Last week was Canada Day and I made my very first Canadian inspired dish. I also ventured outdoors to explore my neighborhood. Do you find yourself driving by certain spots but never venture out to check them out further? My partner and I had an opportunity to take an interesting outdoor tour. After many pictures later I decided to write about it in my latest article. We discovered that University of Toronto St. George campus offers spectacular architecture. This is an area that we drive by frequently but never really took the time to visit. Not until now, that is. We had a lovely group tour of the outdoor grounds that really blew us away. So check out all the wonderful sights we discovered there.
Spectacular Architecture Can Be Found At University Of Toronto
A Little Bit of U of T History
University of Toronto or U of T as many call it, is a public research university located in the city of Toronto. Its main campus sits on the grounds that surround what is known as Queen’s Park. The royal charter originally founded the University in 1827 as King’s College. This was the first institution of higher learning in the colony of Upper Canada. The University changed its name in 1850 after separating from the Church of England. It then became a secular institution. It’s a collegiate university, which means it comprises of eleven colleges. All the colleges differ in character, history and their own autonomy when it comes to financial and institutional affairs. There are also two satellite campuses located in Scarborough and Mississauga.
The U of T St. George Grounds
The University grounds span around 2 kilometres (1.2 miles). They are located north of the Financial District in downtown Toronto and south of the popular neighbourhoods of Yorkville and The Annex. The entire site is 71 hectares (180 acres). The area is bound by Bay Street to the east, Bloor Street to the north, Spadina Avenue to the west and College Street to the south. The surrounding enclave of the University grounds known as Queen’s Park is the home of the Ontario Legislative Building. It also houses several other historic monuments. This large green space has many interlocking courtyards which forms a fantastic urban parkland in the city’s downtown core.
What I love about this area is the spectacular architecture but also the lush greenery. This is especially evident in spring and summer. I definitely recommend visiting this area for tourists and locals who haven’t been here before. Whether you take a guided tour of the grounds like we did or just walk around, this spot makes for a perfect romantic walk with your partner. Even though we took a small tour, we stayed back a few times to look at the sights and take some beautiful pictures. I think this area is such a gem in a busy city like Toronto with all its hustle and bustle.
Image – U of T
Spectacular Architecture On The U of T Grounds
The University of Toronto St. George campus offers spectacular architecture views. The architecture is a combination of Romanesque and Gothic Revival buildings that span across the eastern and central portions of the campus. Most of them date between 1858 and 1929. The heart of the University is Front Campus. You can distinguish it by its oval lawn enclosed by King’s College Circle. The main building of University College is the centrepiece built in 1857. It blends Richardsonian Romanesque and Norman architectural elements.
Even though we have drove by this area many times I never realized how wonderful this area really is. The spectacular architecture and the well-preserved buildings really amazed me. There is so much rich history that surrounds many of the buildings. Our very knowledgeable tour guide shared many interesting stories with us. I wish I could remember them all.
Spectacular Architecture At University College
University College is a constituent college of the University of Toronto. It was designed by architects Frederick William Cumberland and William George Storm and build between 1856 and 1859. This makes it one of the oldest collegiate buildings in Canada. Its establishment, assured the future of U of T as a non-denominational institution of higher learning. It provided a template for other government-funded, non-denominational institutions in Canada and the Commonwealth. It now includes Trinity College and St. Michael’s College, both of which later became part of the University of Toronto.
Our tour guide shared an interesting fact about the building. Apparently there was a devastating fire in 1890. It gutted the interior of University College. It also destroyed thirty-three thousand volumes from the library. The good news is that the University restored the building. The library was then replenished within two years. Loosing the building and its wonderful works of literature would be such a loss for the whole city.
Spectacular Architecture At Trinity College
Bishop John Strachan founded Trinity College in 1851. He intended the college to have a strong Anglican alignment. This was due to the University of Toronto severing its ties with the Church of England. In 1904, Trinity joined the university as a member of its collegiate federation.
Presently, Trinity College consists of a secular undergraduate section and a postgraduate divinity school that is part of the Toronto School of Theology. The college still reflects its English heritage with such Oxbridge traditions as wearing of gowns at dinner, a chapel choir that includes choral scholars, and wearing college scarves and blazers.
Spectacular Architecture At Soldier’s Tower
Soldiers’ Tower is 143 feet (44 meters) tall and the most prominent structure on the grounds. The beautiful and intricate stone arches are etched with the names of University members lost on the battlefields of the two World Wars. The tower also houses a 51-bell carillon played on special occasions such as Remembrance Day and convocation.
Don’t Miss The U of T Spectacular Architecture
I hope you take the time to visit the U of T St. George campus grounds soon. The spectacular architecture and its rich history are not to be missed. And if you’re visiting with your partner what a great opportunity for a romantic stroll in the greenery.
Address: 27 King’s College Cir, Toronto, ON M5S 3H7
The best way to get to the University of Toronto St. George campus grounds is by using public transit (TTC). The campus can be accessed through 4 subway stations.
- St. George (at Bloor Street and St. George Street)
- Spadina (at Bloor Street and Spadina Road)
- Queen’s Park (at College Street and University Avenue)
- Museum (at Bloor Street and Queen’s Park Crescent)
You can also get to the campus via the streetcar. There are two streetcar routes that pass by the campus:
- The 510 Spadina streetcar runs along Spadina Avenue from Spadina subway station, along the western edge of the campus.
- The 506 Carleton streetcar runs along College Street, along the southern part of the campus. You can catch the 506 from College station and Queen’s Park station on the north-south Yonge-University-Spadina line.
If you absolutely must drive, various parking is available around the campus area. The campus is also accessible via the Gardiner Expressway and the Don Valley Parkway highways.
Have you been to Toronto yet? How about the U of T St. George grounds? Are you an architecture buff? Share with me in the comments below.
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