Victoria University ("Vic" for short) is a federated school of the University of Toronto, consisting of Victoria College and Emmanuel College. Victoria University is somewhat separated from the rest of the university geographically, bordering Queen's Park, and being located on the eastern portion of the campus along with St. Michael's College. Victoria College is today home to approximately 3,500 undergraduate students. The President of the University is Paul W. Gooch and the Chancellor is Norman Jewison. The Principal of Victoria College is David B. Cook and the Principal of Emmanuel College is Rev. Samuel P. Wyatt. The Dean of Students is Jason Hunter.
Traditionally, Victoria has attracted students with excellent academic credentials maintaining its long reputation as one of Canada's strongest institutions of higher education.
Victoria is presently the wealthiest college at U of T by net assets. In part this has been because of alumni donations, but much of the growth is specifically due to the rapidly increasing value of Victoria's large real estate holdings in downtown Toronto. Today, the College has a securities portfolio worth approximately $78 million and a real estate portfolio worth $80 million.
The Wesleyan Methodist Church in Canada laid the foundation of Victoria College in Cobourg, Ontario in 1834. It was incorporated as a University in 1841. Rev. Dr. Ryerson was its first President.
Victoria College was originally founded as the Upper Canada Academy by the Wesleyan Methodist Church in Canada. In 1831 a committee decided to locate the school on four acres of land in Cobourg, Ontario, to the east of Toronto, because of its central location, large town, and access by land and water. In 1836 Egerton Ryerson obtained a royal charter for the institution in England (the Upper Canadian government being unwilling to provide a charter to a Methodist institution at that time) and the school officially opened its doors to male and female students under the principalship of Matthew Ritchie. Although it taught a variety of liberal arts subjects, it also functioned as an unofficial Methodist seminary. In 1841 the Academy became Victoria College and finally received its own charter from the Upper Canadian Legislature. Victoria University was formed in 1884 when Victoria College and Albert College federated with each other. In 1890, Victoria University federated with the University of Toronto. In 1892,Victoria University moved from Cobourg to its current campus at the corner of Queen's Park Crescent and Bloor Street in Toronto.
The oldest residence building at Victoria College is Annesley Hall. Built in 1903, and renovated in 1988, Annesley Hall was the first residence built specifically for women in Canada. Other residences include Burwash Hall, Margaret Addison Hall, Rowell Jackman Hall, Law House and the independent Stephenson House.
James Loudon, a former President of the federated universities, had prohibited dancing at the University of Toronto until 1896. However, dancing at Victoria was not officially permissible until thirty years later, in 1926.
In 1928, the independent Union College federated with the theology department of Victoria College, and became Emmanuel College.
Victoria University is governed bicamerally by the Victoria University Board of Regents and the Victoria University Senate. These bodies are represented by faculty, administrators, elected students and alumni. The colleges are governed by the Victoria College Council and Emmanuel College Council. College councils are represented by faculty, administrators and elected and appointed students.
The main building, Old Vic, is an example of Richardsonian Romanesque architectural style.
Victoria University offers a number of scholarships per capita. All Victoria College students who do not already hold a renewable scholarship are guaranteed one in-course scholarship of $1,000 if they achieve an average in the A range (Grade Point Average 3.50+) at the end of their first, second, or third year of study.
Victoria houses the recently renovated E. J. Pratt Library and is also home to two other libraries, the Emmanuel College Library (originally the Birge-Carnegie Library) and United Church and Victoria University Archives.
Victoria is also home to The Isabel Bader Theatre, which opened in March 2001. Over the past few years the theatre has been used as a lecture hall for University of Toronto students, an active learning space for Victoria University students groups, numerous concerts, theatrical productions, film screenings, and conferences. The academic programs of the college include Literary Studies, Semiotics and Communication Theory, Renaissance Studies, the Vic Concurrent Teacher Education Program (developed in conjunction with OISE/UT) and the first-year undergraduate programs Vic One and Vic First Pathways.
Campus life for Victoria students is active and varied, with numerous student clubs and groups. These include the Victoria College Drama Society (VCDS), the Literary Club, Vic Dance, Victoria Off-Campus Association (VOCA), The Renaissance Students Association (RSA), Film Societies, Future Investors and Entrepreneurs (FINE) and vocal and music groups amongst many others.
The Victoria College Chorus (Vic Chorus) is a mixed voice choir consisting of current students and alumni that holds biyearly concerts.