125 years ago this year, the Department of Architecture at U of T began (1890). Landscape Architecture courses first began in 1934, with the first degree program offered in 1950, making 2015 its 65th anniversary. Both programs were the first of their kind in Canada and among the earliest in North America. This year, as part of Reunion Weekend at U of T, the school is hosting a celebration of its history and asking alumni of all programs to attend. I’m looking forward to seeing former inmates of 230 College Street from the Class of 2000, my graduating class, at the events!
The department/faculty/school has gone through a lot of restructuring and lived in a number of buildings over the decades, notably the Faculty of Engineering Practical Science Building at 1 King’s College Circle, a WWII Munitions factory in Ajax immediately after the war, the Victoria Curling Rink on Huron Street, and Convocation Hall. Several times, the school was forced to relocate due to scheduled demolitions of the buildings. Since 1961, the school has been housed at 230 College Street, the former School of Dental Surgery. Throughout the 1980s and 1990s, including during my Bachelors degree, the school was in dire financial straights and going through major restructuring; in 1997 both Bachelors degrees began to be phased out as the school made its transition to a graduate school. In 2008, the school was renamed the John H. Daniels School of Architecture, Landscape, and Design. In 2016, it will take up its new residence at One Spadina Crescent and 230 College Street will be relegated to undergraduate student clubs. In fact, preparations for the upcoming move led to this year’s reunion–the students assembling decades of archives to get ready for the move had been going through historic documents and realized the significance of the date.
Several of the graduating classes get together on a regular basis, but our class is not one of them. In 2000 the internet was still fairly new (the small firm I worked for upon graduation didn’t have a website and U of T’s email system was still on PINE) and obviously there was no Facebook to keep up with everyone. In recent years, some of us have gotten back into contact with each other through LinkedIn, Facebook and other means, but we are spread all over the world including Germany, the UK, the US, Hong Kong, and Singapore. We talked about some sort of reunion in 2010 but it never got off the ground, so this is a great chance for us to reconnect–it’s been 20 years since we started our degrees.
The John H. Daniels School of Architecture, Landscape, and Design welcomes all alumni to a day of dialogues, an exhibition featuring 125 historic items from the school’s archives to commemorate the 125 years, and a cocktail reception at the Royal Ontario Museum. All of the events will be held on May 30th, 2015–click here to RSVP for the reception. On Twitter, check out #125Daniels to keep up with the latest news.