UTM Timeline: From Pastures to Pedagogy

50 years. A lot has changed since the first students and professors strode across the open, almost undeveloped forests and fields of Erindale College. Fruit stands dotted Mississauga Road, residence students lived in buildings like Hastie House, and The Doors grooved to the top of the charts with Light My Fire. But other things have stood the test of time: shuttle buses still ferry students to the St. George campus; students still gather in the Meeting Place; and the deer still stop traffic on Outer Circle Road.

Take a journey through some of the highlights of Erindale/UTM’s history…

Mississauga Train Derailment

A 106-car Canadian Pacific freight train carrying chemicals and explosives including styrene, toluene, propane, caustic soda, and chlorine derailed near the intersection of Mavis Road and Dundas Street in Mississauga, Ontario. More than 200,000 Mississauga residents were safely evacuated, and Erindale's campus closed for a week.

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Literary legend W.O. Mitchell

W.O. Mitchell visits Erindale College. Writer, performer, and teacher--is best remembered for Who Has Seen the Wind and the Jake and the Kid stories, which grew out of, and defined, Saskatchewan prairie culture.

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Black hole discovery

Erindale’s Thomas Bolton discovered the first compelling evidence of a black hole. The black hole in question was Cygnus X-1, which lies at the centre of our own galaxy, the Milky Way. Bolton detected its presence by observing that the star HDE 226868 "wobbled", as if it was orbiting around an invisible but massive companion. His calculations demonstrated that the companion could be nothing less than a black hole.

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Public transit comes to campus

Mississauga Transit (later MiWay) begins regular service to Erindale College.

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Principal E.A (Peter) Robinson

Principal of Erindale College from 1974 to 1976.

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Association of Graduate Students at Erindale College formed

Principal Paul Fox

Erindale College's principal from 1976 to 1986.

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Erindale celebrates 10th anniversary

Principal Paul W. Fox and U of T President John Evans at Erindale College's 10th anniversary event.

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Ball hockey tournament

After Terry Fox’s Marathon of Hope ended prematurely, Erindale students started the “Terry Fox Campaign” in 1980 and organized a floor hockey game, a pub night and a 10-hour dance-a-thon in the Meeting Place to raise funds for the Canadian Cancer Society.

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Scholarship Campaign

In 1983, the college launched its first major fundraising campaign, the Scholarship Campaign, with a goal of $250,000.

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I.M. Spigel Dining Hall

The college named the South Building cafeteria the “I.M. Spigel Dining Hall” in memory of Professor Mike Spigel, a much-loved former professor of psychology, associate dean and founding member of Erindale College. The space seemed ideal, since Spigel regularly gathered in the cafeteria with students and colleagues.

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Homecoming parade

Erindale College’s float placed first at the U of T Homecoming Parade for the first time in 1984, sparking a six-year winning streak. 

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Erindale bed races

Residence students competed for glory in the annual Bed Races.

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Lislehurst becomes a heritage home

The Council of the City of Mississauga recognizes Lislehurst among the city’s heritage properties.

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Campus growth

Erindale College enrolment reached 3,547 full-time students and 1,465 part-time students.

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The age of computers begins

Erindale College purchased personal computers for the first time in 1986. Students paid a one-time $2 user fee to access the 17 computers in the library throughout the year.

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Principal Desmond Morton

Principal of Erindale College from 1986 to 1991 and 1992 to 1995.

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Jean Chrétien visits

On Jan. 26, 1986, the Honourable Jean Chrétien spoke about free trade to over 300 students, faculty, staff and community members at the Dons’ Brunch-and-Speaker series in I.M. Spigel Hall.

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Kaneff Centre

The Kaneff Centre for Management and Social Sciences opened – the result of a successful $3-million campaign in which 1,800 individual and corporate supporters participated. The opening marked the finale of the campus’ 25th anniversary celebrations.

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Fungus discovery

Two Erindale botanists received worldwide media attention in 1992 when they identified a species of fungus – Armillaria bulbosa – in Michigan as perhaps the world’s oldest and largest living organism. The mushroom spanned approximately 15 hectares, weighed over 10,000 kg and was about 1,500 years old.

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First Canadian female in space

Dr. Roberta Bondar, a doctoral student at Erindale College in the early 1970s, became the first Canadian woman to fly in space. She kept an Erindale College crest among the personal items she took with her aboard her flight on the space shuttle Discovery.

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Lights, camera, action!

Theatre Erindale’s first production, “The Farm Show,” opened in November 1993. (Photo circa 1990s.)

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Principal Robert H. McNutt

Principal of Erindale College from 1995 to 2002.

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The Academic Skills Centre opens

The Centre's mission is to bring together staff, students, teaching assistants and faculty to create a community of learners committed to excellence in teaching and learning.

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Residence Formal Pub

An Erindale College legacy, the Blind Duck had a traditional pub-like charm and welcoming atmosphere. Its popularity meant that you would have to wait in long lines to gain entrance on “pub night” which was okay because that’s where many people were met and life-long friendships made.

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