All the news that’s fit to print – a brief history of Ryerson’s news outlets

In the age of social media there are many ways for news to be communicated. Faculty, staff, students, alumni, and the general public can find out what is going on around campus through Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and many other sources. How did Ryerson get the word out there before the internet and smart phones – let’s take a look.

Ryerson has had various departments and offices responsible for getting the official news out to the community and the public. The Office of Information Services, the Department of Community Relations, the Office of University Advancement, and now University Relations  were/are responsible to spreading the official word of Ryerson.

What’s Happening around Ryerson (1971-1977) was published once a week as an events calendar by the Department of Information Services. It was replaced by On Campus this Week (1977-1986). The Office of University Advancement published Campus News (2004-2009) which was emailed out to the Ryerson Community announcing individual events, campus notes, and other related information. This was discontinued in 2009 with the creation of Ryerson TodayThe Office of University Advancement, and now the Department of Communications, Government, and Community Engagement periodically send out news releases about significant Ryerson occurrences and events.













The FORUM was a newsletter of information and opinion first published by the Department of Information Services September 12, 1977. The FORUM continued to be published by the Department of Community Relations, and the Office of University Advancement changing styles and formats. It went to a digital only format in 2006 and continued on until 2009 when it too was replaced by Ryerson Today.



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Technikos the news magazine for Ryerson Polytechnical Institute was first published in the Spring of 1971 by the Department of Information Services and according to then Ryerson President “it would be mailed to the home address of each undergraduate…Copies will also be sent to potential employers…high schools, colleges, universities, and Ryerson alumni…”. It was published twice yearly until Summer 1977 when, according to the Ryerson Rambler, “…the costs have caught up with us and a quality magazine like Technikos cannot be produced economically enough to enable us to send it to you regularly…” so publication was cut down to one magazine per year sent out during the summer months. In 1978 the name was changed to The Ryerson Review. Its last publication was Summer 1980.

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The Ryerson Rambler, first published in June of 1962, was Ryerson’s alumni magazine. It was published initially by the Students’ Union. According to then Ryerson Principal Howard Kerr, “It is hoped in time that the Ryerson Alumni Association will be sufficiently strong to assume the responsibility involved in the financing of this project…”. It would appear that the Alumni Association took over publication in 1967. The Rambler continued publication until 1972, when it was replaced by Technikos as a source of information for Ryerson Alumni.

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The Rambler returned in February of 1978 when the cost of producing Technikos became economically unfeasible. It was published 3 times per year. In 1994, the winter issue of the magazine was discontinued – replaced by What’s On, a newspaper-style newsletter. In 1997 they discontinued What’s On and started publishing the winter edition of the magazine again.

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20_RG151_04_1994WhatsonWith the spring 1997 edition the name changed to Ryerson Magazine and began publishing only twice a year. In 2001, it changed its name to Ryerson University, the magazine – reflecting the name change of the University from Ryerson Polytechnic University to Ryerson University. It changed its name again in 2002 to Alumni Magazine, with a final name change in 2011 to Ryerson University Magazine.

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On the student side of the School, Ryerson has had student created publications since its inception in 1948.

The School of Journalism began publishing a newspaper called the The Ryersonian in 1948. The first paper was published in December of that year. Starting in January of 1949 until April of 1951, the paper was published on a monthly or bi-monthly basis. In the 1951-1952 school year the paper began being published on a daily basis. It continued this way for many years, until they began publishing Tuesday – Friday, and then only on Wednesdays and Fridays. During the 1993-1994 school year it started its present schedule of weekly publication on Wednesdays. The paper is also available online at

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In June of 1949, the School of Graphic Arts,  and the Journalism program started printing Ryerson Daily News. It was a one page leaflet with Canadian and International news stories.


It was replaced in September 1950 by The Little Daily. A one page information leaflet with news about Ryerson.

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Starting in 1950 they also published the Little Weekly, a larger format newspaper style publication. Both the Daily and the Weekly ended publication in January of 1951.


To replace The Little Weekly, Journalism students started printing three different small newspapers on three different days – The Blue on Tuesdays, The White on Wednesdays, and The Gold on Thursdays. They were produced between February and April of that year. In March and April of 1951 Journalism also printed The Blue Review.

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The Campus Week also was created to replace the Little Weekly. First printed February 3, 1951, it was written and edited by Journalism students and printed by the the School of Graphic Arts. It had a four page format – mirroring that of The Ryersonian. It does not appear that this continued to be published in the 1951-1952 school year. There was an independent publication created in 1951 called “TY-PI”, created by first year students in the Graphic Arts and Journalism programs.

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In 1967 the Eyeopener Newspaper (at first called the Eyeopener Magazine) took its name from the Calgary Eye Opener, newspaper published by Bob Edwards 1902-1922. It was created because, as its first editor Tom Thorne stated, many students felt that the Ryersonian was not representative of all of Ryerson’s students. Published on Tuesdays by the Students’ Administrative Council on a weekly basis, it was a member of the Canadian University Press. During the 1968-1969 school year it began being publishing on Thursdays and starting in September 1990 it changed to its current schedule of publication on Wednesdays. The Eyeopener is available online at

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All of these publications contain valuable information about the life and times of Ryerson and its students, staff, and faculty. They have been an invaluable resource for many research projects.

They are available for viewing in the Ryerson Archives. Please call (416 979 5000 ext. 7027) or email ( for an appointment.

Did you know….

Did you know that the collections in the Ryerson University Archives and 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.

For more information about the exhibition, visit the Confederation Centre website.

Souvenir of Toronto: Announcing the Robert MacIntosh Collection on the History of Toronto

Ryerson University Library and Archives is pleased to announce the donation of the Robert MacIntosh Collection on the History of Toronto to the Special Collections department.


A few of the souvenir booklets in the collection, featuring photographs of the major sites to see in the city.  These early keepsakes often included views of Casa Loma, the Canada Life Assurance Company building, the CNE, and Sunnyside pool.

The collection of 141 books was carefully curated by collector, author, and longtime Toronto resident, Robert M. MacIntosh. Ranging in date from 1807 – 1988, topics include historical accounts, biographies of notable Torontonians (including John Toronto himself, Bishop Strachan), tourist keepsakes through the years, maps, centennial publications, and TTC brochures.  

An economist by trade, MacIntosh authored “Different Drummers, Banking and Politics in Canada” in 1992 before focusing his research on the early history and formation of the City of Toronto and publishing “Earliest Toronto” in 2006.

Browse all books in the collection.


Books from the MacIntosh collection focused on significant individuals in Toronto history. Bishop John Strachan (often called “John Toronto”), was a staunch Tory, the city’s first Anglican bishop in 1839, and superintendent of schools.  An ideological rival to many of Strachan’s views, Jesse Ketchum was a representative in the 10th Parliament of the then Upper Canada. A writer and artist, Elizabeth Simcoe was the wife of Upper Canada’s first Lieutenant Governor John Simcoe and her diary is an important account of life in early York (Toronto).


Some of the volumes that detail the history of specific streets in the City of Toronto.  Yonge Street, the major artery through Toronto and once the longest street in the world, began construction in 1793 to link the new capitol of Upper Canada to Lake Simcoe.  Jarvis street, now home to the only reversible lane in Toronto, was once one of the most affluent areas of the city.  Taking it’s name from the original 1818 manor belonging to Dr. William Baldwin, Spadina now houses Toronto’s Chinatown, one of the largest in North America.

To view this or any of our other collections, give us a call and make an appointment: 416-979-5000 ext. 4996. Or email us at


Some examples of celebratory publications and reports in the MacIntosh Collection.

Mystery Images Found Around the Library…

For the past few years at the Ryerson University Library & Archives, mysterious photographs have been showing up in random library books. These photographs are housed in small paper envelopes that refer to them as “supplementary image plates” and label them “Property of V.I. Fonds”. Each envelope of ‘supplementary plates’ has ended up in a library book with a  theme similar to the subject of the pictures within it. Only recently has the library solved the mystery of where these envelopes have been coming from.

A  yellow envelope reading "Property of V.I. Fonds" TR790 .T35 1993 - Travel Photography. Supplementary image plates on temporary loan to Take Better Travel Photos/

An example of the V.I. Fonds envelopes found in books around the Library

It turns out that the planted photographs are the result of a project assigned by Image Arts Professor Vid Ingelevics to his Documentary Media MFA students for the course “Databases, Archives and the Virtual Experience of Art.” For the project, students were presented with an archive of 100 images on CD and asked to create a system to classify them. Past student Mark Laurie, who graduated from the program in 2010, chose to rely on the Dewey Decimal System and Library of Congress Subject headings to help categorize the disparate images.

The title of the project – “Supplementary plates: The V.I. Fonds distribution project” – describes Laurie’s decision for classifying the images through placing them into library books. Each individual photograph remains connected to the others in archival fashion by fonds, acknowledging the original source and organization of the images, in a group of 100 from Vid Ingelevics.

The artist printed the images as photographs, and divided them into library books because “without knowledge of the images’ provenances and the archival motivations behind their co-mingling, [Laurie] realized that by merely organizing them into batches, [he] could not hope to restore their meaning or significance.” Assigning each image, or small group of similar images, a Library of Congress Subject heading, Laurie searched the Ryerson Library catalogue and chose books with identical subject headings to place the photographs in. He used the Dewey Decimal and the Library of Congress Subject heading to complete the classification of his images, and placed them into books indicating that they were “on loan” from the V.I. Fonds to that book, adding to the Ryerson Library’s collection of images on that subject.

For example, Edward Ruschca’s book Twentysix Gasoline Stations was found with an envelope that reads:

NA6370 .R8 1967 – Service stations.
Supplementary image plate(s) on temporary loan to Twentysix gasoline stations. ( [s.l. ]: Cunningham, 1967).
[Fig. 1] A typical gasoline station in the United States.
\Loan expires October 31 2008 – if overdue, please inform Loan Administrator:

The envelop contained the photo of the gasoline station in the United States.

Photograph showing the book Twentysix Gasoline Stations by Edward Ruscha, along with the envelop and photograph placed inside as part of the V.I. Fonds project.

Twentysix Gasoline Stations by Edward Ruscha, with the V.I. Fonds supplement

Other images that have been found include 7 photographs of people in the act of taking photographs in the book “Taking Better Travel Photos”, and a photograph of a group of friends dining together in the book “Dining Customs Around the World, with Occasional Recipes.”

Kodak how to book for taking travel photos, seen with the inserts from the V.I. Fonds.

V.I. Fonds inserted photographs

The Ryerson Library is still on the lookout for more of these envelopes, so far only 28 out of 54 envelopes have been found. If you are interested in seeing those that have already been found, they are being held on the fourth floor of the library in Special Collections.  You can help us with this mystery! If you happen to find one of the V.I. Fond envelopes, please bring it to the attention of library staff, so that we might add it to our collection.

Also hidden on our shelves…

Staff at the Ryerson University Library and Archives have also been surprised to find new titles added to our shelves throughout the past year. Donations to the library including books titled: My Erotic Life: Richard” Dick Nixon, Why Are Babies So Ugly? by Oprah Winfrey, Circus of Desire by Penelope Brimshaw, and Puppies for Africa by Jeffrey Sachs were found, anonymously donated, throughout the library.

Photograph of fake book covers created by the Marxist Nudist Taxidermy Club. Titles include Circus of Desire by Penelope Brimshaw, My Erotic Life by Richard "Dick" Nixon and Why are Babies so Ugly by Oprah Winfrey

Examples of books donated to libraries around Toronto by the Marxist Nudist Taxidermy Club.

With a little research, Ryerson Library staff was able to find the culprits and credit the donations to The Marxist Nudist Taxidermy Club of Toronto. The MNT club celebrated April fools day last year (2012) by making some library visits.  The Ryerson library was one of only five libraries in Toronto to which the club kindly donated books that can’t be found anywhere else.  The library is still on alert for the two missing titles from the MNT Books Project collection…

– Cassandra Rowbotham, June 2013

Links and further information

For information about Ryerson Library Special Collections:

For more information about the Ryerson University graduate program in Documentary Media:

More information about Mark Laurie’s project can be found here:

More information about The Marxist Nudist Taxidermy Club can be found here:

The Howard Kerr Memorial Mace – Celebrating the Past, Present, and Future

It is convocation season and our graduates are eager to have that prized piece of paper in their hands. Certificates are not the only precious items held throughout the convocation ceremonies. Another ceremonial object to be excited about is the Howard Kerr Memorial Mace, carried during each convocation procession.

The Memorial Mace being carried by bedel Dr. Bannerman at Convocation, 2001. (RG 395.38.477, Folder 2 of 2)

Historically speaking, the Howard Kerr Memorial Mace is not very old but it is rooted in a rich history of Ryerson’s growth and transformation over the years. Each university traditionally owns a mace which plays a major role in ceremonies and convocations. It is a great symbol of pride and of the authority of the chancellor to award degrees to students. And so, when the Ryerson Institute of Technology was officially renamed Ryerson Polytechnic University in 1993, a mace was necessary to symbolize this new status, and Professor Bannerman of the Psychology Department brought forth this necessity into attention.

Many incorrectly assume that Egerton Ryerson is the founder but it was Howard Kerr who founded the Ryerson Insititute of Tecnology in 1948 and named it as such in Ryerson’s honour. Bannerman felt it would be ideal if Seaforth, Kerr’s hometown, paid him tribute as the founder and first principal of Ryerson and contribute to a mace. He appealed to the citizens of Seaforth and the surrounding district as well as to Kerr’s friends and family. By 1992, the Memorial Mace Committee was formed with Bannerman as the Mace Coordinator.

The Howard Kerr Memorial Mace Committee with Chancellor Crombie and President Grier, 1994. From left: Terence Grier, Clare Wescott, Alf Ross, Eugen Bannerman, David Crombie, Ross Ribey, and Harry Scott. (RG 76.14.618, Folder 4 of 4)

Many Seaforth scholars attended Ryerson and during convocation the town felt that sense of pride and unity. The citizens felt donating a mace would be a great opportunity for Seaforth to ingrain that connection and become a part of Ryerson’s history. People were enthusiastic and donations ensued. Around fifty individuals and groups affiliated with Seaforth, Kerr, or the school donated and they raised over $18 000.

Ryerson was not mace-less or tradition-less before the creation of the Memorial Mace, however. The Memorial Mace is actually the third convocation symbol. The first symbol was the Lamp of Learning donated by Doug McCrae, the first director of the School of Furniture Arts and it was originally used as a trophy for chariot races. It was replaced in 1985 by the Oakham House Debating Society’s mace, carved by faculty member Jim Peters. It was not meant to be a convocation mace because of its large ram’s head and a chain-link central section, symbolizing coherence and good debate. Both past symbols are now housed at the Ryerson Archives.

The Howard Kerr Memorial Mace

Douglass Morse was commissioned to carve the new mace and he incorporated a number of historic and traditional symbols to represent Ryerson, as well as to recognize Kerr and the town of Seaforth.

Morse also built a cabinet to house the mace. The engraving reads, “Howard Kerr Memorial Mace. This mace is presented to Ryerson Polytechnic University by the citizens of Seaforth and District and family and friends. In honour of the founder, Dr. Howard Hillen Kerr (1900-1984) 1994”.

The mace is:

  • 53 inches (134.62 cm) long
  • made of solid turned walnut
  • characterized by intricate protuberances and 24 carat gold-leaf details.

Details of the end of the mace.

Carved symbols on the mace are representative of:

  • the past – Egerton Ryerson’s portrait and the facade of the 1852 Normal School, built by him
  • the present – the coat-of-arms on the crown of the mace
  • the future – the space shuttle Columbia flown by Canada’s first female astronaut, Dr. Roberta Bondar of Ryerson’s Centre for Advanced Technology and Education
  • Ontario – provincial emblems on the crown: trilliums, maple leaves, and amethysts (Ontario’s official mineral)
  • donors from Howard Kerr’s hometowns – the coats-of-arms of townships of Seaforth and McKillop
  • the founder of Ryerson – a portrait of Howard Kerr
The Ryerson Coat of Arms on the mace. 

The crown of the mace, detailed with provincial emblems such as the maple leaf and the amethyst.  Carved details on the mace. (RG 5.266)

By the spring of 1994, the mace was complete and it was used in the convocation procession. Mace Committee members Ross and Ribey presented it to Mr. Crombie, the recently new and first Chancellor, on behalf of the donors. Dr. Bannerman was appointed bedel (mace-bearer) and continued on with this role at every convocation until he retired in 2001.

Ribey presenting the Memorial Mace to Crombie at Convocation, 1994. (RG 76.14.618, Folder 1 of 4)

Today, there is one bedel from every faculty, changing with each convocation.

Sue Williams, Dean Emerita, Faculty of Community Services 2012 Convocation bedel

Howard Kerr was certainly an important figure in the development of Ryerson University and his contributions are embedded in Ryerson’s past, present, and future. He once said, “My whole life is Ryerson. I live it, eat it, sleep it”.

The Howard Kerr Memorial Mace at Convocation, 1995. (RG 76.14.748)

In 2012 Ryerson was bestowed another honour with the presentation of the Eagle Staff.  Both will now be present at every convocation. For more information on the Eagle Staff, please read the Ryerson University Magazine story on the Eagle Staff.



Feature from the Collections: Looking Back at the History of the Normal School Building – Part Two

Postcard of the Normal School, viewable along with other postcards at the Archives. (from Normal School 1 doc. file)

As mentioned in Part One of this feature (published February 19, 2013), the Normal School was a great stepping stone for the future of education in Canada. Egerton Ryerson set the standards with the first Normal School of Upper Canada, furthering the quality of education as well as increasing the number of pupils with a desire to receive formal training. In 1852 the Normal School at it’s new St. James Square location had its first semester with two hundred pupil teachers and a total student body of six hundred with the elementary students included.

The front of the Normal School featuring the third storey constructed in 1890 to accommodate an auditorium and rooms for the School of Art and Design, a statue of Egerton Ryerson, and the iron fence. (from Normal School 1 doc. file)

From the moment the Normal School at St. James Square opened, it never stopped growing and transforming. Maintenance to the school’s infrastructure was frequent from the 1860s and on. Changes were also made to the east front of the building in 1882 to accommodate the Ontario School of Art and Design and an iron fence was added to the property ten years later. By 1896, a third storey was added to the South block of the Normal School which provided spacious halls with archways and allowed for its use as art and picture galleries. The new storey also allowed space for an auditorium.

The Toronto Normal School (RG 95-1-523-336-2 “Campus Old”)

The year 1941 marked the Normal and Model Schools buildings’ end as such and the government of Ontario offered the buildings for a federal-provincial war training centre – Dominion-Provincial War Emergency Training Program – in support of the Second World War. Also on site was the No. 6 Initial Training Centre of the Royal Canadian Air Force. Prefabricated buildings also were built.

The Normal and Model schools were relocated to the Earl Kitchener Public School in East York for the remainder of the war. Without discussion, the change was made and the Normal School was eventually renamed Toronto Teachers College.

After the war, the building was renamed yet again and it became the Toronto Training and Re-establishment Institute for people who had served in the war. The program ceased in 1948 and the institute became the Ryerson Institute of Technology with Howard Kerr as its founder. The building once known as the Normal School became Ryerson Hall in memory of Egerton Ryerson.

Photos of the demolition of Ryerson Hall and construction of Kerr Hall on display at the Ryerson Archives. (Photograph by Sarah Virag, 2012)

The now Ryerson Hall building served as the main building for the Ryerson Institute of Technology with the pre-fab outbuildings used as classrooms, social and athletic venues. However, by the late 1950s, it was decided that Ryerson Hall would be demolished to make room for an increasing student body and course offerings. Ryerson Hall could not accommodate the vast changes of the Institute.

It was hoped that St. James Square could be kept in tact but this proved to be impossible if the school was to move forward and expand. Between 1958 and 1963, the surrounding structures housed in St. James Square were demolished. These, along with the Normal School building, except its front door and surrounding façade, were replaced by the Kerr Hall quadrangle building.

The construction of Howard Kerr Hall surrounding Ryerson Hall. (RG 95-1-578-116 “Campus Old”)

Howard Kerr Hall with Ryerson Hall still standing in the quadrangle. (RG 95-1-623-51 “Howard Kerr Hall”)

The deconstruction of Ryerson Hall inside the quadrangle. (RG 95-1-623-51 “Howard Kerr Hall”)

In 1964, the school was renamed again, this time as Ryerson Polytechnical Institution, which eventually gave rise to what would become the Ryerson University we know today.

Aerial view of Howard Kerr Hall with only the façade of the Normal School / Ryerson Hall remaining. (RG 95-1-634-62 “Howard Kerr Hall”)

The façade of the Normal School reminds us of our school’s journey from a normal and model school to a polytechnic institute to a university. It remains as a beautiful mark of architecture and is still in use as the entrance to the Ryerson University Recreation and Athletics Centre. Nothing else stands from our past.

The commemorative plaque on the Normal School façade, or, the Arch, as it is often referred to today. (Photograph by Sarah Virag, 2012)

It is the door to our past and future.

The façade as it stands today, also known as the Arch. It is the entrance to the Ryerson University Recreation and Athletics Centre. (Photography by Sarah Virag 2012)

For more information and images of the Normal School and its deconstruction with the construction of Kerr Hall, please visit the Ryerson University Archives located on the third floor of the library, open Monday to Friday from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.




Feature from the Collections: Looking Back at the History of the Normal School Building – Part One

Though most current Ryerson students have seen changes that have occurred to the campus with the refurbishment of the Image Arts building, the campus as a whole has not undergone many substantial architectural changes in the past few years. Most students recognize the school in a much similar way to how it would have been years before them. However, if one looks back to the fifties, the campus did not hold the modern buildings it is now comprised of.

Inside the Kerr Hall quadrangle of our modern Ryerson campus stands, in its original position, what may be unofficially known to present-day students, as the Arch. The building that the Arch belonged to was the Normal School, demolished by 1963 and replaced with Kerr Hall to accommodate the demand of the growing student population at the time. The façade was preserved in memory of Dr. Egerton Ryerson and his contributions to the advancement of education in Ontario.

The first Government House of Upper Canada at King and Simcoe Streets and the first building to house the Normal School in 1847. (from Normal School 2 doc. file; book, Toronto Normal School 1847-1947, printed by Ryerson’s School of Graphic Arts (between 1946 and 1948))

Egerton Ryerson, the superintendent of education from 1846 to 1876, envisioned an improved education system in the Upper Canada province (Ontario), but there was no actual plan of making this possible until he took action in 1846. He was granted permission to occupy the Government House of Upper Canada at King and Simcoe streets where Roy Thomson Hall is located today. The Normal school opened on November 1st, 1847. A normal school, according to Ryerson, is “a school in which the principles and practice of teaching according to rule, are taught and exemplified”. Normale is a French term implying a standard or norm in teaching. It was the first provincial institution for the systematic training of elementary school teachers.

Elementary students of the Model School, just North of the Normal School for pupil teachers. (from Normal School 2 doc. file. (Credit:  Toronto Reference Library, T12242)

In 1849, the government required immediate occupation of the Government House premises and the Normal school was to be vacated. The school then moved to Temperance Hall for three years on Temperance Street, situated below Richmond Street between Yonge and Bay streets. But it was unsuitable and inconvenient. Eventually, the site of St. James Square, on Gould Street, was acquired and proved to be suitable for the Normal school as well as its later development to a polytechnic institute and even later to becoming Ryerson University.

The area surrounded by Gould, Victoria, Gerrard, and Church streets was purchased in 1849. The buildings were designed in a classical revival style on the exterior (like civic buildings of the time) and had a gothic-style interior (like educational institutions of the time) by F.W. Cumberland and Thomas Ridout. The Normal School was a two storey building that took three years to complete. The Normal School was for instruction of the pupil teachers by lecture, and the Model School, just north of it, was where they would practice teaching elementary school students.

The Normal School wasn’t solely dedicated to classrooms. The structure also housed the Council of Public Instruction chamber and the various branches of the Education Department. There was also a theatre, an art gallery, two rooms for a museum (which was open to the public free of charge), and a book depository. The property also contained fruit, vegetable, and botanical gardens, a small arboretum, and two acres for agricultural experiments.

The school opened on November 24th, 1852.

To see the Normal School model as well as images of the original building, please visit the Ryerson University Archives located on the third floor of the Library.  Archives hours are Monday to Friday from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

And now, stay tuned for the second part of the history of the Normal School and why only its façade remains standing today.

Photojournalism: Tools of the Trade

New Exhibition: Special Collections display cases, 4th floor of the Ryerson Library the Ryerson Library building.

Photojournalism: Tools of the Trade

In recognition of the grand opening of the Ryerson Image Centre, Special Collections has put together a small exhibition featuring images of journalists from the Black Star collection with their cameras of choice and a selection of similar cameras from the Historical Camera Collection.

Drop by the 4th floor of the Ryerson Library to see the exhibition.


Developed and produced in the United states, the Graflex camera was favoured by photojournalists since it’s introduction in 1910.  This version from the 1940’s uses 4” x 5” sheet film (mounted in a film holder in the back of the camera) and the flash attachment used 1-time use flash bulbs.  The strong flash gave photographs the telltale high contrast look of news and paparazzi photographs from the 40’s and 50’s.  Dorothea Lange used a similar Graflex model (series D) to shoot iconic images for the Farm Securities Association from 1935-1939.


Rolleicord Model 1 manufacutred 1934-1936Woightlander Brilliant, manufactured in 1937.Twin-lens reflex cameras use two lenses, one to view and focus through (above) and one to take the photograph (below).  A 45° mirror sends the image from the viewing lens to a piece of glass (called ground glass) for focusing.  The photographer looked down through the camera, which was usually at waist level.  These cameras used medium format, or 120, film. Rolleiflex, introduced in 1929 and used a square format (it was difficult to photograph with the camera placed on its side).


Hungarian photojournalist George Brassaï began his career with a Voigtlander camera and continued to photograph with the Rolleiflex, long after many of his contemporaries began using the more convenient 35mm models.  He did not like the square film format, however, and cropped most of his images.


Leica Camera

Leica iif camera, produced between 1953 and 1955. (2007.005.7.009)

Produced in Germany by Leica Camera AG, the Leica Camera popularized the 35 mm format and is considered to be responsible for the beginning of modern photojournalism.  The camera used standard cinema film, and it’s small size made it ideal for photographing fast paced, and often dangerous, news events.


French photographer Henri Cartier-Bresson (1908-2004), often referred to as the father of photojournalism, began using the 35mm format in 1931, when he purchased a Leica camera, much like the one displayed here.  Cartier-Bresson photographed often for Life Magazine, travelling to places like Russia and China,

Cartier-Bresson described his style as the Decisive Moment:

“it is the simultaneous recognition, in a fraction of a second, of the significance of an event as well as the precise organization of forms which gives that event its proper expression.”


Mamiya MSX 500, manufactured c. 1975: 2011.018.273Nikkormat EL, manufactured between 1972-1976This became the most popular film and camera format, both among professionals and amateurs.  Sturdy and multifunctional, with interchangeable lenses, these cameras found their way into civil wars, riots, and natural disasters around the necks of daring photojournalists.  Once exposed, the film was wound conveniently back into light-tight metal canisters that would protect the film until it could be developed.


American Civil Rights photographer Charles Moore is most known for his photographs of the Children’s Crusade in Birmingham Alabama in 1964.   His powerful images of the struggle for civil rights were published in the book “Powerful Days”. Photographs like these helped raise awareness of the need for a Civil Rights act in America.

For more information or to see more from the Ryerson University Library Special Collections, email or call 416-979-5000 ext. 4996.

For more information on the Ryerson Image Centre or the Black Star Collection, please visit their website at or cal 416-979-5164.


Jack Layton Website and Archival Display





As part of the on campus events commemorating Jack Layton’s legacy at Ryerson university and his lasting impact on Canada, the Ryerson archives have installed a display featuring items from his recently donated archival collection. The display is open for viewing during the archive’s regular hours, Monday to Friday 9am to 5pm.



In addition to the archival display, a new website has been created.  The site features a collection of images and student newspaper clippings, digitized copies of some of Layton’s personally annotated books, audio visual clips, and memories from his teaching days at Ryerson.   You can help celebrate Jack Layton’s life and legacy by visiting and consider sharing your own stories of how Jack had an impact on you.


A Call to Arms

They date back to the 12th Century and European knights. Knights painted them on their shields as a form of identification in battle. They have always been a symbol of honour, pride and bravery. Many governments have one as do many academic institutions. Ryerson University has one – an official Coat of Arms

Official coats of arms are made up of required components. Each component is a depiction of a particular group of people. The components typically are a central shield (or a military ‘coat’), two supporters on either side, a helmet or hat above with billowing fabric or ribbons, a twisted roll of fabric called a torse or wreath, topped off with a crest of any number of representations, for example an animal’s front half, top half of a human, a bird, or bird’s wings, etc.

The Back Story of Ryerson’s Coat of Arms

In the first year (1948) of Ryerson Institute of Technology, Howard H. Kerr, the school’s first and only principal, saw the school’s potential as a so-called “MIT of the North” and visited Massachusetts Institute of Technology. For Kerr, a coat of arms would be the symbol that would establish the school as a legitimate institution.

So inspired by MIT, Kerr borrowed their motto Mente et Manu (With Mind and Hand). However, officially belonging to MIT, the motto was changed by 1950 to a similar version, Mente et Artificio (With Mind and Skill). Both were used on crests, such as the one below:

Ryerson’s First Motto
part of a 1950’s Crest

"With Mind and Hand", original Ryerson motto found on the crest in the 1950s (from Coat-of-Arms – Ryerson doc. file)

“With Mind and Hand”
(first Coat of Arms documentation file)

Second and Current Motto
part of a 1950’s crest

"With Mind and Skill", official motto of the Ryerson Coat-of-Arms (from Ryerson's 1952 yearbook inside cover page)

“With Mind and Skill”
(Ryerson’s 1952 yearbook inside cover)

Proceeding to apply for an official coat of arms in the 1960s, Kerr found himself persuading the College of Arms in London, England that Ryerson was worthy of its own unique design. It was granted in 1966 (Delcaration of of Letters of Ryerson’s coat of arms is pictured at end of this blog.)

And so, with Ryerson having its own official identity and coat of arms, coupled with the reputation of a sound fully-rounded technical education, recognition grew. The number of Ryerson high school applicants for the fall of 2012, as reported soon after the January 11, 2012 deadline, was for the first time the highest in the province at 40,553.

What follows is an explanation of Ryerson’s coat of arms and what Ryerson stands for and the coat of arms below of reference.

(Appears on both rams)
The symbol of light, education, liberty, and increasing knowledge.

Lamp of Learning:
(Appears on the shield) 
The symbol of intelligence and giving forth the flame of the spirit within. It is the light in the darkness, a symbol for inspiration.

Set Square:
(Used for technical drawings; appears on shield)
The symbol of artifact, construction, building, the practical and material.

Maple leaves, representing Ryerson’s Canadian heritage.

(Two are supporters and one is the crest)
The ram, or aries, is a constellation representing our creative impulse through which potential becomes actual. In astrology, the aries governs the head and the brain.

 Mente et Artificio

While the coat of arms is reserved for use by the Chancellor’s Office and President’s Office, it is found in a number of places. The symbol is used for various official scholarly documents, but cannot be used for general information pieces such as flyers and brochures. If one would like to use a replication of the coat of arms, special permission must be requested.

You may also have seen the coat of arms or the crest on items such as university jackets, pins, and plastic book bags. Samples of some of these can be found at the Ryerson Archives; here are two clothing crest:

Souvenir clothing patches containing the motto and coat-of-arms. (RG 296.21)

Souvenir clothing patches containing the motto and coat of arms. (RG 296.21)

As there has only ever been one official coat of arms for Ryerson, other emblems of note were used before its creation. Below are some examples of related symbols of the past used to represent Ryerson:

The crest is a blue and gold logo symbolizing learning and knowledge (the flame). The trilliums, as Ontario’s official flower, represents the Province of Ontario. It was popular in yearbooks and on graduation rings. (from Coat of Arms – Ryerson doc. file)

 This symbol contains the main heraldic symbols of the coat-of-arms. In this case, there is only one ram. (from the Academic Calendar covers 1965-66)

This symbol contains the main heraldic symbols of the coat of arms. In this case, there is only one ram. (from the Academic Calendar covers 1965-66)

This Ryerson stamp could be found on documents and in yearbooks. It was not as popular as it received criticism for resembling an unattractive meat stamp or cobweb. (from the Coat of Arms – Ryerson doc. file)

The letterhead was created by Dennis Milton in 1964. The aesthetic of the letters are inspired by the shape of books. (from the Academic Calendar cover 1964-65)

To see samples of the Ryerson coat of arms and related symbols and documents, or for more information, please visit the Ryerson University Archives located on the third floor of the library, open Monday to Friday from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

Declaration of Letters Patent of the Coat of Arms (above) hung in President’s office 1966 – 2013. Framed coat of arms (bottom). Both on display in Ryerson University Archives.