Monday, June 29, 2015

Historic Osgoode Hall and the U of T

Behind its spiked iron fence, Osgoode Hall is bleached by morning sunlight. Now part of York University, this is the home of the Upper Canada Law Society, established in 1797, a full seventy years before Canada became a nation.

This building has a checkered past. Begun in 1829 and named after Upper Canada's first chief justice, William Osgoode, the original east wing accommodated students and lawyers as well as courts and offices. For six years after the Rebellion of 1837, it housed troops.

Between 1844 and 1860, Osgoode Hall was added to and remodelled, then redesigned and rebuilt. Today not only is it a treasured heritage building and one of the nation's finest examples of Victorian Classical architecture, it's name is a symbol of the law in English Canada.

The University of Toronto also predates the country. It was established as King's College in 1827 by a charter from King George IV of England, and only later became known as the U of T, as it is often called. Alumnae include Stephen Leacock, Lester B. Pearson, Adrienne Clarkson, Tak W. Mak and Roberta Bondar.

This respected university possesses campuses in Mississauga and Scarborough as well as Toronto. In summer when there is space available for non-students, I love staying at the convenient downtown Chestnut Residence, surrounded by reminders of Toronto's fascinating past.

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