UTM History Project

UTM History Project

Launched in 2021, the UTM History Project aims to enhance the scope of our campus memory; to leverage our location as a source of interdisciplinary knowledge; and to uncover connections among communities and ecosystems across time. Drawing on archival evidence and oral narratives, and building on work completed for the campus’s fortieth and fiftieth anniversaries, the project will compile a new history of UTM, from its foundation as Erindale College in 1967 to its development into a diverse hub for global education today. Rather than an institutional focus alone, however, the project will also tell a more capacious story of place, reaching beyond 1967 to earlier histories of the land on which UTM now sits.

Lislehurst bridge in summerThe larger focus will encompass stories about Charlotte Schreiber and the heritage embedded in Lislehurst’s architecture and environments; about the Mississaugas of the Credit First Nation and their immemorial connection to land that they still make home; about the Credit Valley Greenbelt and its vibrant legacy of geological, animal, and plant life; about the city of Mississauga and its political transformations over time. The result will expand the meaning of campus history to connect the past of UTM with the living worlds and communities contiguous with it.

The project enacts some of my own priorities, especially around the importance of local and environmental research, campus and municipal engagement, and reciprocal Indigenous relations. But I also expect that the project will expand my priorities in fruitful ways, providing a richer sense of our contexts as both an institution and a place. By celebrating past successes, confronting past failures, and amplifying forgotten or marginalized stories, the UTM History Project will help ground an institutional future that learns from its past—that better represents the human and ecological diversity, and the commitment to truth, that our campus will continue to value.

Rooted in collaborations at UTM and beyond, the project actively invites participation from people across the community. To share your story or join an interview, please email Lauren Ramsay (they/them), Oral Historian: laureno.ramsay@utoronto.ca.

Alexandra Gillespie
Vice-President & Principal
University of Toronto Mississauga