in these areas. So-called
visible minority immigrants to Canada rose from 10 per cent of all immigrants
in 1962 to more than 50 per cent by the mid-1970s, and by the late 1990s
"visible minorities" would comprise about one-third of the
population of the greater Toronto area, with persons from Chinese and
South Asian backgrounds making up about one-half of that number.