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A New Name!

On Tuesday, April 26, 2022, the official announcement was made.  We are now Toronto Metropolitan University. This marks the 5th name our school has had since its opening in 1948. Let’s look back at these names and how they reflect the evolution of our University and its community.

1948-1963Ryerson Institute of Technology (RIT)

In 1961, founding principal, Howard Kerr, wrote that he chose the name ‘Ryerson’ for the new post-secondary school, because the Egerton Ryerson statue stood on-site (since 1889).  Furthermore, the site, known as St. James Square, was a centre of education starting with the construction of the Normal School building in 1852 (Normal School is an older name for a teachers’ college.)

1963-1993Ryerson Polytechnical Institute (RPI)

Prior to 1963, the Government of Ontario had the final word on the school’s policies, senior administrative and faculty hirings, and building maintenance.  The Institute was granted independence in April 1963 with its own Board of Governors and a new name.  A committee proposed a change to adopt the British terminology for a school offering multiple technical and applied arts programs, a polytechnical and, thus, we became the Ryerson Polytechnical Institute.

1993-2002Ryerson Polytechnic University (RPU)

Despite the 1990s wide economic slump and government cost cutting, President Terry Grier and the Board of Governors increased the number of degrees offered and began to change the designation of degrees. For example, engineering students graduated as full accredited engineers rather than as technicians. Grier worked tirelessly for University status. It was granted with a new name, Ryerson Polytechnic University in 1993.

2002-2022Toronto Metropolitan University (RU)

University status brought with it improved funding for research and for graduate programs.  The number of graduate programs rose and more opportunities opened for faculty to conduct advanced research.  Ryerson was gaining status and with it came a new name approved by the provincial government in June 2002 – Toronto Metropolitan University.

2022 and BeyondToronto Metropolitan University (TMU)

In the Fall of 2020 President Mohamed Lachemi established the Mash Koh Wee Kah Pooh Win (Standing Strong) Task Force to gain a comprehensive understanding of both Egerton Ryerson’s life and legacy and the role of commemoration in our community.

Over the course of nine months, the Task Force oversaw an in-depth historical research project, a 2-month community engagement period and learned from Traditional Knowledge Keepers and various subject matter experts about the life and legacy of Egerton Ryerson, statues as forms of public art and memorialization, the history of colonization, Traditional Knowledge of Indigenous Peoples and place-making, the naming of public spaces, the Indian Residential School System, the public education system, segregated and separate schooling, Truth and Reconciliation, and the uses of commemoration. 

Mash Koh Wee Kah Pooh Win (Standing Strong) Task Force / website https://www.ryerson.ca/standing-strong-task-force/about/

The Task Force produced a final report with 22 recommendations addressing:

  • Principles of Commemoration at the University
  • Commemoration of Egerton Ryerson
  • Responsibility to Educate
  • Advancement and Support of Indigenous and Black Scholarship
  • Use of Public Space
  • Acknowledgement of the Land
  • Fulfillment of Previous Commitments
  • Implementation of the recommendations

The University’s Board of Governors accepted the implementation of the 22 recommendations including #4 “The University rename the Institution in a process that engages with community members and University stakeholders”.

In September of 2021 an Advisory Committee on University Renaming was appointed. The University Renaming Advisory Committee held community consultation between November and December 2021 in which they had over 23 000 respondents with 2200 unique name suggestions. On March 1, 2022 the Committee issued an update on the process and on April 26 President Lachemi announced the new name via Ryerson Today (now Toronto Metropolitan Today). You can learn more about the process, the name change, and the University’s action plan regarding the adaptation of the other 21 recommendations on the Next Chapter website

  • TMU social Media logo

References

  • RG 12.192.001.001, excerpt taken from A History of Ryerson, Howard H. Kerr, 1961.
  • from Cradle to Computer, Ronald Stagg, 1984.
  • Serving Society’s Needs, Ronald Stagg, 1998.
  • A Brief History of Toronto Metropolitan University, Claude Doucet, 2007.
  • Mash Koh Wee Kah Pooh Win (Standing Strong) Task Force https://www.ryerson.ca/standing-strong-task-force/

Archives A to Z 2022 Week 1

We’re joining the Archives of Ontario in their #ArchivesAtoZ month-long campaign. The aim is to increase the public’s awareness of archives and their collections. We’ll be sharing four blog posts throughout the month showcasing items from our holdings and demystifying archival concepts related to each letter of the alphabet.

  • April 4: A to F
  • April 11: G to M
  • April 18: N to S
  • April 25: T to Z

Artifacts (oversized!)

Archives and Special Collections often go beyond papers, books, and photographs in their collections. Many will have objects and artifacts as well. Our Archives and Special Collections is home to a robust collection of artifacts in all shapes and sizes, including many oversized and heavy ones that make storage tricky. Here are a few examples from the collections. (tap on the photographs to learn more about the objects)

Books

Our collection contains a large variety of published materials including books and journals. The Archives previously collected the published works of faculty. Special Collections houses rare books with a photographic focus, children’s books and History of Toronto books. They also have a large collection of photography related journals. Unlike the rest of the library – these books are not out on open shelving for viewing – they need to be pulled by Archives and Special Collections staff, and they are not available to take home. The books can be searched using the library catalogue and narrowing the location to either Archives or Special Collections

books on shelves
Books and catalogues on the shelves in Archives and Special Collections.

Campus Maps

Campus maps are an important part of our collection. They show the evolution and growth of the campus starting with its creation in 1948. They highlight not just the growth of the campus, but also show movement within the campus by the programs and schools that make up the University. For example the School of Architecture is currently located at 325 Church Street. But in the 1960s it was located at 44 Gerrard Street (former School of Performance building), in the early 1970’s it was housed at in the City Hall annex building at 465 Bay Street and after a fire in that building Architecture was housed at 720 King St. (near Bathurst).

Doozers

The Doozers, a favourite of the Archives and Special Collections staff, were part of the Jim Henson Television show “Fraggle Rock”. These tiny creatures were forever building structures only to have them eaten by the Fraggles. The photograph and the book are part of the Robert Hackborn Fonds. This collection contains extensive documentation of the creative processes for television show including on-set images, sketches of set designs and correspondence. Robert Hackborn was a Canadian set designer and art director. He started working at the CBC in 1955 as a scenic paint artist and later progressed to the Set Design Department where he would produce versatile special visual effects incorporated in years of Canadian film and television programming. (Tap on the photographs to learn more about the records)

Exhibition publications

Special Collections has a selection of pamphlets, press releases and publications for exhibitions in museums, galleries, festivals and universities across Canada, the United States and abroad. The collections is continuously growing, but the original acquisition was donated by Alison Nordström, the Curator of Photographs at George Eastman House International Museum of Photography and Film, who collected the material between 1986 and 2011.

Frank Sommers interviews

The Frank G. Sommers Fonds contains text and audio records of interviews he conducted with European and Canadian film directors Marianne Ahrne, Walerian Browczyk, Bert Haanstra, Claude Jutra, Ettore Scola, and Alain Tanner between 1978 and 1979. The goals of the interviews were to review converging trends in international cinema through director’s perspectives and gain a deeper understanding of the works.

Promotional material accompanying the Ettore Scola interview (2018.019.05)

Next week we’ll highlight items and archival concepts for the letters G to M!

This Week in University History – Space Shuttle Discovery Mission Patch presentation

March 24, 2022 will mark the 30th anniversary of Astronaut and Photographer Roberta Bondar’s visit to Ryerson to present then President Terry Grier with space mission patches – including one bearing the school’s coat of arms, that had been to space aboard the Space Shuttle Discovery.

framed space shuttle discovery mission patches and Ryerson Crest patch
Space Shuttle Discovery mission patches and Ryerson crest patch (RG 12.85)

Why would these be presented to our school? Because Roberta Bondar had been studying and researching the effect of blood flow under weightless conditions and its effect on space adaptation (dizziness, nausea etc) with the help of Ryerson’s Centre for Advanced Technology Education (CATE). Under contract with the Canadian Space Agency, researchers at CATE were working on experiment methodology, modeling, evaluation, data collection and analysis. You can read more about relationship in the following articles from the Forum Newsletter:

Winter in the Collections

Love it or hate it – snow in the winter is inevitable in most of Canada. Going along with this theme – let’s take a look at some images and items from the collections showcasing winter and snow. So put on a warm sweater and pour yourself a mug of something hot and take a look.

This beautiful scene is a painting done on plexiglass, which was then mounted in a wooden frame. We have back lit it for this image to give you an idea of what they might have done when using it for filming. It is from the Robert Hackborn collection. Robert Hackborn had a long and important career in the design and production of sets and special visual effects for television – working on shows like Mr. Roger’s Neighbourhood, Mr. Dressup and Fraggle Rock.

“A Christmas Fantasy”
2012.005.05.12

These five images below of the University Campus in winter (RG 395.121.01.216) were taken by then staff photograph Dave Upham. The photographs taken between 1992-1999 were used in campus publications like the now defunct Forum newsletter. They are part of a larger collection of images used by the University for promotional purposes and news stories.

The next two images are part of the Lorne Shields Historical Photograph collection. The collection consists studio portraits, cabinet cards, photograph albums, dageurreotypes, tin types and other photographic formats donated to Special Collections in 2008 by Lorne Shields.

Portrait of a child in winter coat with snowshoes (2008.001.1408)
Notman Winter Scenes (2008.001.919)

For many years the University had a winter carnival sponsored by the Students’ Union. It had many different activities such as ice carving, a broom ball tournament on Lake Devo, various food eating contests, concerts, pub nights, and skiing day trips.

Calendar of Events from the 1979 Winter Carnival (RG 79.009)
“Stopped Cold? – Broomball games on the ice rink on Devonian Square were part of the winter festival activities in January” Forum Newsletter January 31, 1992 (RG 76.14.438)

Lastly lets take a look at some Kodak advertising around winter and Christmas. The Kodak Canada collection contains records and artifacts from the Kodak Heights manufacturing facility in Toronto, as well as the historical collection belonging to the Kodak Heritage Collection Museum.

“Kodak Welcomes Winter” (2005.001.03.2.001.01.162), Kodak Canada Ad Ledger, 1922-1923
“For so many lucky ones…this is sure to be a Ciné-Kodak Christmas” (2005.001.03.2.001.07.172), Kodak Canada Ad Ledger 1936-1937
“Give a Kodak” (2005.001.03.2.001.07.102), Kodak Canada Ad Ledger 1936-1937

COVID-19 Community Archive Contest Winners

Thank you all for participating in our COVID-19 Community Archive submission contest!

The COVID-19 Community Archive seeks to preserve and make accessible content that was captured and created by students, faculty, staff and alumni about their lived experiences during the pandemic. Our goal in developing this digital portal is to serve as a repository for those of us who may be documenting this historic moment.

We received incredible submissions throughout the summer contest. Here are the three randomly selected winning submissions:

Although the contest is closed, you can still submit your work to the University’s COVID-19 Digital Community Archive Project by using our online submission form. We accept all types of works: photographs, audiovisual recordings, artworks and written content reflecting your experience of the COVID-19 pandemic. Join us in this collaborative project to document these unprecedent times!

Spring on Campus

Spring came in on March 20 this year and on campus this means the budding of the trees and the blooming of the wonderful smelling trees in the Kerr Hall Quad.

Many of us won’t get the chance to take in the campus green spaces in person this Spring, so at Archives and Special Collections, we thought it would be nice to look back at Spring on campus from years past.

Remembrance Day: Student Voices from 2000

Twenty years ago, Jennifer Kwan published “Voices from the Trenches” in The Eyeopener, one of Ryerson’s student newspapers.

Kwan interviewed students about their relationship to Remembrance Day and their traditions to commemorate the event. The article provides insight from students who had recently immigrated to Canada and their connections to war and conflict.

One of the perspectives featured in the article is a first-year information technology management student who is a Kosovar Albanian refugee. The student and her family fled to Macedonia just days before the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) bombing. The student discusses her relationship to war since leaving Kosovo and immigrating to Canada in the fall of 2000. Kwan wrote,”… young people approach her with questions about Kosovo, and while she thinks they should be aware of what’s happening in the world when it comes to war, she says people shouldn’t let it consume them.” 1

A business student from the United Arab Emirates interviewed in the article believes we should be spending more than one day reflecting on our history of war. The student shares his family’s experience during the 1991 Persian Gulf war and the emotional impact of living near a conflict zone. “It has happened before and it can happen again. It shouldn’t be a distant memory.” 2

Another student describes how every year her grandfather recounts stories of the Second World War and discusses his past as a commander for the Polish underground resistance. Kwan wrote, “Even though she’s heard these stories before, she sits beside him and listens, knowing that he wants her to remember them and learn the lessons.” 3

To read the full article, click on the image above and select “view full-size.”

The newspaper article included in this blog post was taken from the Toronto Metropolitan University Archives Remembrance Day Clipping File. The Archives preserves students’ experiences and serves as the institutional memory of the Ryerson community. For more student perspectives on Remembrance Day, click on the images below.

1Kwan, Jennifer. “Voices from the Trenches.” The Eyeopener, November 8, 2000.

2Ibid.

3Ibid.

“These are a few of our favourite things…” – Jack Layton Library

The staff in Archives and Special Collections brings you some of our favourite things. Objects and photographs from the collections that hold a special place in our hearts. Each post will highlight a different item, along with an explanation of why it stands out.

With such an amazing collection of materials – sometimes it is hard to pick just one…

This post is Archival Technician Cathy McMaster’s choice:

“The Pilgrim’s Progress” by John Bunyan, a religious allegory, first published in 1678. This edition was published ca. 1900 (F 404.2.733)

I chose this wonderful little book, the story of which is the oldest religious allegory in English literature still in print. This edition is over 100 years old, in good condition, and with a personal inscription to “Lily” from her teacher, “N.M. Robb” (no date). But, it is what I discovered between pages 144 and 145 that makes this book much more special – a pressed four-leaf clover. Who found this rare plant? Jack Layton perhaps? Or, if it was Lily (or even N.M. Robb) who placed it in the book, that little plant is old. Not only a wondrous find back in the day, but also amazing it is still in this book, possibly for 120 years.  Good luck or no, it was a special find for that person and for me.

An elusive four leaf clover
  • To see other book titles in the Jack Layton library – click here
  • To see what else is in the Jack Layton fonds – click here

“These are a few of our favourite things…” – Birth of a Campus

The staff in Archives and Special Collections brings you some of our favourite things. Objects and photographs from the collections that hold a special place in our hearts. Each post will highlight a different item, along with an explanation of why it stands out.

With such an amazing collection of materials – sometimes it is hard to pick just one…

This post is Archival Technician Rosalynn MacKenzie’s choice:

Excavation of the north end of the property, ca.1961

This is one of hundreds of photographs taken by late Ryerson Professor Charles Roy Horney. They are especially poignant as they document the “birth” of Ryerson’s campus with the construction of Kerr Hall and the demolition of the old Normal School buildings. Ryerson started out essentially as an experiment, but by the 1960’s it was really coming into its own and the construction of Kerr Hall represents this to me.

I picked this specific photograph because it shows how Kerr Hall was constructed. This shows the end of Unit I (which runs along Church Street from the corner of Gould to the corner of Gerrard) and the excavation for the Unit II.

  • To see a listing of the other photographs in this file – click here
  • To see what else is in the C. Roy Horney fonds – click here

2020 Alumni Weekend – Welcome to Archives & Special Collections Virtual Open House

This year we open our doors for a virtual visit.  We sincerely miss seeing all you alumni and your guests during this COVID-19 crisis.  We miss hearing your stories about your days at Ryerson and sharing with you, in person, what we have in our collections.  We sincerely hope you are keeping well.

Let’s begin with walking through the doors of the not-so-distant past, into the former Ryerson Archives Reading Room on the 3rd floor of Toronto Metropolitan University Library…

The Archives Reading Room as it looked in 2011 on the 3rd floor, Library.
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2013 Alumni Weekend, as arranged by my colleague, 3rd floor Archives.
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Peter working at the 2013 Alumni Weekend dressed as a 1993 grad, greeting visitors.
And on the right, Peter, undressed.
For more insight into Peter‘s life, see the Feature blog,  Who is this man in the Archives?
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The Library stacks, 1970s, on display for 2013 Alumni Weekend.
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2013 Alumni Weekend.  Sports featured here (L-R)
Intramural sports, Judo, Soccer, Men’s Basketball, Golf, Downhill Skiing, Football, Women’s Basketball
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Perhaps some of you were taught Politics by Jack Layton in the 1970s.
This 2014 display honours him.
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In 2017, after having merged with Special Collections, the 4th floor became our new home…

Our presence is boldly announced. We’re located directly across from the elevators.
You can also see our three-section display case.
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Upon walking through the doors, you’ll enter our Reading Room.
Check out this short blog about The Oakham House Dogs, seen in the foreground.
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Looking to the left as you walk in.  The blond wood cabinet is the last
card catalogue shelving unit remaining in the Library.
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A comfy reading area where you can peruse the shelves,
enjoy the few yearbooks and every issue of The Ryersonian and The Eyeopener.
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2019 Alumni Weekend
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Eggy made an appearance at the 2019 Open House, at least as his former self (2004-2011) – except
for the 1990s sports jersey.  Celebrating Eggy blog post takes a look at Eggy’s past.
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1950s and ’60 apparel.
Woman’s blazer. And, a tam, a variety of beanies, a top hat, and a recent rams hat for those emulating Eggy.
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A sampling of our button collection.
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Model of the original Ryerson building, Ryerson Hall, showing the building as it was in 1852
when it was built as Canada’s first Normal School (teachers’ college).
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Look!  A miniature Ryerson student!
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It’s time now for a few artefacts from Special Collections…

A 19th C Magic Lantern, a kind of early slide show with glass images projected through a lens.
The source of light for projection was an oil lamp inside the lantern “belly”, thus, the
chimney at the top.  All said, a dangerous proposition. 
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These wonderful 19th C tintypes are examples of a photographic process creating a positive image directly on a small lacquered-covered piece of metal.  They were inexpensive and very popular.  Often mounted in small cases, as seen on the left, which opens to a velvet interior with a tiny, elaborate frame.  The image inside has been meticulously hand painted.
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3D imagery is sampled here : A late 19th C / early 20th C stereoscope (left)…to this 1970s Talking View-Master!
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And finally, WWII Canadian comic books featuring Canadian heroes…

Called Canadian Whites due to the white paper within the very colourful covers.
Here, under Triumph Comics, is Nelvana of the Northern Lights.
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And Crash Carson, under the WOW banner, shoots down a Nazi plane.
See more information in our online database.

We hope you enjoyed your first Archives & Special Collections Virtual Open House!  “Stay Safe.”