Historical Bits and Bytes: Victoria College and the Federated Colleges

By Karen Wishart, Emmanuel Library, Victoria University.

Victoria University is one of the federated institutions which make up the University of Toronto. It began as Upper Canada Academy (a Methodist secondary school) in 1836 and was located in the town of Cobourg.  In 1841, the name was changed to Victoria College (named for Queen Victoria), and it was given the  power to grant degrees by an act of the Provincial Legislature.  Victoria’s first president was the Reverend Egerton Ryerson, newspaper editor and founder of Ontario’s present educational system.  In 1884, on the absorption of Albert College at Belleville, the name formally became Victoria University.  In 1890, Victoria University federated with the University of Toronto.  In 1892, it moved from Cobourg to its current campus in Toronto.  By the articles of federation, Victoria University  suspended its power of conferring degrees except in theology.  Its students receive their degree from UofT. Victoria University has two colleges – Victoria College (the Arts college), and Emmanuel College (the Theological college).

Meanwhile, Trinity College (in 1904) and St. Michael’s College (in 1910), under Church of England and Roman Catholic auspices respectively, had joined with Victoria and University College to form under a federal system the Faculty of Arts in the University of Toronto.

The Federated Colleges at the University of Toronto are St. Michael’s, Trinity and Victoria; the Constituent Colleges are Innis, New, University and Woodsworth.

College Principals have a reporting relationship to the Vice-President and Provost of the University of Toronto in their capacity as heads of academic units in the University. The Principals also report on behalf of their programs to the Dean of a Faculty or School under whose aegis a College program is offered in a capacity equivalent to that of department chairs.

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