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From Hospital hallways to Campus classrooms: the 50th anniversary of amalgamation, part 2

In 1973 the face of nursing education would change in Ontario with the move of Hospital Schools of Nursing into collegiate settings. In celebration of the 50th anniversary of the amalgamation of the Ryerson School of Nursing (now the Daphne Cockwell School of Nursing – DCSN) with the nursing schools from the Hospital for Sick Children, Women’s College Hospital, and The Wellesley Hospital, The TMU Archives, The Wellesley Hospital School of Nursing Alumnae Association (WHSNAA) and The DSCN partnered to create an anniversary exhibition. The physical display, housed in the DCSN administrative offices, features artifacts and photographs that give you a window into the history of the Wellesley Hospital School of Nursing, the WHSNAA, and the DSCN. The online component of the exhibit, consisting of two blogs, will take an in-depth look at the topics introduced in the physical exhibit.

This second blog looks at The Wellesley Hospital School of Nursing Alumnae Association, the Ryerson School of Nursing (1964-2007), Amalgamation: the end of hospital schools of nursing, the Last graduation(s), and the Daphne Cockwell School of Nursing (2008-2024). To view the first blog, visit https://library.torontomu.ca/asc/2024/05/from-hospital-hallways-to-campus-classrooms-the-50th-anniversary-of-amalgamation-part-1/

The Wellesley Hospital School of Nursing Alumnae Association

Wellesley Hospital Alumnae Association metal printing die (RG 946.01.01.06)

The Wellesley Hospital School of Nursing Alumnae Association, originally the Wellesley Hospital Alumnae Association (WHAA), was formed with the guidance of Director of Nursing Elisabeth Flaws in 1915 with the first graduating class of 10 nurses. Its purpose, according to the 1975 constitution, is the promotion of friendship amongst members, upholding the highest standards of the nursing profession, and assisting with nursing education.  Shortly after its formation the group became involved in volunteer work in support of Canada in the WWI. Graduates and students made medical dressings including “fluffs” (an iodoform infused cotton gauze roll with adhesive straps to cushion the wound) to send overseas. 

Final report from the Navy Knitters charity to all contributors to the cause (RG 946.01.03.01.76)

In 1926 after the death of Elisabeth Flaws, her brother started a scholarship in her name for Wellesley students. The Association oversaw this fund, as well as two others used to assist graduates in furthering their education and to aid current students. They also donated equipment to the hospital and participated in fundraising for the new 1947 wing of the hospital, donating furnishings to the cause. During WWII the Alumnae Association became an auxiliary Red Cross Unit. Members knitted goods, sewed ditty bags, mailed gift boxes to Wellesley Alumnae serving overseas, and supplied boxes of food, toys, and clothing for schools in England, a tradition that lasted until the 1950s. By the end of WWII the association became more of a social organization.

Wellesley Hospital Alumnae Association report on nursery boxes sent to schools in England, 1949 (RG 946.01.03.02.77)

The WHSNAA continued its role of giving and supporting nursing education even after the hospital schools of Nursing were moved to the Ministry of Colleges & Universities in 1973. Two scholarships began being awarded to active members of the Association who wanted to continue their education at the university level. As of 1987 there were 6 awards handed out – the Elisabeth Flaws Memorial Scholarship, the Elsie K. Jones Scholarship, the A. Joyce Bailey Scholarship, the Elsie K. Jones LaVenture memorial bursary, the President’s Bursary, and the Mrs. Herbert A. Bruce Memorial award. Until the hospital closed in 1998, several scholarships and awards were also offered on a rotating basis to registered nurses employed at The Wellesley. The Alumnae Association established an endowment in 2007 for an undergraduate nursing award for students enrolled in the Daphne Cockwell School of Nursing. In 2011 The Wellesley Hospital School of Nursing Alumnae Association gifted its archival collection to the University Archives and established an endowment to support its ongoing care and conservation.

Selection of items from the Wellesley Hospital School of Nursing Alumnae Association collection. Included are uniforms, silver tea set, Limoges china, and portrait of long time Nursing School director Elsie. K. Jones.

In 2021 they funded The Wellesley Hospital School of Nursing Alumnae Association Forum through DCSN. The forum’s objective is the support of on-going learning, scholarship and professional practice of Faculty and students in the school by providing them with an outlet to highlight their work and research. The first forum was held virtually in December 2021 with Dr. Maher El-Masri as the first speaker.

Photo from the DCSN Wellesley Forum held September 27, 2022. From l-r: Daria Romaniuk, Associate Professor & Associate Director Collaborative Nursing degree program; Maher M. El-Masri, Director DCSN; Linda Cooper, Wellesley class of 1968 & Professor Emerita DCSN; Sue Williams, Wellesley class of 1970 & Professor Emerita DCSN. Photograph courtesy of the DSCN.

To learn more about The Alumnae Association visit this website https://www.torontomu.ca/nursing/undergraduate/student-resources/nursing-alumni-associations/

Ryerson School of Nursing (1964-2007)

The Ryerson School of Nursing started as an experiment. In 1963 “The Ryerson Project” was undertaken by the Registered Nurses Association of Ontario (RNAO), Ryerson Institute of Technology, and the Department of Education to develop a nursing program at Ryerson. The project proposed a five year trial period with the aim that similar courses would be offered at other colleges at the end. Provisional approval was given by the College of Nurses of Ontario and the 3 year diploma course started in the Fall of 1964 with 21 students.

A large classroom was converted into a nursing laboratory with 12 hospital beds and equipment for instruction and practice. Clinical experience was attained at the Doctor’s Hospital and the Queensway General Hospital. In 1968 one semester post-diploma courses began being offered. The first was Psychiatric Nursing (1968-1976), followed by Pediatric Nursing (Fall 1969-1976), and Intensive Care Nursing (Fall 1970-1997).

Story about first graduation from RIT nursing program. Ryerson Rambler magazine, summer 1968 (RG 151.01)

In 1971 The Ryerson Report “Learning to Nurse: The First Five Years of the Ryerson Nursing Program”, authored by Dr. Moyra Allen and Mary Reidy was published by the RNAO. The report looked at the first 5 years of the program, following students through their schooling, graduation, and into the workforce. Also in 1971, Ryerson was given degree granting status which led the School of Nursing to begin planning for a degree program. The amalgamation of hospital school’s of nursing in 1973 resulted in the introduction of a new consolidated curriculum being introduced in the Fall of 1974.

Learning to Nurse by Moyra Allen and Mary Reidy (RG 6.23)
Excerpt from 1974-1975 RPI Full Time Undergraduate course calendar (RG 184.001.001.001)

In Fall 1980, the first class of post-diploma graduate nurses were admitted into the new 2 year degree completion program – earning a Bachelor of Applied Arts – Nursing. The degree had three areas of specialization – psychiatric, medical-surgical, and pediatric and like its diploma predecessor, it was the first of its kind in Canada. In 1983 a part-time option was introduced through Continuing Education. Nursing courses were held at 8 off-campus locations – Scarborough, Newmarket, Mississauga, Toronto West, University Avenue, Durham, Kitchener-Waterloo, and Hamilton.

Student nurses taking notes on catheterization, 1973 (RG 122.10.39.01)
Student nurses looking at x-rays during hospital training (RG 122.10.39.02)

In 1985 a Critical Care Nursing certificate was introduced in partnership with Toronto General Hospital, and it was announced the Diploma program would be phased out – replaced by a 4 year degree. In 1987, in conjunction with Continuing Education, the School of Nursing began offering a certificate in Nursing Management. The program won an award of distinction from the Canadian Association of University Continuing Education. The first class in the new 4 year degree program started in the Fall of 1988 and the final class of diploma students graduated in 1989.

Student nurse working at a patient’s bedside, 1988 (RG 76.14.447)

Through the 1990’s the program continued to evolve. It achieved the highest level of accreditation for a Canadian Nursing School from the Canadian Association of University Schools of Nursing (CAUSN) in 1993. In 1994 the Bachelor of Applied Arts – Nursing was changed to Bachelor of Science – Nursing (BScN). In September 1995 Ryerson’s School of Nursing, along with 9 other universities, partnered with the Provincial Ministry of Health to offer a Nurse Practitioner programme. The course ran 12 months for registered nurses, and 24 months for diploma nurses and was fully funded by the Ministry for its first 5 years.

Special Announcement – CAUSN accreditation (RG 6.37)

The next major addition to the school was in 2001 when it was announced that, in collaboration with George Brown and Centennial Colleges, Ryerson would offer a 4-year collaborative nursing degree. This was the result of government legislation requiring that, as of 2005, a baccalaureate degree requirement for all nurses that wanted to become Registered Nurses. The new program had 3 points of enrollment – Ryerson, George Brown, and Centennial. Ryerson students would spend all four years on campus. George Brown and Centennial students would complete the first 2 years of the program on their campuses, last 2 years at Ryerson and all their practical requirements would be supervised by their College faculty.

Special Announcement – Collaborative Nursing degree program (RG 6.37)

In 2005 the Masters of Nursing degree was introduced and in 2006 a post-Master’s Primary Health Care Nurse Practitioner certificate, an intensive program to prepare nursing professionals to write the Canadian Nurse Practitioner Examination. In 2007 the post-degree programme changed its name to Post-diploma degree programme to allow admission of students from international bridging programmes at Centennial and George Brown Colleges.

Amalgamation: the end of hospital schools of nursing

There had been talk of and suggestions to move schools of nursing out of the hospitals since the early 20th century but it was not actualized until 1973. On January 11, 1973, a joint letter, accompanied by a booklet of guidelines for the transition, from the Minister of Health and the Minister of Colleges and Universities was sent to the Hospital Nursing Schools, Ryerson Polytechnical Institute (RPI) and the Colleges of Applied Arts and Technology (CAAT) in Ontario.  As a result, RPI’s school of nursing would amalgamate with the Women’s College Hospital’s, the Hospital for Sick Children’s and the Wellesley Hospital’s schools of nursing.

Joint letter announcing the move of hospital school’s of nursing into Colleges of Applied Arts and Technology (RG 6.30)

The guidelines for amalgamation mandated the establishment of transition task forces to plan the transition – with members representing all affected schools. The RPI taskforce established 3 main committees with each one addressing different parts of the amalgamation process that would see an additional 375 students, 75 faculty and 18 staff people being added into the RPI nursing program.

The Curriculum and Clinical facilities committee planned the continuity of the existing nursing programs for 1973-1975, and the planning of a new curricular model for the future program that included admission and clinical requirements.   The committee’s outcomes included the maintenance of the 4 separate campuses until the end of the 1974-1975 school year (where Ryerson would pay rent to the respective hospitals for the space) and the adoption of the current RPI diploma structure (6 semester program) be adopted as the basic model for future curricular changes.

Campus map showing the 4 campuses of the RPI Nursing program – Main Campus (RPI), the Gerrard Campus (Hospital for Sick Children), Grosvenor Campus (Women’s College Hospital) and the Wellesley Campus (Wellesley Hospital) (RG 6.30)

The Teacher Student affairs and Internal resources committee was divided into sub-committees because of the wide scope of their terms of reference. They included the student affairs, teacher affairs, internal resources and student services sub-committees. Some of the outcomes from these committees included: the design of a new uniform for 1975-1976 school year; the responsibility for securing housing fall to the students themselves; graduation planning being undertaken by RPI for the 1975 graduating year; the establishment of the hospital school of nursing department heads as assistant chairpersons in the RPI school for the 1973-1975 period; the transfer and relocation of the school of nursing libraries to RPI’s library by 1975; and the transfer of all student records to RPI’s student records department.

Invitation to carol tea hosted at the Wellesley Campus (RG 6.50)

The Administrative and Finance Committee was also divided into subcommittees. The finance and budget subcommittee looked at financial matters including budget estimates for funding and payroll. The organization subcommittee addressed organization and administrative structuring, support service requirements and space facilities. The personnel subcommittee looked at the transfer of personnel records to RPI’s HR department and other issues related to payroll, pensions, and benefits.

The final report was published in January 1974.

Front cover of final taskforce report (RG 6.30)

Quick facts about The Hospital for Sick Children and Women’s College Hospital Schools of Nursing

Hospital for Sick Children School of Nursing

The oldest school of the three, Sick Children’s Hospital, graduated its first “class” of nurses in 1888 – with one graduate, Josephine Hamilton, receiving her certificate. You can learn more about the Hospital for Sick Children’s School of Nursing Alumnae Association by visiting their website https://hscnursingalumnae.org/

Women’s College Hospital School of Nursing

Women’s College Hospital School of Nursing graduated its first class of 2 nurses in 1918. Their Alumnae Association disbanded in 2019. You can learn more about the school and the alumnae association in on online exhibit titled “Welcome to Our School – The history of the Women’s College Hospital School of Nursing as told by its students” https://www.communitystories.ca/v2/womens-college-nursing_ecole-infirmieres-womens-college/.

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The last graduation(s)

Article on Wellesley graduation 1973, last one to be held before the amalgamation of the nursing schools in Fall 1973. Story published in the “Wellesley World” magazine – a publication of the Wellesley Hospital, August 1973 (RG 946.02.02.03.02)

The last graduation ceremony organized by the individual hospitals was in 1974, with responsibility for the ceremony moving to Ryerson Polytechnical Institute for the 1975 ceremony.

Article authored by Charlotte Broome, Women’s College Hospital Nursing School class of 1969 graduate and former TMU library technician for over 40 years. She was the acting librarian at the WCH School of Nursing library when it transferred to RPI in 1975. Published in the hospital’s “House Call” staff newsletter, Fall 1974. Article Courtesy of the Miss Margaret Robins Archives of Women’s College Hospital https://www.womenscollegehospital.ca/our-history/the-miss-margaret-robins-archives-of-womens-college-hospital/
Hospital for Sick Children “What’s New” staff newsletter, Vol. 7 No. 7 1974. Newsletter courtesy of the SickKids Archives https://www.sickkids.ca/en/learning/support-services/archives/

The final graduation for the Wellesley Hospital’s, Women’s College Hospital’s (WCH) and Hospital for Sick Children’s schools of Nursing was held June 2, 1975 at 7:30 pm at the Ryerson Theatre. 

Invitation to the Wellesley Division graduation (RG 6.50)

The 160 graduating nurses received a specially worded diploma highlighting their hospital affiliation and graduation pins featuring the Ryerson crest with a small hospital crest or logo attached with a small chain.

Wellesley Hospital School of Nursing class of 1975 graduation pin (RG 946.03.04.02.22)

Each school had its own valedictorian speaker – Sheena Elliot for Wellesley, Catherine Messenger for SKH, and Veronica Gee for WCH. Platform guests included the assistant chairmen from each program and members of the Hospital’s Board of Governors.

Nursing student receiving diploma on stage during the June 2, 1975 graduation ceremony (RG 6.46)

The Daphne Cockwell School of Nursing (2008-2024)

The next major change to the Ryerson School of Nursing came in 2008. Jack Cockwell, at the time a member of the University’s Board of Governors, donated $5 million towards the construction of a new building for the Nursing program. The Ryerson School of Nursing became the Daphne Cockwell School of Nursing (DCSN) after the donor’s mother who was a nurse. It would be another first for the school – the first to be named after an actual nurse.

Jack Cockwell next to plaque dedicated to his mother, the Daphne Cockwell Health Science Complex, November 28, 2019. l to r: Tony Staffieri, vice-chair of TMU’s board of governors; Nancy Walton, director of the Daphne Cockwell School of Nursing; Jack Cockwell, director and former President and CEO of Brookfield Asset Management Inc. and member of TMU Board of Governors; Mohamed Lachemi, president and vice-chancellor of TMU; Lisa Barnoff, dean of the Faculty of Community Services. Photo by Gary Beechey. Photograph courtesy of University Advancement – TMU

Also in 2008, the school hosted its first Annual research day – with the theme of “Partnering of Knowledge Exchange”. The conference was open to faculty and students at DCSN and other institutions. The annual research day was held until 2015.

In 2014 the School of Nursing celebrated its 50th anniversary.

50th anniversary pin (RG 6.71)

In the Fall of 2019, the Daphne Cockwell Health Sciences Complex was opened (https://www.torontomu.ca/news-events/news/2019/12/full-house-at-grand-opening-of-the-daphne-cockwell-health-sciences-complex/). The building is home to the DCSN, School of Nutrition, Midwifery program, and School of Occupational and Public Health. It has 8 stories of classroom and administrative space plus an additional 18 story residence for students.

Daphne Cockwell Health Sciences Complex ribbon cutting. l to r: Deborah Brown, VP, administration and operations; Jen McMillen, vice-provost, students; Michael Benarroch, provost and VP, academic; Charles Falzon, dean of the Faculty of Communication and Design; Ross Romano, Minister of Colleges and Universities; Mohamed Lachemi, president and vice-chancellor; Steven Liss, VP, research and innovation; Lisa Barnoff, dean of the Faculty of Community Services; Bryan Arnold, president and CEO, Eastern Construction; Andrew Frontini, design director, Perkins and Will. Photographer: Alyssa Katherine Faoro. Photograph courtesy of Publications unit – Central Communications, TMU
Students provided tours of the DCC’s key sites, including simulated hospital wards. Photographer: Alyssa Katherine Faoro. Photograph courtesy of Publications unit – Central Communications, TMU

In 2021 the Urban Health Doctoral program was launched (https://www.torontomu.ca/graduate/programs/urban-health-phd/). The interdisciplinary degree is open to applicant’s with a master’s degree in nursing, social work, urban development, early childhood studies, occupational and public health, disability studies, midwifery, youth and child care, nutrition, medicine, pharmacy, or dentistry and is administered by DCSN.

From its start as a government experiment in diploma nursing to a school offering 2 undergraduate degrees, 1 professional certificate, and 2 graduate level degrees, the Daphne Cockwell School of Nursing has come a long way and we can’t wait to see what it’s future holds.

To view the first part of this blog visit https://library.torontomu.ca/asc/2024/05/from-hospital-hallways-to-campus-classrooms-the-50th-anniversary-of-amalgamation-part-1/

From Hospital hallways to Campus classrooms: the 50th anniversary of amalgamation, part 1

In 1973 the face of nursing education would change in Ontario with the move of hospital schools of nursing into collegiate settings. The Ryerson School of Nursing (now the Daphne Cockwell School of Nursing DCSN) would merge with the schools from the Hospital for Sick Children, Women’s College Hospital, and the The Wellesley Hospital. This was the start of a close relationship between the DCSN and the Wellesley Hospital School of Nursing Alumnae Association (WHSNAA) that continues today.

In 2011, 13 years after the hospital’s closure, the WHSNAA gifted their expansive archival collection to TMU Archives. Along with the physical collection, the Alumnae association established an endowment to help offset the cost for the preservation and care of the materials.

On the left is Linda Cooper, Wellesley ’68 and Professor Emerita, Daphne Cockwell School of Nursing and on the right is Shirley Heard, Wellesley ’62 – Alumnae Association President. Also in the picture is a small part of the collection now housed in the Toronto Metropolitan University Archives. Photo courtesy of University Advancement.

In recognition of the 50th anniversary of the amalgamation and in celebration of the continuing relationship, the three groups, the WHSNAA, the DSCN and the University Archives, have partnered to create an anniversary exhibition. The physical display, housed in the DCSN administrative offices, features artifacts and photographs that give you a window into the history of the Wellesley Hospital School of Nursing, the WHSNAA, and the DSCN. The online component of the exhibit, consisting of two blogs, will take an in-depth look at the topics introduced in the physical exhibit.

This first blog looks at the opening of the Wellesley Hospital, the birth of a nursing school, early nurse training, the evolution of the uniform, and convocation at the Wellesley Hospital School of Nursing.

The opening of the Wellesley Hospital, 1911

Side view portrait of Dr. Herbert Bruce

Founded by Dr. Herbert Bruce (pictured above), the Wellesley Hospital was located in a private home purchased by Bruce from Frederick Nicholls for $65,000. The hospital, located on 4.5 acres of land on the north corner of Homewood and Wellesley Avenues in Toronto, officially opened in June 1911. Bruce began renovations, utilizing architects Stevens and Lee, on the building that included major additions to the structure. Renovations were still being completed when the first patients were admitted in the Fall of 1912 and by December of that year the hospital was operating at 90% capacity. The renovations were completed in early 1913.

Photograph of a large group of people seated and standing in front of a building
Front entrance of hospital at opening ceremony June 1911. In the photograph are (from l-r) Dr. Herbert Bruce; Senator James K. Kerr; Sir Edmund Osler; Dr. J. E. Elliott; Lady Zoe Laurier; Mrs. R. J. MacMillan; Sir Wilfrid Laurier; Dr. R. J. MacMillan; Miss Powell; Dr. F. W. Marlow; Mrs. Anne M. Kerr; Miss Elisabeth Flaws; Sir William Mulock; and Mr. A. E. Dyment (RG 946.01.03.03.03)
  • Wood printing block with hospital floor plan
  • Wood printing block with hospital floor plan
  • wood printing blocks with hospital floor plans

Designed to attract wealthy patients and their surgeons, The Wellesley had 60 private beds (for $3.00 and up per day) and 12 semi-private rooms ($2.00-$2.50 per day). They were open for patients of doctors and surgeons in good standing in Toronto and beyond. There were also 2 house surgeons on staff. Patients were served their meals on Limoges china and ate with silver cutlery and tea service imported from England. $69,000 dollars was spent in the first year alone on furnishings and equipment. 

Limoges china used to serve patients in the early days of the hospital (RG 946.02.12.01.01)

Over the next several decades the Hospital grew and evolved. It moved out of its “hospital for the wealthy” persona and would became best known for its role as a community hospital. It became a refuge and support for the St. Jamestown area where it was located. In 1968 the hospital opened its Social Service department and in 1973 the department of Family and Community Medicine moved out into the community with the opening of the St. Jamestown Community Health Clinic. A second location was opened in 1975.

Front entrance of the original hospital circa 1947 (RG 946.01.03.03.06)

The hospital went through various money and operational crises through its 86 year history – with a variety of proposed and actualized amalgamations with other hospitals: Toronto General Hospital 1948-1969; Toronto Central Hospital (1996-1998). The Wellesley Hospital was closed by the Ontario Government at the recommendation of the Ontario Health Services Restructuring Commission in 1998. Its remaining services were taken over by Sunnybrook and St. Michael’s Hospitals. 

Significant events in the hospital’s history:

1911 – Hospital opened by then Prime Minister Wilfrid Laurier

1912 – Founding of School of Nursing; First new hospital wing opens in August with first hospital patients admitted in September

1917 – Received designation a public hospital under Ontario Hospital and Charitable Institutions Act

1942 – Officially becomes a public general hospital

1948 – Amalgamation with Toronto General Hospital – becomes Wellesley Division

1959 – Hospital attains independent status once more

1973 – School of Nursing moved from hospital to Ryerson Polytechnical Institute (now Toronto Metropolitan University)

1996 – Merger with Toronto Central Hospital – becoming Wellesley Central Hospital (#7 on map https://www.heritagetoronto.org/explore/st-james-town-history/)

1997 – Proposed merger with Women’s College Hospital

1998 – Wellesley Central Hospital’s operation taken over by St. Michael’s Hospital. The Wellesley Central Hospital closes.

2000 – Former Board members of Wellesley Central Hospital and community activists form Wellesley Central Health Corporation (WCHC). (https://www.wellesleyinstitute.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/10/Our-History-Flip-Sheet.pdf)

2006 – WCHC renamed Wellesley Institute – a non-profit, non-partisan research and policy Institute focused on problems related to population health

The Birth of a Nursing School, 1912

Elisabeth Flaws, first Hospital superintendent and director of the Nursing School (RG 946.03.01.01.07.01)

The Wellesley Hospital School of Nursing was founded in 1912 with Elisabeth Flaws in a dual role – Director of the Nursing School and Hospital Superintendent. The three year program was designed to have Nurse trainees available for service in The Wellesley Hospital after 6 months, this was later changed to 4 months. Dr. Bruce’s goal was to have the 26 paid nursing staff members reduced to 8 by the end of the second year of the school’s existence. The first class of 10 nurses graduated in 1915.

The student nurses were required to live in residence. The first four residences were in converted homes. The first was located at 496 Sherbourne St, and the second at 176 Wellesley Street.

Second nurses residence at 176 Wellesley Street. Hospital Building Bruce Wing is visible in the background (RG946.02.03.08.07)
Second nurses residence located at 176 Wellesley Street. Hospital Bruce wing visible in the background (RG 946.02.03.08.07)

The first purpose built residence was constructed and opened in 1953. The new space had classrooms, a library, a snack bar, and recreation facilities. In 1971 the building was named the “Elsie K. Jones Building” after the long time Nursing Director. 

Over the next  58 years The Wellesley would graduate 2235 nurses, with the last class graduating  in 1975.

Wellesley Hospital School of Nursing crest

Early Nurse Training

When The Wellesley Hospital School of Nursing opened in 1912, The nursing program was a 3 year diploma.

Nurse in surgical scrubs, circa 1920 (RG 946.03.01.08.29)

In the beginning the hospital was not equipped to handle all the training necessary for its nursing students. Starting in 1915 obstetrical training was completed at the Manhattan Maternity Hospital in New York with student nurses being sent in 3 month training rotations. By 1919 this training was completed in-house. The Wellesley contacted Sick Children’s Hospital regarding training in paediatric nursing in 1916 but were denied because of The Wellesley’s status as a private hospital. By 1919 there was an agreement between Sick Children’s and The Wellesley for this training.  Starting in 1925 Public Health training was completed in 3 month rotations at the Ottawa Civic Hospital. This training switched to Toronto General Hospital in 1928. Tuberculosis nursing training was completed at the Toronto Hospital for Consumptives, and Psychiatric nursing training was completed at the now defunct Toronto Psychiatric Hospital and the Ontario Hospital (now CAMH) until 1949 when The Wellesley opened its own psychiatric care unit. Nursing students continued to do rotations at CAMH as part of their training.

1912-1961 Nursing Students Day

Day Duty (7:00am – 7:00pm)

Roll call was at 6:25am with 12 hour shift starting at 7 am. Day duty nurses were allocated 2 hours off per day, usually spent attending lectures and ½ hour each for lunch and supper.

Night Duty (7:00pm – 7:00am)

Night duty nurses received ½ hour off for dinner. They were expected to attend day lectures. When switching from day to night duty, nurses worked until noon and then reported for duty at 7pm.

 Each student nurse got a ½ week day off and 5 hours on Sunday. In 1944 the 12 hour shift changed to 8 hour shifts, 6 days per week. In 1958 the work week was changed to 44 hours per week and to 40 hours per week in 1961

Nurse conduct reporting form (RG 946.03.03.04)

In 1923 the Ontario Government registered The Wellesley School of Nursing, making its graduates eligible for Registered Nursing qualification. There were 3 major changes the school’s curriculum. In 1942 theory and practice were correlated; in 1956 the 3 year course was split into a 2 year academic program with a 1 year internship; and in the 1970s the course was cut back to 2 years total schooling and internship – aligning it with the Colleges who offered Nursing programs. 

Wellesley Hospital School of Nursing open house poster, 1972 (RG 946.03.13.02)

The Evolution of the Uniform (1912-1973)

The first uniforms worn by student nurses at The Wellesley consisted of a long sleeved and long skirted blue and white striped cotton dress with a detachable clerical style collar (starched upright collar), detachable long cuffs, a bib and an apron. The cap had a drawstring back (this eventually changed to a button closure). The uniform was accompanied by black stockings and black boots or shoes. The collar switched to the Eton style (fold-over collar with front closure) in the early 1920’s and the length of the dresses would slowly shorten over time. 

Student nurse Frances Clarke, class of 1919 (RG 946.03.01.08.01)

The first major change to The Wellesley’s student uniform occurred in 1941 when a short-sleeved option was introduced. The uniform changed again with the amalgamation of The Wellesley with Toronto General Hospital (TGH) in 1948, switching from the traditional blue and white striped cotton to a plain white dress. They also switched to the TGH cap and wore the detachable collar, cuffs, and bib. The uniform was accompanied by white stockings and shoes. Capes at this time also changed – switching from a blue lining to a red lining. 

Student uniform worn during training at Wellesley Division – Toronto General Hospital (1948-1959). Cape (1953-1956) from same period (RG 946.03.05.01.06); RG 946.03.05.01.10)

In 1960 after The Wellesley was an independent hospital again the student nurses voted to return to wearing the blue and white striped dresses. A new Wellesley style cap was designed to accompany the uniform. They were still wearing the detachable Eton style collar, cuffs, and bib. The uniform was accompanied by white stockings and shoes. In second year, a Wellesley badge was added to the left sleeve of the uniforms and in third year students would wear year pins on their collars. The students requested permission to wear short sleeved white dresses for their third or intern year. They were granted permission to do so in 1964.

Year pin, Class of 1935 (RG 946.03.04.02.03)
Members of the Wellesley Alumnae Association wearing uniforms From 1912, 1938, and 1962 (RG 946.03.01.08.08)

The final student uniform Wellesley students wore was very different from its predecessors. Introduced in 1970 – the uniform was one piece with no detachable collar, cuffs, or bib. It had a mandarin collar and zipper closure. The skirt was also much shorter than previous uniforms. First and Second year students continued to wear the blue and white striped version, with intern year students wearing an all white version. The uniform was accompanied by the Wellesley cap, white stockings and shoes. A male version of the student uniform, white jacket and pants, was introduced the same year along with the introduction of a pants and jacket option for all nurses on staff at the Hospital. 

Convocation at the Wellesley Hospital School of Nursing (1915-1974)

Class of 1933 graduation ceremony on the hospital grounds (RG 946.03.04.01.17.01)

The first graduation ceremony for the Wellesley Hospital School of Nursing was held in the Fall of 1915. The ceremonies would move back and forth between fall and spring, with one class graduating per year with the exception of 1940, 1941, 1943, 1944, and 1972 when there were 2 graduating classes – one in spring and one in fall. The first ceremony and the following reception were held on the grounds of the hospital. Ceremonies would continue to be held on the grounds until 1947.

Class of 1954 graduation ceremony at Sherbourne Street Methodist Church (Later St. Luke’s United Church). Graduates are wearing red rose corsages that were a tradition of Toronto General Hospital Nursing School (RG 946.03.04.01.36.02)

Starting in 1948, the ceremonies were held at Sherbourne, later St. Luke’s United Church located at 353 Sherbourne Street and in 1962 the ceremonies moved to St. Paul’s Anglican Church at 227 Bloor Street East. The graduates would walk from Wellesley Hospital to the ceremony and in the event of rain the graduates were ferried to the church by TTC bus. The after ceremony receptions remained on the grounds of the hospital. In 1964 the demolition of the old hospital and construction of a new 9 story hospital addition necessitated the move of the reception to Branksome Hall, the all girls school located at 10 Elm Avenue. The reception returned to the hospital grounds in 1968 and would remain there until 1974. 

Class of 1972A entering St. Paul’s Anglican Church Photographer: Roy Nicholls (RG 946.03.04.01.54.09)

Graduation involved many different traditions for the nursing students. A mother daughter tea was hosted by the Wellesley Hospital School of Nursing Alumnae Association. The morning of graduation the 2nd year students would serve the graduating nurses breakfast in the cafeteria.

Class of 1925 graduation breakfast (RG 946.03.04.01.09.01)

The nursing graduates would also walk through the halls of the hospital singing. The graduation pin was presented to each nurse at the graduation ceremony. The Wellesley pin remained the same between 1915-1974, each one personalized on the back with the name and graduating class of each person.

Plastic replica of corsage given to graduates. White gardenia surrounded by blue cornflowers and stephanotis (RG 946.03.05.06)

You can continue your journey through this nursing history by continuing on to the 2nd blog (https://library.torontomu.ca/asc/2024/06/from-hospital-hallways-to-campus-classrooms-the-50th-anniversary-of-amalgamation-part-2/) where we look at The Wellesley Hospital School of Nursing Alumnae Association, the Ryerson School of Nursing (1964-2007), Amalgamation and the end of hospital schools of nursing, the last graduation(s), and the Daphne Cockwell School of Nursing (2008-2024).

A View of Old Toronto – using archival objects as a focus for your research

The idea for this blog started in the summer of 2022 when I was brainstorming ideas for interesting ways to showcase our collections. I started looking through the Bass Stereographic Photography Collection and was intrigued by these three cards because I wasn’t familiar with them or where they might be located. Originally intending the blog to be a simple show and tell of interesting images around Toronto, it quickly evolved into a more in-depth project using the stereographs as the starting point for my search – a kind of showcase of how archival and special collections materials can be used to spark new ideas or enhance existing research projects.

Utilizing both online resources, and books from the TMU library collections – I was able to not only pinpoint the locations of the subjects in the photographs, but the history of the sites as well. There is a full bibliography available at the end of the blog.

Munro Park

Group of people wading in water on a Munro Beach
Children enjoying the waterfront in Munro Park, Toronto. 2018.09.04.01.03

In 1847 former Toronto Mayor and business man George Monro (1797-1878) purchased 60.5 acres of Lot 1 Concession 1 in Toronto. In present day terms the property, called Painted Post Farm, was bordered by the lake in the south, Scarborough Road in the west, Kingston Road in the north and Victoria Park in the East.

The properties to the east and west of Painted Post Farm were slowly being developed into summer resort and recreation areas and in 1896 Monro’s family granted a 10 year lease to the Toronto Railway Company (TRC) for a portion of their property. The section, which consisted of the bottom portion south of Queen Street East down to the lake, was leased by the TRC for the purpose building an amusement park which would be serviced by their electric trolley cars. At the time of the lease their tracks, which ran along Queen Street East, stopped at Balsam Avenue (3 streets east of the Monro property). In 1896 Munro Park (it is unclear when the spelling changed from Monro to Munro) was initially opened as a picnic area, with 50 benches and 100 seats, A large 1300 square metre dance hall, a bandstand, and some rides – carousel, swings – were added in the first season and in 1897 a mineral well was opened. By 1898 the street car tracks were run in a loop to the park and a ferris wheel was constructed. In 1899 a water carousel, Lundy’s Ostrich Farm, and two 90 metre boardwalks leading to the entrance of the dance hall were added. More sidewalks were created and the size of the performance stage was increased, with seating for 5000. The TRC began booking performers including acrobats, animal acts, comedians, magicians, musical performers, vaudeville and minstrel shows. They also added a motion picture venue in 1900.

Photograph of people standing around a grassy park with a ferris wheel in the background.
Munro Park, 1900
Courtesy of the Baldwin Collection of Canadiana, Toronto Public Library

In 1906 the lease with the TRC was not renewed and all the buildings were removed from the property. The following year Scarboro Beach Park, just a few blocks from Munro Park, opened and it was purchased by the TRC in 1912. In the 1920’s the TRC became one of the two companies, along with Toronto Civic Railway, that became the Toronto Transit Commission (TTC). The Monro property and Munro park were later subdivided for residential development and nothing of the old park exists. A street, Munro Park Avenue, runs through the centre of the old park property and the shoreline is now part of Silver Birch Beach.

Rosehill Reservoir

Flower bed at Rosehill Reservoir park
Sundial garden, north east entrance to Rose Hill Reservoir park, circa 1900. 2018.09.04.07.37

Reservoir Park, located in Toronto’s Deer Park neighbourhood, opened in 1874. The land it sits on is one of the city’s oldest public recreational spaces. But the area has a much older pre-colonial history. The area, called “Mishkodae” or prairie/meadow in Anishinaabemowin, was used for hunting by the Indigenous peoples. The lands open savannah like environment attracted the deer to feed. The area was also rich in plants that were harvested for use in medicines.

Two story home surrounded by trees
Rose Hill, built by Walter Rose in 1836. Photograph courtesy of the Toronto Public Library – Baldwin Collection of Canadiana

The reservoir and surrounding lands were part of two 200 acre lots that fronted on to Yonge Street between Summerhill and St. Clair Avenues. Lot 16 was purchased by Walter Rose who constructed a house, called Rose Hill, in 1836. The neighbouring property, lot 17, was purchased by Charles Thompson and a house “Summerhill” was constructed on the property in 1842. In 1853 Thompson developed some of his property into an amusement park with swings, landscaped gardens, and paths leading down into the Ravine. The park was referred to as Thompson’s Park, but he changed the name to Summer Hill Spring Park and Pleasure Grounds.

Section of larger map showing water reservoir.
Atlas of the City of Toronto and Vicinity, March 1890, revised September 1903. Library and Archives Canada.

In 1865 Walter Rose died and his property was subdivided and sold. Some of the property was purchased by Joseph Jackes and Richard Dunbar. Thompsons property was sold to Larratt Smith in 1866. In the early 1870’s the city hired consultants E. S. Chesborough and T. C. Keefer to design a waterworks system. They recommended a site north of the city for the construction of a reservoir. In 1872 the city purchased sections of property from Jackes, Dunbar, and Smith for the reservoir. Smith’s sale was contingent upon the city’s maintaining his section of property as the parkland it already was. The reservoir itself would be constructed on the Rose Hill property. In October of 1873 the construction contract was awarded to R. Mitchell and Co. and construction was completed in December of 1874 – named the Rose Hill Reservoir for the property it sat upon. The reservoir could hold 126 million litres of water and was connected to the John Street pumping station 8 kilometres away.

Chain link fence with barbed wire along top. Trees and a roadway on the other side.
Rosehill Reservoir cleaning and war protection 4 November 1942. Item 2014, Subseries 72, Series 372. Fonds 200 Former City of Toronto fonds. City of Toronto Archives.

After its construction Reservoir park was a popular attraction with its access to the Vale of Avoca/Yellow Creek Ravine. The reservoir, considered the community’s lake, was closed to the public during World War I to protect the water supply. This was done again for World War II – with a fence being erected in 1940. After the war was over the fence was left in place to help protect against water contamination. In 1949 the city began considering covering the site because of the pollution from birds, dogs, and people. Fish were found to be swimming in the reservoir at one point.  In 1960 the Municipality of Metropolitan Toronto commissioned consulting engineers Gore & Storrie Ltd to plan for an expansion and covering of the reservoir to much protest of the local community who didn’t want to lose their lake. The renovation project (1964-1966) cost $3.4 million dollars and increased the reservoir to 270 million litres. A water fountain, reflecting pools, waterfall and other water features were added to the new landscape to make up for the loss of the lake.

Reservoir Park became part of the larger present day David Balfour Park whose entrance is located at 75 Rosehill avenue and is now a 20.5 hectare park. A major renovation was completed in 2022 with work on both the reservoir and its surrounding park. Accessible, multiple use trails, new lighting, and an expanded community garden were added.

Government House

Stereographic card showing front of Government House, looking east, with pathways and gardens
Government House looking east towards St. Andrew’s Church (present day King and Simcoe Sts.) 2018.09.04.07.37
Interior view of Government House greenhouse showing walkway and plants on either side
Interior of greenhouse located on west side of Government House. 2018.09.04.07.37

Government House was the name for the official residence of the Lieutenant-Governor of Upper Canada and Ontario – a tradition which ended in 1937 with the closing of the final residence Chorley Park. Between 1792-1937 there were 9 homes used by the Lieutenant-Governor, none of which are still in existence today.

The Government House featured in these stereocards was the 7th home – is known as Old Government House. Located on property at King and Simcoe Sts (where Roy Thompson Hall and Metro Hall currently stand) the house was designed by architect Henry Langley of Gundry and Langley and constructed by Grant & York of Peterborough. The three storey red brick and ohio cut stone home featured galvanized iron cornices and a mansard roof. The main entrance faced Simcoe Street and featured a covered carriage entrance featuring a 100 foot tower. The main building was three storeys above a basement level, with the kitchen wing only 2 storeys. It also had a large glassed conservatory which opened off of the dining room.  The house completed construction in 1870, with the John Beverley Robinson, the 5th Lieutenant-Governor for Ontario, being the first to reside there.

View of Government House looking west with King Street and Simcoe Street visible.
Looking west along King Street with Government House in the foreground, 1912. Baldwin Collection of Canadiana – Toronto Public Library.

The house cost $102,000 dollars to build and was paid for with government money. Its construction was not without critics – many not seeing the need for a whole residence for the Lieutenant-Governor to live in, when offices and sitting rooms in the legislature could be provided at a much lower cost. An article in the January 6 1869 Globe newspaper pointed out “Very little is said in any quarter in defence of the lavish expenditure being made upon the residence of the Lieutenant-Governor of Ontario…the prospect is that the Governor’s residence in Toronto will be, all circumstances considered, more expensive than Rideau Hall at Ottawa.”  The article continues on to discuss the considerably less amount of funds being spent on hospitals.

In 1910 the area where Old Government House was located was becoming increasingly commercial and industrial. The Canadian Pacific Railway (C. P. R.) began purchasing lands adjacent to the house. It was felt that a new residence was needed and property in north Rosedale was purchased. In the April 18, 1910 edition of the Toronto Star the Ontario Government put a legal notice:  “Tenders for Government House property…up the first day of June 1910 for the purchase of property known as Government House property situate at south-west corner of King and Simcoe Sts…containing 6.19 acres…the buildings on the said property consist of a three storey residence, coach house, stables, gardener’s house, gate lodge, conservatories and greenhouses.”

The property was purchased for $800,000 by the C. P. R in June with the Lieutenant-Governor staying in residence while the new house was constructed. Unfortunately in March of 1912 the C. P. R. requested that the residence be vacated so they could begin developing parts of the property. A temporary residence was located for the Lieutenant Governor – Pendarves House (now Cumberland House) at College and St. George Sts. was rented until Chorley Park was completed in 1915. Lurie and Company wreckers purchased Government House, demolishing the building and selling off materials for use in other construction projects. Demolition began in June of 1912 and was completed in August of that same year. The C. P. R. used the space for a railway yard.

spliced 1884-1924 Goad's Fire Insurance Plans
Goad’s Map showing the intersection of King and Simcoe in 1884 on the left and 1924 on the right. https://www.toronto.ca/ext/archives/goads_atlases/1884/g1884_pl0005.jpg https://www.toronto.ca/ext/archives/goads_atlases/1910_1923_v1/g1910_1923_pl0005.jpg

The Bass Stereographic Photography Collection was donated to the University Archives and Special Collection by Gail Bass in 2018. The items were collected by the late Dr. Martin J. Bass and Gail Silverman Bass and included approximately 8000 stereograph cards – including 800 cards showing scenery, buildings, and landmarks from across Canada.

Bibliography

City of Toronto Archives “What’s Online” https://www.toronto.ca/city-government/accountability-operations-customer-service/access-city-information-or-records/city-of-toronto-archives/whats-online/

Toronto Public Library Digital Archive https://digitalarchive.tpl.ca/

Toronto Public Library Local History & Genealogy https://www.torontopubliclibrary.ca/history-genealogy/

Munro Park

Illustrated Historical Atlas of the County of York and the Township of West Gwillimbury and Town of Bradford in the County of Simcoe, Ont. Mika Silk Screening, 1972.

Morgan, Wayne. “Munro Park/East Beach City of Toronto Heritage Conservation District Study and Plan.” City of Toronto, 2008, www.toronto.ca/legdocs/mmis/2009/pb/bgrd/backgroundfile-18277.pdf.

“Munro Park (1896-1906).” The Coaster Enthusiasts of Canada – Closed Canadian Parks – Ontario – Scarborough, www.cec.chebucto.org/ClosPark/Munro.html. Accessed 6 July 2023.

“TO Built Walking Tour: The Beaches.” Architectural Conservancy Ontario, www.acotoronto.ca/res_files/TOBuilt-Walking-Tour_Beaches.pdf. Accessed 6 July 2023.

Rosehill Reservoir

“3 Places Where You Can Discover Toronto’s Indigenous History | CBC News.” CBC News, 21 June 2017, www.cbc.ca/news/canada/toronto/first-story-toronto-indigenous-history-1.4170290.

Atlas of the City of Toronto and Vicinity, March 1890, revised September 1903. Library and Archives Canada. http://central.bac-lac.gc.ca/.redirect?app=fonandcol&id=3836028&lang=eng

Brown+Storey Architects Inc. (2016, June 6). Rosehill Reservoir, Toronto Heritage Impact Assessment. https://www.brownandstorey.com/content/wp-content/uploads/2022/08/Rosehill-Reservoir-HIA-Draft-Final-20160606-reduced.pdf

Kinsella, Joan C. Historical Walking Tour of Deer Park. Toronto Public Library, 1996. https://digitalarchive.tpl.ca/objects/336600#

Robertson, J. Ross. “Robertson’s Landmarks of Toronto : A Collection of Historical Sketches of the Old Town of York, from 1792 until 1837, and of Toronto from 1834 to 1908.” Internet Archive, 1 Jan. 1970, archive.org/details/landmarkstoronto05robeuoft/page/n5/mode/2up.

“Rosehill Reservoir.” Lost Rivers Walks, www.lostrivers.ca/points/Rosehill_Reservoir.htm#:~:text=Built%20in%201873%2674%20with%20a,was%20constructed%20on%20its%20roof. Accessed 13 July 2023.

Rosehill Reservoir Rehabilitation (2022, November 9). City of Toronto. https://www.toronto.ca/community-people/get-involved/public-consultations/infrastructure-projects/rosehill/

Toronto Parks, Forestry and Recreation. “David A. Balfour Park.” City of Toronto, 6 Mar. 2017, www.toronto.ca/data/parks/prd/facilities/complex/143/index.html.

Government House

“Fine stained window lost to the province”. The Toronto Star. 25 June 1912. pp. 1 ProQuest, http://ezproxy.lib.torontomu.ca/login?url=https://www.proquest.com/historical-newspapers/page-1/docview/1432739672/se-2.

Forsyth, Grant, Mrs. “Memories of Government House: passing of a famous social shrine.” The Globe (1844-1936). April 27, 1912. pp. A2, A7 ProQuest, http://ezproxy.lib.torontomu.ca/login?url=https://www.proquest.com/historical-newspapers/memories-government-house-passing-famous-social/docview/1316227696/se-2.

“Gallery 1793-1815: Fort York Government House, 1800. Library & Archives Canada, C-16016.” Friends of Fort York , www.fortyork.ca/29-gallery/103-gallery-17931815.html#!1800_Fort_York_Government_House. Accessed 3 Aug. 2023. 

Gross, P. (1877). Illustrated Toronto, past and present. Canadiana. https://www.canadiana.ca/view/oocihm.24893/1 

“Lieutenant-Governor obliged to vacate: C. P. R. wants possession of a portion of old government house property.” The Globe (1844-1936), March 2, 1912, pp. 9. ProQuest, http://ezproxy.lib.torontomu.ca/login?url=https://www.proquest.com/historical-newspapers/lieutenant-governor-obliged-vacate/docview/1324238400/se-2.

Parks Canada Agency, Government of Canada. “Fort George National Historic Site – Navy Hall.” Parks Canada Agency, Government of Canada, 25 May 2023, www.pc.gc.ca/lhn-nhs/on/fortgeorge/. 

“Pendarves – Cumberland House.” Ontario Heritage Trust, heritagetrust.on.ca/pages/programs/provincial-plaque-program/provincial-plaque-background-papers/pendarves-cumberland-house. Accessed 10 Aug. 2023. 

“Provincial Plaque Background Papers: Pendarves-Cumberland House.” Ontario Heritage Trust, www.heritagetrust.on.ca/pages/programs/provincial-plaque-program/provincial-plaque-background-papers. Accessed 3 Aug. 2023. 

Previous government houses. Lieutenant Governor of Ontario. (2017, June 14). https://www.lgontario.ca/en/tours/previous-government-houses/

“Separate depots for the railways – rumour that it is the C. P. R. which is buying land in Wellington Street”. The Toronto Star. January 4, 1910. pp. 1 ProQuest, http://ezproxy.lib.torontomu.ca/login?url=https://www.proquest.com/historical-newspapers/page-1/docview/1435964760/se-2.

“Some bold biffs at Government”. The Toronto Star. February 9, 1910. pp. 7 ProQuest, http://ezproxy.lib.torontomu.ca/login?url=https://www.proquest.com/historical-newspapers/page-7/docview/1431991356/se-2.

“Tenders for Government House Property”. The Toronto Star. April 18,  1910. pp. 6 ProQuest, http://ezproxy.lib.torontomu.ca/login?url=https://www.proquest.com/historical-newspapers/page-6/docview/1436256066/se-2.

“The C. P. R. gets the Government House”. The Toronto Star. June 7, 1910. pp. 6 ProQuest, http://ezproxy.lib.torontomu.ca/login?url=https://www.proquest.com/historical-newspapers/page-6/docview/1436270790/se-2. 

“The Governor’s Residence”. The Globe (1844-1936). January  6, 1869. pp. 2 ProQuest, http://ezproxy.lib.torontomu.ca/login?url=https://www.proquest.com/historical-newspapers/governors-residence/docview/1518970923/se-2. 

“The Lieutenant Governor’s Residence”. The Globe (1844-1936). June 29, 1868. pp. 2 ProQuest, http://ezproxy.lib.torontomu.ca/login?url=https://www.proquest.com/historical-newspapers/lieutenant-governors-residence/docview/1518951434/se-2.

Paul Christie: A Life in the Theatre

By Toby Malone

A picture of Paul Christie, wearing a hat, and gazing into the camera with a smile.
Joseph Paul Christie
September 17, 1937 –  October 4, 2021

We can trace the origins of theatre programmes to the publicly-posted British playbills of the seventeenth century, which then evolved to personal souvenir printings in the late-nineteenth century. We defer to the Canadian spelling, although you might see the interchangeable American “programs,” or defaults to the brand name “Playbill,” but they all refer to the same tradition. These personal reference items are sometimes sold as lavish souvenirs but are most often given freely to theatre patrons as they take their seats, and can have multiple functions. Most practically, they are a guide to the on- and off-stage artists involved with that night’s entertainment, and might include notes from the director or guidance on casting changes. They are souvenirs, to be filed away or consulted, to be autographed or even framed. Toronto Star theatre critic Karen Fricker noted in an April 2023 article that these “bridges between the spectator and the theatrical experience” can even double as a diary of sorts. They are evidence of attendance, something to spark memory and reminiscence over the joy theatre can bring. Programmes can be as simple as a single photocopied sheet; they can be glossy, high-quality publications. Some feature photos, some barely feature the names of the artists. Some are as thick as a novella, some are no bigger than a napkin, while some are printed as an entire newspaper. For many, the physical programme is intrinsic to the theatre-going experience, and despite recent moves to replace physical programmes with digital, smartphone-centred equivalents, collectors cling tight to their physical mementoes.

The Playbill for West Side Story at the Winter Garden Theatre on October 14th, 1957.
2021.12.06.22: Paul saw the Broadway premiere of West Side Story at the Winter Garden Theatre on October 14th, 1957.

On October 21, 2021, Joseph Paul Christie—Paul to his many friends—passed away peacefully at home. Paul lived a long and joyous life, from his youth in Toronto to adventures in London as a bookseller and a distinguished career as a court reporter with the Ministry of the Ontario Attorney General, but one of his many defining traits was his love of the arts. For the last thirty years of his life, Paul served as a front of house team member (to over-simplify, we might say ‘usher’) at theatres around Toronto, most notably the Elgin and Winter Garden Theatres. From this insider’s position, Paul saw as much theatre as he could. His theatregoing career stretched back to boyhood, and lasted until he literally could not see any more plays, as the COVID-19 pandemic closed theatres in the spring of 2020. After Paul’s passing, the Toronto Metropolitan University Archives and Special Collections were honoured to receive a gift commemorating a life in the theatre. In dozens of carefully curated binders, we were presented every programme (and ticket stub, and clipping, and souvenir postcard) that Paul Christie collected over the course of sixty-eight years, filed chronologically and with extensive annotation to create the Paul Christie Theatre Program Collection reflecting a lifetime in the arts.

  • A theatre programme with a blue cover, signed the artist.
  • A blue program for a concert with a picture of Licia Albanese in the centre.
  • A blue program for a concert with a newspaper clipping picture of Licia Albanese and another person stapled to it.
  • A white card invitation with information about Lucia Albanese's testimonial dinner.
  • A clipping commemorating the testimonial dinner including a newspaper clipping.
  • A white program with a picture of Licia Albanese, for an event at the Eaton Auditorum.

As a former theatre professional and current contract member of the TMU libraries team, I was thrilled to have the opportunity to help with the description and cataloguing of the Paul Christie collection. This collection stretches from the sporadic souvenirs of a teenage boy, starting with an autographed 1952 programme for a piano concert by Lubka Kolessa at Etobicoke Community Concerts Association, one of two items that year. From these humble beginnings, it is clear Paul “caught the bug,” a theatregoing habit which peaked in 2012, in which he attended one hundred and fifty six performances, at a rate of three per week. A lover of opera, orchestral performance, theatre, and dance, Paul’s tastes were eclectic and adventurous. 

A blue program for the 40th anniversary season of Sheridan Theatre, featuring black doors in front of indistinct bodies. A white second page with information on the play 'Come From Away'.
2021.12.62.27 – A program for the original production of the soon-to-be-classic Canadian musical Come From Away by David Hein and Irene Sankoff, presented by Theatre Sheridan at the Panasonic Theatre on March 18, 2013.

His collection spans the rise and fall of many of Toronto’s most legendary theatres, including the Crest Theatre, Theatre in the Dell, Centre Stage, and Melody Fair. He attended the first ever production at the O’Keefe Centre—Camelot featuring Julie Andrews and Richard Burton in 1960—and remained a patron of that venue as it evolved from the Hummingbird Centre to the Sony Centre to Meridian Hall. Paul’s theatregoing spanned the birth of Theatre Passe Muraille, the Factory Theatre, Soulpepper, and Buddies in Bad Times. He was a champion of the Toronto Fringe, and often attended a dozen shows in a single week to support new and emerging artists, evidenced by the intricate and specific notes he jotted in the margins. Paul was there when TIFF was still called the Festival of Festivals. He had his finger on the pulse of the next big thing: he saw world premieres of Hosanna at Tarragon, Kim’s Convenience at the Fringe and Come From Away at Sheridan College, all destined to become Canadian classics.

Paul briefly dabbled in the theatre himself, and several of his souvenir programmes note his involvement as playwright and actor with the Dickens Fellowship of Toronto. He played Herbert Pocket in his own adaptation of Great Expectations entitled The Benefactor, and later took on A Midsummer Night’s Dream’s Bottom in the Shakespeare Society of Toronto’s 1960 Twelfth Night Revels cabaret. While it was clear that the theatre was a crucial element in Paul’s life, he eventually left the stage to the professionals, and settled into his greatest role: audience member.

  • A white program for a play called 'The Benefactor' at the Dickens Fellowship Players, featuring information about the production.
  • A telegram with a bright banner header and the message: "MR PAUL CHRISTIE "CAST" OF GREAT EXPECTATIONS= HARTHOUSE THEATRE UNIVERSITY OF TORONTO TOR= GOOD LUCK TO YOU BLANCH ERNIE AND EVERYONE= RITA AND ALAN=(
  • A white program for a play called 'The Benefactor' at the Dickens Fellowship Players, featuring information about the production.

Paul was a globetrotting theatregoer, with almost annual trips to New York City to enjoy what Broadway had to offer. He saw the original production of West Side Story three times (and kept three programmes as proof), saw Barbra Streisand’s breakout role in Funny Girl, and was there for the rise of the megamusicals in the 1980’s (Cats, Phantom, and Les Mis were regular repeat watches). Paul’s time in London afforded him opportunities to soak up British theatre, which included works at the Royal Shakespeare Company, Theatre Royal Covent Garden, and the Royal Opera. He also took advantage of the proximity to the continent, taking in opera in Germany and Moliere in Paris. He travelled regularly around Canada, with theatre programmes marking stops in Vancouver, Charlottetown, Halifax, and, most often, Stratford and Niagara-on-the-Lake. The Shaw and Stratford Festivals held a place of great joy in Paul’s artistic pursuits, and he was a loyal patron for nearly seven decades.

  • A white programme for a play called The Firstborn at the Royal Alexandra Theatre, with a caricature of the theatre on the front.
  • An advertising clipping in dark blue with images of Katherine Cornell and Anthony Quayle and information about the show.
  • A newspaper clipping from The Firstborn, featuring commentary on the play and a cast photograph.
  • A newspaper clipping from The Firstborn, featuring a cast photograph.
  • A newspaper clipping from The Firstborn, featuring commentary on the play and a cast photograph.

The remarkable thing about the Paul Christie Theatre Programme collection lies not in the rarity of the items or the fame of its collector. Rather, it is a snapshot of a part of one man’s life that brought such great joy, in attending performances across an extraordinary range of genres.  To read through the collection of more than four thousand theatre items is to get to know Paul. As an Elgin and Winter Garden employee, he witnessed many hundreds of performances of all types at both theatres, from touring musicals to high school rentals to the Dora Mavor Moore Awards. He attended Christmas Eve services each year at Roy Thomson Hall with the Metropolitan Community Church of Toronto, and carefully filed those programmes alongside the theatre ones. He was a proud ally of Toronto’s 2SLGBTQ+ community, and was an avid supporter of queer-themed plays, cabarets, and fundraisers, especially through the dark days of the 1980s AIDS epidemic and beyond. In this, it was clear just how much Paul valued community and the power of the arts. Paul loved to rub shoulders with celebrities, and sought autographs from his favourite performers (including Maureen Stapleton, Gwen Verdon, Martin Short, and Paul’s favourite, Grant Tilly), who often left him with autographs which made clear how much his support was appreciated. 

  • A cream-coloured programme from a performance by Judy Garland at Kleinhans Music Hall, featuring information about the performance.
  • A magazine clipping entitled 'That's Entertainment' with information about the Judy Garland performance and a picture.
  • A newspaper clipping of Judy Garland, singing and wearing a suit.
  • A white document with a cartoon image of Judy Garland inside a circle with the words 'The Judy Garland Memorial Bowling League'.

Most incredibly, Paul used his theatre programme collection as a journal of sorts: each item is a treasure trove of annotations, opinions (where he would note his favourites in each show, and occasionally even those he did not care for), and clippings. From the earliest days in the collection, Paul collected newspaper articles and advertisements for the plays he had seen, and built intricate scrapbook pages to memorialise each performance. Sometimes he even returned to past entries to claim an autograph on a long-ago object or to supplement with new details. For the shows that did not offer a programme, Paul would make his own, on a napkin, or the back of an envelope.

  • A pink programme from a cabaret performance called Ridgeway's Late Joys, and which features signatures from various members of the cast.
  • A white programme from a musical called 'Bounce' with red lettering, and a silver autograph by actor Gavin Creel. Also includes a post-it note with information relating to the autograph.
  • Letter from Paul to the chair of Ryerson Theatre School, with opinions on the production.

In his latter years, Paul’s collecting intensified, and it is clear that live performance was an overriding preoccupation, particularly with the advent of cheap, convenient screenings of live opera, ballet and theatre in movie theatres. Even these movie ticket stubs, for events which usually do not provide a programme, were carefully annotated. Often, Paul would attend up to three or four films a week to see performances from the Metropolitan Opera, National Theatre of Great Britain, and Stratford Festival. Later entries even included developed photographs of the marquees and posters outside of theatres and cinemas, carefully placed to preserve a moment in time.

  • A hand-written note listing the cast members of a play.
  • A hand-written note listing the cast members of a play.
  • A black and white program with a signature in blue ink and a post-it note.

The final binders of Paul’s collection are heartbreaking in retrospect, because we know the world is about to change. In the first two months of 2020, Paul attended 21 performances, finishing with the National Ballet of Canada’s Romeo and Juliet at the Four Seasons Centre on March 12, 2020. After a lifetime of theatregoing, however, the COVID-19 pandemic abruptly shuttered the theatres and all at once closed the book on a lifetime in the audience. It is telling that Paul was so prolific until there were no more shows to see, and it must have been a devastating blow to lose this outlet. 

When Paul passed away in October 2021, his love of the theatre proved central to how he was remembered by his many friends and family. We are honoured to preserve his lifetime in the theatre at the TMU Archives and Special Collections. After several months cataloguing this incredible collection, I feel as though I knew him.

  • A picture of two dancers who portray Romeo and Juliet in front of the ballet's title, against a purple gradient background.
  • A ticket stub and two clippings from Romeo and Juliet.

A New Name!

On Tuesday, April 26, 2022, the official announcement was made.  We are now Toronto Metropolitan University. This marks the 5th name our school has had since its opening in 1948. Let’s look back at these names and how they reflect the evolution of our University and its community.

1948-1963Ryerson Institute of Technology (RIT)

In 1961, founding principal, Howard Kerr, wrote that he chose the name ‘Ryerson’ for the new post-secondary school, because the Egerton Ryerson statue stood on-site (since 1889).  Furthermore, the site, known as St. James Square, was a centre of education starting with the construction of the Normal School building in 1852 (Normal School is an older name for a teachers’ college.)

1963-1993Ryerson Polytechnical Institute (RPI)

Prior to 1963, the Government of Ontario had the final word on the school’s policies, senior administrative and faculty hirings, and building maintenance.  The Institute was granted independence in April 1963 with its own Board of Governors and a new name.  A committee proposed a change to adopt the British terminology for a school offering multiple technical and applied arts programs, a polytechnical and, thus, we became the Ryerson Polytechnical Institute.

1993-2002Ryerson Polytechnic University (RPU)

Despite the 1990s wide economic slump and government cost cutting, President Terry Grier and the Board of Governors increased the number of degrees offered and began to change the designation of degrees. For example, engineering students graduated as full accredited engineers rather than as technicians. Grier worked tirelessly for University status. It was granted with a new name, Ryerson Polytechnic University in 1993.

2002-2022Ryerson University (RU)

University status brought with it improved funding for research and for graduate programs.  The number of graduate programs rose and more opportunities opened for faculty to conduct advanced research.  Ryerson was gaining status and with it came a new name approved by the provincial government in June 2002 – Ryerson University.

2022 and BeyondToronto Metropolitan University (TMU)

In the Fall of 2020 President Mohamed Lachemi established the Mash Koh Wee Kah Pooh Win (Standing Strong) Task Force to gain a comprehensive understanding of both Egerton Ryerson’s life and legacy and the role of commemoration in our community.

Over the course of nine months, the Task Force oversaw an in-depth historical research project, a 2-month community engagement period and learned from Traditional Knowledge Keepers and various subject matter experts about the life and legacy of Egerton Ryerson, statues as forms of public art and memorialization, the history of colonization, Traditional Knowledge of Indigenous Peoples and place-making, the naming of public spaces, the Indian Residential School System, the public education system, segregated and separate schooling, Truth and Reconciliation, and the uses of commemoration. 

Mash Koh Wee Kah Pooh Win (Standing Strong) Task Force / website https://www.ryerson.ca/standing-strong-task-force/about/

The Task Force produced a final report with 22 recommendations addressing:

  • Principles of Commemoration at the University
  • Commemoration of Egerton Ryerson
  • Responsibility to Educate
  • Advancement and Support of Indigenous and Black Scholarship
  • Use of Public Space
  • Acknowledgement of the Land
  • Fulfillment of Previous Commitments
  • Implementation of the recommendations

The University’s Board of Governors accepted the implementation of the 22 recommendations including #4 “The University rename the Institution in a process that engages with community members and University stakeholders”.

In September of 2021 an Advisory Committee on University Renaming was appointed. The University Renaming Advisory Committee held community consultation between November and December 2021 in which they had over 23 000 respondents with 2200 unique name suggestions. On March 1, 2022 the Committee issued an update on the process and on April 26 President Lachemi announced the new name via Ryerson Today (now Toronto Metropolitan Today). You can learn more about the process, the name change, and the University’s action plan regarding the adaptation of the other 21 recommendations on the Next Chapter website

  • TMU social Media logo

References

  • RG 12.192.001.001, excerpt taken from A History of Ryerson, Howard H. Kerr, 1961.
  • from Cradle to Computer, Ronald Stagg, 1984.
  • Serving Society’s Needs, Ronald Stagg, 1998.
  • A Brief History of Toronto Metropolitan University, Claude Doucet, 2007.
  • Mash Koh Wee Kah Pooh Win (Standing Strong) Task Force https://www.ryerson.ca/standing-strong-task-force/

Archives A to Z 2022 Week 1

We’re joining the Archives of Ontario in their #ArchivesAtoZ month-long campaign. The aim is to increase the public’s awareness of archives and their collections. We’ll be sharing four blog posts throughout the month showcasing items from our holdings and demystifying archival concepts related to each letter of the alphabet.

  • April 4: A to F
  • April 11: G to M
  • April 18: N to S
  • April 25: T to Z

Artifacts (oversized!)

Archives and Special Collections often go beyond papers, books, and photographs in their collections. Many will have objects and artifacts as well. Our Archives and Special Collections is home to a robust collection of artifacts in all shapes and sizes, including many oversized and heavy ones that make storage tricky. Here are a few examples from the collections. (tap on the photographs to learn more about the objects)

Books

Our collection contains a large variety of published materials including books and journals. The Archives previously collected the published works of faculty. Special Collections houses rare books with a photographic focus, children’s books and History of Toronto books. They also have a large collection of photography related journals. Unlike the rest of the library – these books are not out on open shelving for viewing – they need to be pulled by Archives and Special Collections staff, and they are not available to take home. The books can be searched using the library catalogue and narrowing the location to either Archives or Special Collections

books on shelves
Books and catalogues on the shelves in Archives and Special Collections.

Campus Maps

Campus maps are an important part of our collection. They show the evolution and growth of the campus starting with its creation in 1948. They highlight not just the growth of the campus, but also show movement within the campus by the programs and schools that make up the University. For example the School of Architecture is currently located at 325 Church Street. But in the 1960s it was located at 44 Gerrard Street (former School of Performance building), in the early 1970’s it was housed at in the City Hall annex building at 465 Bay Street and after a fire in that building Architecture was housed at 720 King St. (near Bathurst).

Doozers

The Doozers, a favourite of the Archives and Special Collections staff, were part of the Jim Henson Television show “Fraggle Rock”. These tiny creatures were forever building structures only to have them eaten by the Fraggles. The photograph and the book are part of the Robert Hackborn Fonds. This collection contains extensive documentation of the creative processes for television show including on-set images, sketches of set designs and correspondence. Robert Hackborn was a Canadian set designer and art director. He started working at the CBC in 1955 as a scenic paint artist and later progressed to the Set Design Department where he would produce versatile special visual effects incorporated in years of Canadian film and television programming. (Tap on the photographs to learn more about the records)

Exhibition publications

Special Collections has a selection of pamphlets, press releases and publications for exhibitions in museums, galleries, festivals and universities across Canada, the United States and abroad. The collections is continuously growing, but the original acquisition was donated by Alison Nordström, the Curator of Photographs at George Eastman House International Museum of Photography and Film, who collected the material between 1986 and 2011.

Frank Sommers interviews

The Frank G. Sommers Fonds contains text and audio records of interviews he conducted with European and Canadian film directors Marianne Ahrne, Walerian Browczyk, Bert Haanstra, Claude Jutra, Ettore Scola, and Alain Tanner between 1978 and 1979. The goals of the interviews were to review converging trends in international cinema through director’s perspectives and gain a deeper understanding of the works.

Promotional material accompanying the Ettore Scola interview (2018.019.05)

Next week we’ll highlight items and archival concepts for the letters G to M!

This Week in University History – Space Shuttle Discovery Mission Patch presentation

March 24, 2022 will mark the 30th anniversary of Astronaut and Photographer Roberta Bondar’s visit to Ryerson to present then President Terry Grier with space mission patches – including one bearing the school’s coat of arms, that had been to space aboard the Space Shuttle Discovery.

framed space shuttle discovery mission patches and Ryerson Crest patch
Space Shuttle Discovery mission patches and Ryerson crest patch (RG 12.85)

Why would these be presented to our school? Because Roberta Bondar had been studying and researching the effect of blood flow under weightless conditions and its effect on space adaptation (dizziness, nausea etc) with the help of Ryerson’s Centre for Advanced Technology Education (CATE). Under contract with the Canadian Space Agency, researchers at CATE were working on experiment methodology, modeling, evaluation, data collection and analysis. You can read more about relationship in the following articles from the Forum Newsletter:

Winter in the Collections

Love it or hate it – snow in the winter is inevitable in most of Canada. Going along with this theme – let’s take a look at some images and items from the collections showcasing winter and snow. So put on a warm sweater and pour yourself a mug of something hot and take a look.

This beautiful scene is a painting done on plexiglass, which was then mounted in a wooden frame. We have back lit it for this image to give you an idea of what they might have done when using it for filming. It is from the Robert Hackborn collection. Robert Hackborn had a long and important career in the design and production of sets and special visual effects for television – working on shows like Mr. Roger’s Neighbourhood, Mr. Dressup and Fraggle Rock.

“A Christmas Fantasy”
2012.005.05.12

These five images below of the University Campus in winter (RG 395.121.01.216) were taken by then staff photograph Dave Upham. The photographs taken between 1992-1999 were used in campus publications like the now defunct Forum newsletter. They are part of a larger collection of images used by the University for promotional purposes and news stories.

The next two images are part of the Lorne Shields Historical Photograph collection. The collection consists studio portraits, cabinet cards, photograph albums, dageurreotypes, tin types and other photographic formats donated to Special Collections in 2008 by Lorne Shields.

Portrait of a child in winter coat with snowshoes (2008.001.1408)
Notman Winter Scenes (2008.001.919)

For many years the University had a winter carnival sponsored by the Students’ Union. It had many different activities such as ice carving, a broom ball tournament on Lake Devo, various food eating contests, concerts, pub nights, and skiing day trips.

Calendar of Events from the 1979 Winter Carnival (RG 79.009)
“Stopped Cold? – Broomball games on the ice rink on Devonian Square were part of the winter festival activities in January” Forum Newsletter January 31, 1992 (RG 76.14.438)

Lastly lets take a look at some Kodak advertising around winter and Christmas. The Kodak Canada collection contains records and artifacts from the Kodak Heights manufacturing facility in Toronto, as well as the historical collection belonging to the Kodak Heritage Collection Museum.

“Kodak Welcomes Winter” (2005.001.03.2.001.01.162), Kodak Canada Ad Ledger, 1922-1923
“For so many lucky ones…this is sure to be a Ciné-Kodak Christmas” (2005.001.03.2.001.07.172), Kodak Canada Ad Ledger 1936-1937
“Give a Kodak” (2005.001.03.2.001.07.102), Kodak Canada Ad Ledger 1936-1937

COVID-19 Community Archive Contest Winners

Thank you all for participating in our COVID-19 Community Archive submission contest!

The COVID-19 Community Archive seeks to preserve and make accessible content that was captured and created by students, faculty, staff and alumni about their lived experiences during the pandemic. Our goal in developing this digital portal is to serve as a repository for those of us who may be documenting this historic moment.

We received incredible submissions throughout the summer contest. Here are the three randomly selected winning submissions:

Although the contest is closed, you can still submit your work to the University’s COVID-19 Digital Community Archive Project by using our online submission form. We accept all types of works: photographs, audiovisual recordings, artworks and written content reflecting your experience of the COVID-19 pandemic. Join us in this collaborative project to document these unprecedent times!

Spring on Campus

Spring came in on March 20 this year and on campus this means the budding of the trees and the blooming of the wonderful smelling trees in the Kerr Hall Quad.

Many of us won’t get the chance to take in the campus green spaces in person this Spring, so at Archives and Special Collections, we thought it would be nice to look back at Spring on campus from years past.