1796 February 25

John Graves Simcoe, Lieutenant-Governor of Upper Canada, writes to the Duke of Portland, Secretary of State, confirming the need for a university.

1798 December 1

The Upper Canada Executive Committee recommends that a university be established in the town of York and that half the education endowment be used for that purpose.

1827 March 15

Archdeacon of York

At the urging of John Strachan, Archdeacon of York, a Royal Charter is granted to establish the University of King's College at York.  It was signed by Henry, 3rd Earl Bathurst, Secretary for War and the Colonies.

1828 January 3

225,944 acres of crown reserve lands are given to the College for its endowment.


, Map of King's College land purchase, 1928.

King's College Council purchases 68 acres of land in Park Lots 11, 12, and 13, but turns down the offer of 150 acres between St. George St. and Spadina Avenue. King's also acquires frontage rights on the present College Street and University Avenue, which permits it to control access to its grounds by installing gates at strategic intervals.

1830 January 8

King's College Council opens a secondary school, Upper Canada College, and its endowment is split with this school.

1831 January 27

Upper Canada Academy is established in Cobourg, opening on 18 June 1836.

1840 September 5

Observations begin at the Toronto Magnetic and Meteorological Observatory, near what is now Convocation Hall.

1841 August 27

Upper Canada Academy's name is changed by provincial statute to Victoria College; teaching begins at university level in October 1842. Name changed to Victoria University on 25 March 1884.

1842 April 23

Laying of the cornerstone of King's College in what is now Queen's Park.


Rolph's School of Medicine is re-established by John Rolph. It had originally been established in 1832 and dissolved in 1837 following Rolph's conviction for involvement in the Upper Canada Rebellion of that year. It changed its name to the Toronto School of Medicine and incorporated in 1851.

1843 June 8

King's College opens in the renovated Parliament Building on Front Street. 26 students sign the roll. Instruction commenced on 5 October in Arts, Law, Medicine, and Divinity.

1843 Fall

The south-east wing of King's College building [site of east wing of present Legislative Buildings] in Queen's Park is completed. It remains vacant until 1845 when it opens as a residence. No other wing of the planned complex for King's College was ever built. Funds were in short supply, due to monies being spent on expensive renovations to other buildings and financial mismanagement. The latter involved, in particular, the endowment lands, the principal source of revenue, and other questionable transactions such as loaning John Strachan £5,250, of which only £1,875 was repaid.


The Faculty of Medicine occupies a small frame building that was constructed adjacent to the west wing of the Parliament Buildings.


Knox College is established.


John McCaul is appointed College librarian.

1844 October 19

Chair of Hebrew and Oriental Languages is established at King's College but not implemented; it is succeeded two days later by a tutorship in Hebrew Language and Literature, filled by Jacob Maier Hirschfelder. When King's was replaced by the U of T in 1850, he was appointed Lecturer in Oriental Languages. Hirschfelder was the first Jew to hold a university professorship in Canada, though the exigencies of the time ensured his adherence to the Anglican Church. Howard D. Chapman, a prominent Toronto architect, is a direct descendant.

1844 November 5

Knox College opens under the name Theological Institution. It was established earlier in 1844 as the original Free Church College of the Presbyterian Church of Canada. The name was changed on 10 June 1846 to Knox's College.

1844 December 20

The first Convocation of King's College is held in the temporary University building. "The Hall presented one of the most gratifying scenes ever held in the Province. On the Dias were seated the authorities of the University, in full academic costumes•_Éof scarlet, pink, and blue according to their degrees...In the centre, on the elevated platform, was the Right Reverend Doctor Strachan, Bishop of Toronto, as the President of the University, on whom...the duty devolved of conferring the Degrees...Five Degrees were conferred, and Four Prize Compositions were recited." Henry Boys, John King, George Herrick, and Joseph Hamilton were admitted ad eundem gradum ("at the same degree", ie., based on experience) to the degree of MD, while Frederick William Barron was awarded a Bachelor of Arts. William Ramsay is listed in Fasti Academi: annals of King's College, Toronto as being admitted ad eundem gradum to the degree of B.A. in 1844 but is listed elsewhere as an 1845 graduate.


The short-lived Maple Leaf, a College newspaper produced by the graduates and professors, appears.

1848 July 30

Bowing to pressure, King's College passes a statute creating a Commission on Inquiry into the Affairs of King's College University and Upper Canada College. The final report was published in 1852.It was chaired by Joseph Workman, a prominent local physician and a lecturer at John Rolph's Toronto School of Medicine.

1848 December

King's College residence closes, having continually lost money. The kitchen facilities were inadequate and the students complained about the food. Stewart Wallace, in his A history of the University of Toronto, wrote "A variety of diet was difficult to obtain. Day after day the same pies and puddings made their appearance •_Ð apple pies being the great standby. Repeated muttering of dissent would at last arise from the students' tables, and on one occasion the inevitable apple pie from one of them was sent out of the room untouched, with a small stick in the middle of it bearing the words: •_ÔThe table don't eat apple pie'."

1849 May 30

A Provincial act is passed abolishing King's College and creating the non-denominational University of Toronto, effective 1 January 1850.

1849 November

King's College is forced out of the Parliament Buildings when the Canadian government returns to Toronto, and moves into the former Residence.

1850 January 1

John McCaul becomes the first president of the University of Toronto and a Board of Endowment is established. It lasts until 1874.

1850 May 25

First meeting of U of T Senate.


Trinity College Medical Faculty is established.


The Medical Building, designed by Thomas Young, is constructed in the University Park on the east bank of Taddle Creek. It was later (1880) named Moss Hall and was demolished in 1888 to make way for the Biological Building.

1851 May 7

A Senate committee reports on the inadequate facilities for the University in its three buildings: the •_ÔEast Wing' (old King's College residence), the Medical Building, and a house rented from George Ridout. The last was used by Convocation, the Senate, the Caput (the executive body of the University), and the Board of Endowment.


As a parrt of the reorganization, an expansion of the new University of Toronto, five new chairs are advertised for: history and English literature, modern languages, natural philosophy, natural history, geology and mineralogy, and civil engineering. The last was never filled.

1851 August 30

An Act to incorporate Trinity College; it opens on 15 January 1852. Degree granting rights are provided on 16 January 1853 with the issuing of a Royal Charter. The College buildings were constructed in what is now Trinity Bellwoods Park on Queen Street West.


The disruption to the University caused by the inadequate facilities and other challenges means that in 1852 and again in 1855 there was no commencement, as convocation was then called.


The Chair of Modern Languages is established and filled on 28 May 1853 by James Forneri, who had been a cavalry officer under Napoleon and who presented excellent textimonials from the father of the premier, Francis Hincks. When he retired from the chair at the end of the Michaelmas term in 1865, it was dissolved into three lectureships in French, German, and Italian and Spanish.

1852 August 3

The Chair of Natural History is established, to which Thomas Huxley applies. He receives testimonials from Charles Darwin and many other leaders of the scientific world but he does not get the position. It is filled by the Reverend William Hincks, who had the advantage of being a brother of the premier, Francis Hincks. This glaring example of political inference in university appointments was inevitable in an era when the provincial cabinet approved them. Though Hinck's ideas were even then out of date, he was liked by the students for he was affable and tolerated their practical jokes.

1852 August

The Chair of History and English Literature is established and is filled the following year by Daniel Wilson, a Scottish antiquarian who had studied art under Turner and who was a staunch defender of non-denominational education.

1852 August 4

The Senate authorizes the construction of a gatehouse "at the Eastern extremity of the Yonge Street Avenue" (northwest corner of Yonge and College). The gates would probably have been in place since 1843. See the year 1879 for a photo.

1852 September 15

St. Mary's Lesser Seminary (established 1852) opens. It was dissolved and absorbed on 14 February 1853 into St. Michael's College.

1852 September 15

St. Michael's College (established 1852) opens. Incorporated 19 May 1855.

1853 April 22

An Act amends the laws relating to the U of T by separating its administrative and teaching functions; the latter are assigned to the newly created University College. The title 'President of the University of Toronto' is replaced by 'President of University College'.

1853 Spring

John Bradford Cherriman succeeds Reverend Robert Murray, recently deceased, in the chair of mathematics and natural philosophy (physics). He was a Cambridge mathematician of some standing and was selected over John Tyndall, a man of much greater reputation. He resigned his position on 1 July 1875 to become the first Superintendent of Insurance for the federal government.