Welcome to Victoria University in the University of Toronto. Victoria's history in the education of Canadians is long and distinguished. Beethoven had been dead only nine years and Dickens was just starting to publish his novels when, in 1836, Victoria's original foundation, Upper Canada Academy in Cobourg, was officially granted its charter. In 1890 Victoria University entered into federation with the University of Toronto and began to establish its campus on the northeast side of Queen's Park. In October 2011, we concluded the celebrations of our 175th anniversary.
The campus itself is remarkable for its harmonious blend of architectural styles. 'Old Vic', the 19th century Victoria College Building, is an outstanding example of Romanesque Revival architecture, while the new 21st century Isabel Bader Theatre is an awarding-winning Modernist building on one of the finest streets in the City of Toronto. I have spent most of my life in various parts of the University of Toronto, and count myself privileged to live and work in such a gracious and inspiring setting here at Victoria.
In October 2001, the newly renovated E.J. Pratt Library opened its doors, providing access not only to thousands of volumes for undergraduates and to specialized collections for researchers in areas such as literature, history and biography, but also to vast electronic resources. The Library is bright and spacious, with reading rooms, group study space, and individual carrels, as well as pleasant, more casual areas. Visitors toPratt always find it vibrant, full of students working on projects together, or reading quietly by themselves.
About three and a half thousand students, and one hundred Fellows in two Colleges, form the academic heart of Victoria University. They are all supported by a dedicated and accomplished staff. Victoria College, a vital part of the Faculty of Arts and Science at the University of Toronto, is home to undergraduates in all arts and science disciplines and to an increasing number of graduate students. Vic’s twenty-five thousand alumni are found around the world, with many in the greater Toronto area returning year after year for events on campus. I am impressed by their loyalty. Vic grads have made especially strong contributions to Canadian culture, arts and letters, and public life. They will continue to make such contributions in the future, for Vic continues to attract young people who want their education to prepare them to make a difference in the world.
Emmanuel College is Victoria University's theological college. Recognized by the United Church of Canada as one of its theological institutions, it is the current manifestation of our Methodist heritage and brings an important perspective to the academy in its concerns for social justice, spirituality, and ecumenism. Emmanuel is part of the Toronto School of Theology, which is federated with the University of Toronto and is North America's largest theological consortium.
If Victoria is new to you, I invite you to spend some time with our website so that you develop a sense of our identity and the possibilities that Vic can offer you. Better still, come to explore the campus. And I would be delighted to hear from you: present or prospective student, alumnus or alumna, parent, neighbour or friend. Please contact me at vic.president(at)utoronto.ca
Paul W. Gooch