Victoria University in the University of Toronto

From Academic Kids

Victoria University ("Vic" for short) is a federated school of the University of Toronto, consisting of Victoria College and Emmanuel College. Victoria University is somewhat distinct from the rest of the University being across Queen's Park from the main section of the campus, along with St. Michael's College. Victoria College is today home to about 4,000 students.

Missing image
Photo of Victoria College's main building taken in 1900

Old Vic

In recent years, Victoria has had the third-highest entering average of U of T colleges, the highest entering average of the large colleges. Victoria used to be considered a distant second to Trinity College in terms of academics and wealth. In recent years, however, Victoria has surpassed Trinity to become the richest college at U of T. In part this was because of alumni donations, but mostly it was due to the rapidly increasing value of Victoria's large real estate holdings in downtown Toronto. The academic difference between the two colleges is also now minimal.

Victoria College was originally founded (as Upper Canada Academy--the name was changed in 1841) in Cobourg, Ontario, to the east of Toronto, in 1836, largely due to the efforts of Egerton Ryerson. The school was Canada's main Methodist university. Victoria University was formed in 1884 when Victoria College and Albert College federated with each other. In 1892, Victoria University moved from Cobourg and federated with the University of Toronto. The current campus at the corner of Queen's Park Crescent and Bloor Street in Toronto was opened the same year. In 1928, the independent Union College federated with the theology department of Victoria College, and became Emmanuel College.

The oldest residence building at Victoria College is Burwash Hall. Other residences include Margaret Addison Hall, Annesley Hall, and Rowell Jackman Hall.

Victoria College's culture has transformed markedly in recent years. Where Vic used to be staunchly Methodist with strict segregation of the sexes, Vic is now regarded as one of the most liberal colleges with a large gay and lesbian population and has seen an almost complete disappearance of religion from the college's daily life.

Vic's financial power has allowed it to become one of the most attractive colleges at U of T for students. It offers more scholarships per capita than any other college, the recently renovated E. J. Pratt Library is the largest library of any college, and Vic has the largest student centre of any college.

Victoria University's particular strengths are in the humanities, especially English and Renaissance History.

Alumni of Victoria University include Lester B. Pearson, Margaret Atwood, Northrop Frye, Margaret Avison, E. J. Pratt, Donald Sutherland, and Norman Jewison.

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