Media Releases

University of Toronto launches new heritage website

November 26, 2012

Website features rare audio-visual materials

TORONTO, ON – Film footage of the 1939 Royal visit to Hart House and early photographs of Marshall McLuhan and Margaret Atwood are just a handful of the audio-visual treasures captured in a new University of Toronto website that documents the rich history of the institution.

“A great library is really about preserving the record of human achievement, of human research, culture and history. We are very pleased to be the stewards of the documentary heritage of one of Canada’s most important cultural and scientific institutions, and now to make this material accessible to anyone in the world who is interested in the University and the intellectual history of Canada,” said Larry Alford, Chief Librarian for the University of Toronto.

The extensive collection of archival material on is accessible to the public and introduces viewers to some of the nation’s greatest minds and most controversial figures.

Archival gems found on the site include: rare footage of the 1939 Royal visit to Hart House; the building of Robarts Library in the late 1960s; a 1958 promotional film for the University featuring a football game; a homecoming parade; and a Hart House debate addressed by Lester Pearson.

In addition, the site contains  photos of now-famous University figures, including Marshall McLuhan as a faculty member and a young Margaret Atwood addressing a crowd as a Writer-in-Residence at Massey College in 1972.

Another part of the site — The Chronology Exhibit — weaves a rich timeline of 214 years of University history – from its conception in 1795 to its Centenary in 1927 and forward to 2010.

Faculty, staff, students, alumni, University academic and administrative offices, and people and organizations associated with the University are invited to participate in building the collections represented on the site. Partner with the University of Toronto Libraries to add materials to Heritage U of T.

The Heritage University of Toronto website, called “a splendid addition to the University of Toronto’s collective memory” by Professor Michael Marrus of Massey College, was developed as a tri-campus initiative by the University of Toronto Libraries’ Information Technology Services, Thomas Fisher Rare Book Library, University Archives, U of T Mississauga Library and U of T Scarborough Library. Much of the material featured on the site can be viewed in its original form at the University Archives and the Thomas Fisher Rare Book Library, both open to the public as well as the U of T community.

The University of Toronto Libraries system is the largest academic library in Canada and is ranked third among peer institutions in North America, behind just Harvard and Yale. The system is comprised of 44 libraries located on three university campuses that together hold more than 12 million volumes in 128 languages; 93,000 serial titles; and over 28,000 linear metres of archival material.


For more information, please contact:

Margaret Wall
Communications Librarian
University of Toronto Libraries
Tel: (416) 978-1757 

U of T Media Relations office
Tel: (416) 978-0100