University of Toronto Magazine University of Toronto Magazine

Stepping into the Future

Cutbacks in government funding for postsecondary education have eased off in the last couple of years; the Campaign for the University of Toronto is producing remarkable results, and a quarter of a billion dollars will be invested in new buildings and initiatives over the next decade.

Imagine for a minute that you are visiting the St. George campus in 2015. You’ve heard that your old stomping grounds have changed and now you want to see for yourself.

You start on College Street at Queen’s Park and go west. On the right there’s the new health sciences complex that fronts on Taddle Creek Road. Next, you reach King’s College Road, where you would have looked for a parking spot two decades ago. However, the road and the front campus have since become the pedestrian-friendly Convocation Hall Plaza. You stroll up St. George Street where they built the Bahen Information Technology Centre and the John and Edna Davenport Chemical Research Building at the turn of the century (the latter used to be the east wing of the Lash Miller Chemical Laboratories). Or you go north on Huron Street, where you pass the psychology teaching and research centre south of Russell Street and make your way to the graduate student residence at Spadina Avenue and Harbord Street. The residence was a source of some debate when it opened early in 2000 because of the large letters hanging above the street and marking the gateway to the university.

If you are looking for undergraduate students, you might take a walk along Bloor Street. Remember the plans to lease the Bloor Street frontage of Varsity Stadium for commercial development? Governing Council dropped the idea in September 1999 and decided to use the area for new student residences instead. Completing the campus tour, you could drop by the Munk Centre for International Studies on Devonshire Place, formerly Devonshire House restricted to men living in residence, then renovated as a centre for world understanding – a transformation that parallels the one the University of Toronto has undergone in the past century.

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  1. One Response to “ Stepping into the Future ”

  2. University of Toronto Magazine says:

    It was with some disappointment that I read "Stepping into the Future." The planned developments all have one thing in common: they are huge, boxy structures of concrete and glass. During my time at U of T, I always enjoyed the glorious structures that spoke to me of history – University College, Hart House, Victoria College, Teefy and Carr halls, Knox College, Convocation Hall, Trinity College, even old Devo Hall with the coaxial cable strung from window to window by students stealing access to cable television. There should be enough talented architects in Toronto to commission buildings that fit the needs of the university while fitting into the ambience of the area.

    Colin Principe
    BA 1992 University College
    Concord, Massachusetts