In the early 1830s, the Methodist Church decided to build the Upper Canada Academy in Cobourg. They laid the cornerstone on June 7, 1832 (or was it June 9?) and opened it on June 18, 1836. The total cost of constructing the building was $40,000.

vic collegeVictoria College, started in 1832 by the Methodist Church, was an Upper Canada Academy for boys and girls. By 1841 Degree granting powers were granted by Queen Victoria and with an Act of Parliament, it became Victoria College with University status. The following year the Rev. Egerton Ryerson was appointed Principal (President). The three story building next to Victoria College is now called the "Egerton". It was 1845 when the first convocation was held; and by 1862, to the initial faculties of Arts, Science, and Divinity, Medicine and Law had been added. The change to College status barred female students, and it was not until 1880 that a female was allowed to attend Victoria.

From 1876 to 1878 a new building, called Faraday Hall, was built on campus to house the Science Department. Ryerson Commons has been developed on the land left vacant by the fire, which destroyed Faraday Hall in the mid 1900's. It was demolished in 1909.

Academic affairs at Victoria College enlivened the town. The annual Convocation, with its evening "conversazione," the College's Literary Society, the debates, discussions, classes in public speaking, and socially prominent affairs made community news, and steady academic development.

After some 50 years of continual growth, there were discussions about Victoria's becoming one of the University of Toronto's federated colleges, and plans were made for it to become part of the Provincial University System. Become part of Toronto University's system it did; and, much to the consternation and unsuccessful legal protest of the 1887 Cobourg Council, Victoria College's academic functions were transferred to Toronto. The last graduating class was in 1892. Today the building remains standing and is used as a Retirement Residence. Only the beautiful old building, atop a hill with a sweeping view right to Lake Ontario, remains.

Contribution by Rita Marrocco

Another photo of Victoria College here.
More on Victoria College at Historic Places of Canada