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History and Archives

We’ve been building a reputation for excellence for almost two centuries. Founded in 1829, we were one of the first institutions for secondary education in the province.

John Colborne

Sir John Colborne founded Upper Canada College in 1829

Our founder, Sir John Colborne, was the lieutenant-governor of Upper Canada, who later became Lord Seaton. A distinguished statesman and military leader, Colborne fought in both the Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars.

The intention was that UCC would serve as a feeder school for the newly founded King’s College (later the University of Toronto). UCC was modeled after the great public schools of Britain, most notably Eton College. To this day, UCC maintains a link to the British royal family through Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh. He acts as a “Special Visitor” and is a member of our board of governors.

The College was originally located on King Street and then Russell Square in downtown Toronto. UCC moved to its current site, the Deer Park campus near Avenue Road and St. Clair Avenue West, in 1891. The city didn’t extend north of Davenport Road at that time and the school was located in rural surroundings.

During its first year of operation, 1830–31, UCC admitted 140 pupils and employed a principal and eight masters (teachers). Today, the College has about 1,100 students, more than 110 teachers and 125 staff members.

What Will I Find at the Archives?

Old medals, uniforms, photographs and more, dating back to 1829 … In an Internet age, isn’t it wonderful we’ve preserved treasures we can touch and visit? You’ll find the UCC archives, a fascinating repository of UCC memorabilia, on the second floor of the Upper School.

The archives promote and preserve UCC’s heritage. We like to call it our “institutional memory.” The archives seek and acquire records and artifacts of permanent value to UCC and its affiliates. They offer a wealth of information about the history of UCC, Upper Canada, the Province of Ontario and the City of Toronto. UCC graduates, faculty and the College itself have played a central role in Canadian politics, education, the arts and sports.

Textual Records

These are documents produced by the UCC board of governors, the principal, the head of the Preparatory School and College associations. The collection also has student records and publications such as College Times, the oldest continuously running student publication in Canada, dating back to 1871.

Graphic Collection

This collection has more than 20,000 photographs, slides, negatives, films and tapes depicting students, faculty, UCC buildings, theatre productions, sports and UCC’s Norval Outdoor School.

Artifact Collection

These include medals, trophies, sweaters, caps, ties, pennants, sports equipment and Battalion uniforms.

Access

We welcome inquiries from the UCC community and the public, however access to some records is restricted and may require permission from the principal. Please note that the University of Toronto Archives and Records Management Services holds much of UCC’s archival record prior to 1900.

 

Hours

School year: Monday through Friday by appointment

Contact

Jill Spellman, archivist
jspellman@ucc.on.ca
416-488-1125, ext. 2372