Thursday, Mar. 15, 2012
March 15, 1827, in London, England, John Strachan, the Anglican rector of the town of York, obtains a royal charter for a “College, with the style and privileges of an University … to be called King’s College” to be controlled by the Church of England and located in Upper Canada (which later becomes the Canadian province of Ontario). Political and religious conflicts at the time cause King’s College to close its doors on Dec. 31, 1849. It reopens the following day as the nondenominational University of Toronto. John McCaul, who succeeds Strachan in 1848, becomes the first president of U of T, now governed by Canadian provincial legislation.
Today, the University of Toronto is Canada’s largest university and is well known as an international leader in research and teaching. Located in one of the most diverse metropolitan areas in the world, during the academic year of 2008–2009, the university had 55,352 undergraduate students, 5,182 of whom came from abroad. The notable discovery of insulin was made at U of T and the world’s first electronic heart pacemaker was developed there as well. Other notable achievements include creating the baby cereal Pablum, and clothing later adapted to create the astronaut space suit. The university is the 15th largest employer in the Greater Toronto Area. Earlier this month, a group of U of T archeologists on a dig in Abydos, Egypt, discovered a rare wooden statue of what is thought to be Hatshepsut, the famous female pharaoh from ancient Egypt.