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

Ryerson 7025 – Athletics and Intramurals

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.

For October’s blog and the final installment in our special anniversary series we will look at Athletics and Intramurals – the spaces and the evolution of inter-university sport and intramurals between 1948 and 1993.

Athletic Spaces

The First Gymnasium

In 1950 Ryerson’s first gymnasium was located in a converted garage on Church Street. The space consisted of a spacious gymnasium with lockers and shower facilities, a social/common room, The Supply Store, a game room, a tuck shop, and a barber shop.

Ryerson’s first gymnasium (RG 95.1 Athletics CM51-6)

Kerr Hall Gymnasiums

In the 1964 2 new gymnasiums and a swimming pool opened in the brand new Howard Kerr Hall. The two gymnasiums could be utilized as 3 full sized basketball courts, 9 badminton courts, or 6 volleyball courts. The 23 metre swimming pool was built with 2 one-metre diving boards and a locker room.

Ryerson Athletic Centre

Opened in 1987, Ryerson’s unique underground Recreation and Athletics Centre provided 50,000 square feet of new facilities including 7 squash courts, two multipurpose gyms, a fitness training centre, a dance studio, a running track, and shower facilities. Built beneath the Kerr Hall Quadrangle, the two storey centre required a 30 foot excavation to accommodate it.

Mattamy Athletic Centre

The Mattamy Athletic Centre, previously known as Maple Leaf Gardens, features a second floor fitness centre and a hardwood dance studio. Home of the Ryerson Rams basketball, volleyball, and hockey teams since 2012, the building also houses a full sized ice rink that can accommodate 2500 seated fans, team rooms, and Coca-Cola Court – a multipurpose gym court.

Athletics

The first sports teams organized at Ryerson in 1948 were men’s hockey, men’s basketball and co-ed swimming, and co-ed equestrian. The men’s hockey team was the first athletics group to compete wearing the blue, gold, and white uniform. In 1949 a women’s hockey team was established and played at Ravina Gardens in High Park.

By 1993, Ryerson Athletics programs were much more developed. The teams competed nationally in the Canadian Inter-university Athletic Union in hockey, basketball, volleyball, soccer and swimming. Other Ryerson sports teams included badminton, fencing, squash, as well as men’s hockey and women’s figure skating.

Intramurals

Intramural programs were designed with fun and creation in mind. There were no try-outs or skill requirements to join.

Because of a delay in the construction of Ryerson’s gymnasium on Church Street, the Athletics Association was not able to organize extensive intramural programs. By the Fall of 1951 intramural programs for basketball, badminton and volleyball were held in the gym, while hockey, swimming, riding, curling and skiing took place off campus.

Ryerson Riding Club at Whitewood Stables, ca. 1950 (RG 95.1 Clubs)

By 1993 over 3000 students participated in 40 different intramural programs. Leagues were divided into women’s, co-ed, and men’s groups and programs included aerobics, innertube water polo and line dancing.

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

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.

Ryerson 7025 – Student Government

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.

For August’s post – we will delve into the history of student government on campus.

The Ryerson student union has held many names since the inception of the Ryerson Polytechnical Institute. In 1948, the first iteration of the student assocaition was called the Students’ Administrative Council (SAC).  In 1970, it changed its name to the Students’ Union of Ryerson Polytechnical Institute (SURPI), and between 1989 and 1996 it was know as Ryerson Students’ Union (RSU). In the mid-1990s, the union was renamed the Ryerson Students’ Administrative Council (RYESAC), and in 2006 it became the Ryerson Students’ Union (RSU) as we know it today.

Ryerson’s first Student Administrative Council (RG 95.1 SAC)

Initially, the student council’s budget was set by the Institute’s administration and the treasurer position was filled by an instructor. At the time, the student union’s main goal was to organize social and extracurricular activities for the student body. They organized Homecoming Weekend, Open House, the annual student comedy show called RIOT and The Ryerson Opera Workshop (ROW).

Ryerson Opera Workshop’s Alice in Wonderland (RG 718.03, Photographer: Jerry Davey)

By the 1960s, the student association evolved into an elected self-governing body that administered its own funds and became a platform for student activism. In 1966, Janet Weir, a secretarial science student became the first woman elected as SAC president. Weir organized a student-led protest called “Booxodus” to advocate for a larger book collection in the new library building. On November 20, 1967, students were asked to borrow six books from the library to demonstrate the limited resources available at Ryerson. The protesters borrowed 3,000 books from the library, representing almost a third of the overall holdings. The campaign was successful, and funds were allocated to increase book purchases when the new library would be completed in the 1970s.

Ryerson Library Booxodus (Photo montage from the book Together for Change by Ronald Stagg)

The Continuing Education Students’ Association of Ryerson (CESAR) was founded in 1979 to represent the large proportion of students enrolled in part-time and evening courses. Through the years, CESAR has collaborated with RSU on campaigns such as pedestrianizing Gould Street, eliminating the use of bottled water on campus and stopping tuition hikes. The organization also focuses on issues specific to Continuing Education students, such as daycare service and full financial credit for part-time studies.

Night Student News June 30th 1981 (RG 24.1)

In the early 1990s, the student council lobbied Ryerson to first install recycling bins on campus, and eventually to make them available campus-wide. By the mid-1990s, they organized several student demonstrations in protest of tuition hikes. The president at the time, Victoria Bowman, brought 30 bags of ice to the President’s office as part of a tuition freeze protest.

RyeSAC SoapBox Newsletter Fall 1997 (RG 79.59)

Ryerson’s student government has certainly changed through the years, but it has and will continue to undertake three major roles for the Ryerson community: provide free or affordable services to students, organize social and community-oriented events, and the role of an advocacy group dedicated to improving the condition of students on campus.  

Stay tuned for next month’s blog when we explore the history of student housing at Ryerson!

Ryerson 7025 – Student Groups and Clubs

The Ryerson University Archives has created an exhibit, running June 1 – October 31 2018, 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.

For July’s blog – let’s explore the history of Student Groups and Clubs at Ryerson.

In the late 1940s, there were only a handful of student groups and clubs. The “Hi Ho” Riding Club gathered approximately 40 students every Saturday at the Three Gaits Riding Club in the east end of Toronto. More than just horsing around, the afternoon of riding lessons also included a time to socialize with refreshments and dancing.

Ryerson Hi Ho Riding Club (RG 95.1 Clubs – Riding Club)

The Circle K Club at Ryerson was founded in 1952 as part of the Kiwanis community service organization. The club organized creative fundraisers such as dance marathons, car rallies, movie nights and blood drives to provide funding for first-year students with financial difficulties. The RyeHam Amateur Radio Club was established in 1953 to provide a space for Ham Radio enthusiasts to improve their skills. The club’s station VE3RIT was located in the basement of Kerr Hall. RyeHam gathered amateur radio contacts from over 150 countries, and offered a radio messaging service to both international and out-of-town students. The club’s activities included sponsored auctions, antenna-fixing parties and a portable operations set up during student orientation on the Toronto Island. By 1956, the club had 42 members, 12 of whom were licensed amateur radio practitioners.

RyeHam Radio Club (RG 95.1 Clubs – Ryeham)

By the 1960s, there were over 30 student clubs and societies organized by undergraduate students. The Ryerson Ski Club had one of the largest memberships on campus. The purpose of the club was to promote skiing as either pleasure or competitive sport, through the use of guest speakers, films and workshops. A typical club meeting included a slide show from the previous year’s fun weekend on the hills and a demonstration by a certified ski instructor on a synthetic slope.

Ryerson Ski Club at Blue Mountain (RG 4.11.2)

In the 1970s, Ryerson International Student Club (RISC)  was one of the most progressive and largest social groups on campus. It was established to support the interests of international students, which was approximately 1 out of 10 students attending Ryerson at that time. One of the club’s major accomplishments was removing the mandatory attendance of student police at dances. RISC organized debates, tours, dances and had a reception committee to welcome international students to Ryerson and support their arrival to Canada.

Student groups also include religious, political and cultural-based associations. Two of Ryerson’s largest cultural student association are the Chinese Student’s Association and the Caribbean and African Student’s Association.

Ryersonian Newspaper November 19th 1969 (C 001.111.01 Clubs – Cultural)

In the 1980s, the Ryerson Women’s Centre was finally recognized as an official student organization, with the goal to improve the status and condition of women at Ryerson through education and action. The Women’s Centre is the student union’s oldest community service. In 2012, the organization changed its name for The Centre for Women and Trans People. This pioneer student centre led the way for other student equity service groups such as RyePride and the Racialized Student Collective.  

Women’s Centre Promotional Notices (RG 706.02)

Today, the Ryerson Student Union funds and supports over 200 Student Groups, Course Unions, and Graduate Student Associations. Stay tuned for next month’s post where we will look at the evolution of Ryerson’s student unions.

Ryerson 7025 – Five Pivotal Moments in Ryerson’s History

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.

For June’s blog – we will look at some key moments in the University’s history.

Five Pivotal Moments in Ryerson’s History

Moment #1 Open for Business

In August of 1948 the Ryerson Institute of Technology was founded “as an experiment in post-secondary education and an alternative to the traditional apprenticeship system”. With only two weeks to advertise – Ryerson opened in September of 1948 with an enrollment of 210 students, each paying just $25 tuition.

Advertisement on page 13 of the August 11, 1948 edition of the Kitchener-Waterloo Record newspaper.

Moment #2 RIT to RPI

On April  26, 1963 “An Act Respecting Ryerson Polytechnical Institute” was formally declared by the Lieutenant Governor of Ontario. Along with the change it name from Ryerson Institute of Technology to Ryerson Polytechnical Institute, the school became independent of the various governmental bodies that controlled it and would now be regulated by a Board of Governors.

Front page of the March 16, 1963 edition of The Ryersonian, the Ryerson student newspaper.

Moment #3 A Question of Degrees

In 1971 Bill 97 was passed in the Ontario Legislature enabling Ryerson Polytechnical Institute the ability to grant degrees. The first 9 degrees, in Interior Design, Business Management, and Geodetic Sciences, were handed out at the May 26, 1972 convocation ceremony. Ontario Premier Bill Davis received an “honourary” Bachelor of Technology in Public Administration at the ceremony.

Photograph of 7 of the 9 first Ryerson students to receive degrees. Premier William Davis is seated second from right. (RG 4.96, Photographer: Jerry Davey)

Moment #4 RPI to RPU

On May 27, 1991 the Ryerson Board of Governors and Academic Council (Senate) gave their support to the proposal the the school seek full university status. Two years later on June 1, 1993 the dream was realized when Ryerson Polytechnic University was recognized by Royal Assent.

Ryerson President Terry Grier celebrating University status. (RG 76.14.723)

Moment #5 RPU to RU

In 2000, seven years after achieving university status, Ryerson opts to change its name to Ryerson University – with its formal name remaining Ryerson Polytechnical University. Two years later on June 27, 2002 the name is formally recognized by the government and changed to Ryerson University.

Signage outside of the Ryerson University bookstore and parking garage. (Archives Digital Content)

There are many more pivotal and significant moments throughout our 70 year history – so many that they would not all fit in this blog, but if you would like to learn more about them – please visit the Ryerson University Archives and Special Collections located on the 4th floor of the library in Room LIB404. You can also take a look at the University’s anniversary page here.

Stay tuned for next month’s entry when we look at student clubs and groups.