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Effective March 17th, the Ryerson Archives and Special Collections will be closed until further notice. See our update for more information.

A Comic Book Collection… from the 1940s!

Did you know Ryerson Special Collections has a large selection of World War II comic books? We have a collection of over 180 Canadian Whites comics

These are referred to as the “Canadian Whites” since only the front and back cover were printed in colour, while the pages inside were kept in black and white.

Active Comics (February 1942) front cover from Library and Archives Canada

In 1940, the War Exchange Conservation Act (WECA) deemed American comic books non-essential luxury goods, which could not be imported during World War II. Canadian publishers responded to this demand for comics by creating their own national superheroes with local storylines.

Front cover of comic book featuring Nelvana of the Northern Lights
Triumph Comics cover page from Library and Archives Canada

They introduced iconic characters such as Johnny Canuck, a Canadian hero who fights Nazis without superpowers but with his own strength and patriotism, and Nelvana of the Northern Lights, a superhero tasked to protect Northern Canada. Nelvana was one of the first female superheroes to be featured in comic books, and even predated the creation of Wonder Woman. Her character was possibly inspired by an Inuit elder that the Group of Seven painter Franz Johnston met during a trip to the Northwest Territories.

Inside cover and first page of a Triumph Comics
Triumph Comics – inside cover and first page from Library and Archives Canada

The Canadian Whites comics are incredible resources to read, research and analyze. There are several facets to explore, from the character’s stereotypical depictions and the Canadian propaganda storylines to the type of ink processes used to print the comic books.

If you’d like to view these comics from your home, Library and Archives Canada has several issues digitized and available online. Browse through their finding aid to locate the links and view the comic books.

Check out these resources for more information about Canadian Comic Books:

Canadian Radio and Television History at Ryerson – November 1949

This month marks the 70th anniversary of two important Ryerson and Canadian milestones – The opening of CJRT – Canada’s first educational radio station on the FM band, and the broadcast of “This is the Fashion – marking Canada’s first live television show produced for a general audience.

CJRT FM is on Air

On November 1, 1949 Canada’s first educational radio station on the FM band went on the air. The station was licensed as a completely non-commercial enterprise and operated in conjunction with Ryerson’s Schools of Broadcasting and Electronics. The University of Toronto, the Ontario Department of Education and other Boards of Education in and around Toronto would also take part in programming. The first night of broadcasting was 3 hours in length and included a half hour of recorded music, followed by “CJRT Testing” a documentary on FM broadcasting and CJRT, and finally a concerto of works by a variety of composers.

  • Ryerson Radio Club

The station was officially opened on November 22, 1949 by Ontario Premier Leslie Frost and Ontario Minister of Education Dana Porter

“CJRT Finest in the World – Frost” Ryerson Institute of Technology The Little Daily

This is the Fashion

On November 14, 1949 Staff and students from Ryerson’s Schools of Fashion Design, Electronics, and Broadcasting combined their talents for “This is the Fashion”, a 20 minute live fashion/comedy broadcast. Using equipment loaned from Famous Players, the show was performed in the School’s boardroom and broadcast to an audience of 200 Radio Industry professionals in the school’s auditorium. The purpose of the night was to promote FM radio and FM radio tuners.

Ryerson 7025 – Student Housing

This year marks a special Anniversary at Ryerson University – a double anniversary. It has been 70 years since the founding of the school and 25 years since it achieved University status.

In conjunction with University wide celebrations, The Ryerson University and Archives has created an exhibit, running June 1 – October 31, looking back at the history of the school. For each month the exhibit is open we will feature in our blog one of the 5 themes of the exhibit: 5 pivotal moments in Ryerson’s history, Student Groups and Clubs, Student Government, Student Housing, and Athletics and Intramurals.

This month marks the start of a new school year and for thousands of Ryerson students the first time living away from home. So it is fitting that for September’s blog we will look at student housing at Ryerson.

When Ryerson first opened in 1948, there was no campus housing for students. Students rented their own apartments, lived in rooming houses or in various YMCA or YWCA facilities. For the 1957-1958 school year Ryerson’s Students’ Adminstrative Council started a housing registry – to help students find accommodations in the city.

Ryerson Housing Registry, 1984

Church Street Annexes

In the late 1950s – early 1960s Ryerson purchased 323 and 333 Church Street for the purpose of providing housing to male students. Between 10 and 12 students lived in each building. After Kerr Hall residence opened in 1960, the students rooming in the Church Street residences were allowed to use Kerr Hall’s amenities.

Kerr Hall – Eric Palin Hall

Kerr Hall, renamed Eric Palin Hall in 1969, was Ryerson’s first residence. An all male dormitory that housed 42 students. Located in the refurbished Working Boys Home at 63 Gould Street (Now Oakham House). It opened in the Fall of 1960. In its first year running it cost students $10 per week to live there. It closed in 1972.

Bond House – O’Keefe House

Bond House opened its doors as a men’s residence in 1964. Home to 33 students on 3 floors, it changed its name to O’Keefe House in 1978. It would eventually become a co-ed residence. O’Keefe House closed its doors at the end of the 2017-2018 school year.

Bond House/O’Keefe House

Neill-Wycik College

The Student Housing group of the Ryerson Students’ Administrative Council joined the Co-op College and applied for incorporation in 1967 under the name “Neill-Wycik” – Neill for A. S. Neill the founder of Summerhill School in the U. K. and Wycik in honour of Mama and Papa Wycik.

The co-operative ran 3 (all male and co-ed) houses in Toronto for Ryerson students. They were located at 707 Spadina Avenue, 310 Jarvis Street, and 325 Church Street. They also rented 2 floors in the Rochdale College co-operative building at 341 Bloor Street West starting in 1968.

325 Church Street (RG 95.1.13.03.01)

The purpose built Neill-Wycik College student residence building opened in November of 1970. It housed 800 students on 22 floors.

Neill-Wycik College (RG 122.10.094)

International Living/Learning Centre

Hotel Ibis, located at 240 Jarvis Street, was purchased by Ryerson Polytechnical Institute in August of 1993. The 11 storey building would be home to 270 co-ed students as well as the new home for the Hospitality and Tourism Management Program at Ryerson.

International Living/Learning Centre (RG 395.40.16)

Pitman Hall

Pitman Hall is located at 160 Mutual Street. It has 14 floors and 565 rooms – with each floor having communal kitchen, lounge, and laundry facilities. The cafeteria is located on the main floor. This residence is co-ed.

Pitman Hall (RG 395.40.16)

HOEM Residence

Opened in the Fall of 2018, Ryerson’s newest residence HOEM is Ryerson’s largest residence with 30 floors and 593 rooms. All suites are fully furnished and include a kitchen, living room, and single, private bedrooms. A co-ed residence that is open to both first and upper year students. HOEM was built and owned by Canadian Student Communities Inc. and is operated in partnership with Ryerson University. To learn more about HOEM, visit their web page here.

HOEM Student Residence was built and is owned by Canadian Student Communities Inc. It is operated in partnership with Ryerson University

To learn more about Ryerson’s history – please visit the Ryerson University Archives and Special Collections located on the 4th floor of the library in Room LIB404.

Stay tuned for month for the final blog in the series – Student Athletics and Intramurals.

A Window in Time – 1899

What is that date on the window?

The Archives and Special Collections (A&SC) windows feature a series of seemingly random numbers worked into the window’s graphic pattern. The numbers are actually dates, chosen by A&SC staff, that are significant to the City of Toronto, Ryerson University, and Archives and Special Collections. Over the course of the next year our blog will feature some of the window dates and explain their significance.

1899

Canadian Kodak Co., Ltd. Headquarters (1899-1901), 41 Colborne Street, Toronto (2005.001.3.259)

In 1899, after successfully operating on the American market for over a decade, George Eastman dispatched Kodak employee John G. Palmer to Toronto to determine the viability of establishing a subsidiary in Canada. Palmer discovered a robust market for photographic products and, on November 8, 1899, Canadian Kodak Co., Limited was incorporated under the Ontario Company’s act. The nascent company established headquarters in downtown Toronto, embarking on a relationship with the city that would last more than a century and would constitute the heart of the company’s manufacturing operations in Canada.

For more information on Kodak Canada, please read our earlier blog – “Kodak in Toronto

SPECIAL COLLECTIONS IS ON THE MOVE!

Doozer construction sign from the Bob Hackborn fonds 2012.005.06.59

Beginning Monday May 16 Special Collections will be rooming with the Ryerson University Archives while renovations happen on the 4th floor. The Archives is located on the 3rd floor in the Library in room LIB387.

The move will take several weeks to complete, but we will continue to offer reference and research appointments while the shifting takes place.

To access Special Collections please email asc@ryerson.ca for an appointment.

Empty shelving in Special Collections
Fitting, Kodak was Special Collections first fonds and it is the first to relocate to the third floor.
Empty shelving in Special Collections.
Clearing and disassembling of shelves has begun.
Fans of shelves against wall.
Shelves waiting for assemble in the Archives
Kodak ledgers on shelving in Archives
Kodak advertising ledgers in their home
Archival boxes on shelves in Archives.
Doesn’t take long to fill up the shelves.

We are looking forward to an exciting Summer and Fall with A&SC finally located in one place! Check back here for move updates and photographs.

Did you know – Collections beyond our walls

Did you know that the collections in the Ryerson Archives & Special Collections sometimes are shown outside the University? Ryerson Associate Professor Marco Polo and Chair of Architectural Science Colin Ripley have curated a wonderful exhibition titled “Architecture and National Identity: The Centennial Projects 50 Years On” on view at the Confederation Centre of the Arts in Charlottetown, PEI.

Catalogue cover for the exhibition Architecture & National Identity

On view until January 11, 2015, the exhibition examines a range of public architectural projects created throughout Canada to commemorate the Centennial of Confederation in 1967. Several photographs from the Canadian Architect Magazine Image Collection, held in Special Collections, are featured in the exhibition and the accompanying catalogue, available at the Ryerson University Library.