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The University of Trinity College

The University of Trinity College, or simply Trinity College is one of the federated schools making up the modern University of Toronto.

Trinity is considered one of the more elite colleges at the University of Toronto and in recent years has had the second highest entering requirements, after Innis College. It is also well known for striving to continue an Oxbridge type atmosphere including mandating the wearing of gowns at dinner and preserving sex segregation in the residences. The rules regarding segregation have since been relaxed, but the division remains. The college is also still quite thoroughly Anglican, even if many of the students are not.

Trinity is home to the Munk Centre for International Relations, one of Canada's premier International Relations schools.


In 1827 Bishop John Strachan, an Anglican deacon who arrived in Canada in 1799, received a Royal Charter from King George IV to build King's College in the city of York (now Toronto). At the time the British Empire was being reformed along financial and religious lines, and one of the goals of the "new system" was to form churches (by way of land grants) and schools in all of the colonies. However, York was so small at the time that there were no funds available for actually building the college, and the first classes were not held until 1843.

The college was borne into a turbulant period in colonial history. In 1848 the first local elections were held, and the land grants to the churches reverted to "crown" ownership. This left King's College in a somewhat odd position, and Strachan's support for the school vanished. In 1850 the school was secularized, and became the University of Toronto on January 1st.

This action incensed Strachan, who immediately set about creating a private school based on strong Anglican lines. In 1851 former military land was purchased from Fort York on the western end of Toronto, and the school was built on the west side of Garrison Creek (now buried). The work was completed quickly, and students arrived in January, 1852, many of them from Strachan's former diocese in Cobourg, Ontario, and a Royal Charter was granted by Queen Victoria in 1852 for Church of England University in Canada. In 1889 the school was renamed once again, this time to Trinity University. It was a highly regarded school throughout this era, and (perhaps surprisingly) fairly progressive. In 1884 they admitted their first women students, and added St. Hilda's women's college, in 1889.

With Strachan now long dead, efforts began in 1904 to unite Trinity with the University of Toronto. Most of the degrees granted were turned over to the UofT, with the exception of the degree in Divinity. In 1906 the school became a University of Toronto federated school, and efforts began to move to a location closer to the main campus. Land was purchased in 1913, but due to World War I construction was not completed until 1923. At that point the original builing was sold off to the city, and later torn down in 1950.


Trinity College (Men of College) and St. Hilda's College (Women of College) share with Wycliffe College and New College, the distinction of being Dominion cousins to namesakes in the University of Oxford in Great Britain, upon which the College system at the University of Toronto is itself modelled on.

External links:

Historical Background of Trinity College, Toronto