OCAD University

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OCAD University
OCAD University Logo.png
Logo of OCAD University
Motto Imagination is Everything
Established 1876
Type Public university
Endowment C$9,576,604[1]
Chancellor Catherine Delaney
President Sara Diamond
Academic staff 200[2]
Admin. staff 485
Students 6,072[3]
Undergraduates 4,882[3]
Postgraduates 100[3]
Location Toronto, Ontario, Canada
43°39′11″N 79°23′28.3″W / 43.65306°N 79.391194°W / 43.65306; -79.391194Coordinates: 43°39′11″N 79°23′28.3″W / 43.65306°N 79.391194°W / 43.65306; -79.391194
Campus Urban
Former names Ontario School of Art (1876–86)
Toronto Art School (1886–90)
Central Ontario School of Art and Industrial Design (1890–1912)
Ontario College of Art (1912–96)
Ontario College of Art & Design (1996–2010)
Affiliations AICAD, AUCC, CBIE, COU, IAU,
Website www.ocad.ca

OCAD University (/ˈkæd/ OH-kad), formerly the Ontario College of Art and Design, is a public university whose campus is located in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. The school is within the Grange Park neighbourhood, and adjacent to the Art Gallery of Ontario. The school is Canada's largest and oldest educational institution for art and design.[4] OCAD U offers courses through the Faculties of Art, Design, Liberal Arts and Sciences, and alternative programs. The enabling legislation is Ontario College of Art and Design University Act, 2002.[5]


File:Ontario School of Art between 1889 and 1900

The University's beginnings stretch back to the project of the Ontario Society of Artists whose objectives included the development of art education in Ontario. The first School of Art opened on October 30, 1876, funded by a government grant of $1,000.[6][7]


Inside a class in 1931.

In 1969–70, Roy Ascott radically challenged the pedagogy and curriculum structure of the College.[8]

In 2008, OCAD president Sara Diamond changed the pedagogy. She emphasised academics over studio time and required full-time instructors to hold an advanced degree. There was some controversy as two faculty resigned over the changes.[9]

Sharp Centre for Design[edit]

In 2004 work was completed on a new expansion. The Sharp Centre for Design, designed by architect Will Alsop, of Alsop Architects, in a joint venture with Toronto-based Robbie/Young + Wright Architects Inc.[10] It consists of a box four storeys off the ground supported by a series of multi-coloured pillars at different angles and is often described as a tabletop.[11] The $42.5 million expansion and redevelopment has received numerous awards, including the first-ever Royal Institute of British Architects Worldwide Award, the award of excellence in the "Building in Context" category at the Toronto Architecture and Urban Design Awards, and was deemed the most outstanding technical project overall in the 2005 Canadian Consulting Engineering Awards.

Name changes[edit]

OCAD University has had a number of names over time.[12][13]

  • Ontario School of Art, 1876–86 founded by the Ontario Society of Artists to provide professional training in art.[14]
Aerial view of Grange Park, with OCADU visible to the right, and the Art Gallery of Ontario in the background.
Looking north on McCaul at OCAD
Looking north along McCaul Street, with the Ontario College of Art & Design in the distance. Toronto, Ontario, Canada
View from Grange Park
  • Toronto Art School, 1886–90
  • Central Ontario School of Art and Industrial Design, 1890–1912
  • Ontario College of Art (OCA), 1912–96
  • Ontario College of Art and Design (OCAD), 1996–2010
  • OCAD University, 2010–present

Academic degrees[edit]

The school combines a studio-based education with liberal studies, which is recognised with a Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA), a Bachelor of Design (BDes), an Interdisciplinary Master's in Art Media and Design (MA, MFA or MDes), a Master of Fine Arts in Criticism and Curatorial Practice (MFA), a Master of Design in Strategic Foresight and Innovation (MDes), an Executive Master of Design in Advertising (EMDes), a Master of Design in Inclusive Design (MDes), and a Graduate Program in Digital Futures (Graduate Diploma and MA, MDes, MFA).


The OCAD campus consists of a north campus and a south campus.[15] The north campus includes the Main Building and Sharp Centre for Design, the adjacent Butterfield Park, the Annex Building, the Rosalie Sharp Pavilion, the Student Centre, the Inclusive Design Institute, and the Continuing Education Centre.[16] The south campus consists of buildings that are physically situated on Richmond Street West, plus the proposed Mirvish-Gehry development further south on King Street.[17][18]

Buildings at OCAD are referred to by their street addresses.[19] Some buildings are also assigned a building number that is encoded as the first digit in 4-digit room numbers.[16]


A number of galleries or exhibition spaces exist both on-campus and off-campus. A faculty gallery is planned as part of the proposed Mirvish-Gehry development.[17] The existing major exhibition spaces are:

  • Onsite [at] OCAD U. Created in 2007 as the OCAD Professional Gallery before taking on its current name in 2010, Onsite [at] OCAD U is features works by national and international professional artists and designers.[20]
  • Student Gallery. The Student Gallery curates and features works submitted by current OCAD students and recent alumni.[21] The Student Gallery used to be located at 285 Dundas St. West and 76 McCaul Street. It was created in the early 1970s[22][23]
  • Graduate Gallery. The Graduate Gallery is a gallery for graduate students and research faculty.[24][25]
  • Xpace. The OCAD Student Union runs a gallery called the Xpace Cultural Centre, located off-campus. (Hence Xpace, which stands for “external space.”) It aims to provide students and emerging artists a space to exhibit their work in a professional gallery setting, and to better respond to "contemporary issues in theory and aesthetics" in the community through the use of shorter time frames in its programming.[26][27]
  • Open Gallery. The Open Gallery is an exhibition space inside the Inclusive Design Institute building at 49 McCaul Street.[28] [29]


As a research university, OCAD also conducts art and design research via the Digital Media Research + Innovation Institute (DMRII) which focuses on creative applied research in digital expression, digital immersion, digital experience and digital media industries. It consist of 19 research labs, including:

In addition to research centres within the school itself, OCAD also belongs to a number of research networks, including:

Centre for Innovation in Information Visualization and Data-Driven Design. The Centre for Innovation in Information Visualization and Data-Driven Design (CIV-DDD), led by York University,[35] is a 5-year research initiative launched in March 2010 to address “innovation and training in information and scientific visualization in Ontario.”[36][37] It consists of a team from York University, a team from OCAD University directed by Sara Diamond, a team from the University of Toronto, 14 industry partners, and a number of international collaborators.[34] It is funded by the Ontario Ministry of Research and Innovation.[38]

Inclusive Design Institute. The Inclusive Design Institute (IDI), directed by Jutta Treviranus,[39] is a regional research network for inclusive design founded in 2008[40] and officially launched on 24 May 2012,[41] with the aim to “address the challenge of designing our information and communication systems (ICT) so that they work for all potential users, including users with disabilities, varying language needs and diverse cultural preferences.”[39] It consists of eight core postsecondary partners (OCAD University, University of Toronto, Ryerson University, York University, University of Ontario Institute of Technology, Sheridan College, George Brown College and Seneca College) and over 100 collaborating organizations,[39] and is funded by the Canada Foundation for Innovation and the Ontario Ministry of Research and Innovation.[42][43][44]

Research by students, alumni, and faculty receives support for commercialization through its incubator program called the Imagination Catalyst, under the direction of the AVP Research and Graduate Studies and coordinated by the Digital Futures Implementation office. This incubator was established in August 2011 as the Digital Futures Accelerator and the Design Incubator.[34][45]

The MEIC convergence centre is the industry mobile incubator under the direction of the MEIC which is a not for profit association of mobile industry stakeholders and academia.[46]

Notable faculty members[edit]

Faculty and staff of OCAD University have included

Notable alumni[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "OCAD University Foundation". Ontario College of Art & Design University. Ernst & Young. 31 May 2011. Retrieved 10 December 2011. 
  2. ^ "Instructional Faculty and Class Size". OCAD University. Retrieved 10 December 2011. 
  3. ^ a b c "General Information". OCAD University. Retrieved 10 December 2011. 
  4. ^ "OCAD University". Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada. 2011. Retrieved 10 December 2011. 
  5. ^ Ontario College of Art and Design University Act, 2002, S.O. 2002, c. 8, Sched. E 2
  6. ^ "Early Purchases and the Foundation of Art Education". Archives of Ontario. Retrieved 16 September 2013. 
  7. ^ "Ontario Society of Artists: 100 Years 1872–1972". Art Gallery of Ontario. Retrieved 16 September 2013. 
  8. ^ Wolfe, Morris. OCA 1967–1972: Five Turbulent Years. Toronto: Grubstreet Books, 2002. ISBN 0-9689737-0-1
  9. ^ Post, National (2 February 2007). "Duelling visions: OCAD students are resisting new plans to make big changes". Canada.com. Retrieved 26 March 2012. 
  10. ^ Goldberger, Paul. "The Colorist: The Sky Line". The New Yorker. Retrieved 26 March 2012. 
  11. ^ "OCAD's 'Tabletop' comes out on top – Daily Commercial News". Dailycommercialnews.com. Retrieved 12 September 2010. 
  12. ^ Roshuowy, Kristin (27 April 2010). "OCAD graduates from college to university". Toronto: Toronto Star. Retrieved 12 September 2010. 
  13. ^ "Institutional Name Change Background". OCAD University. 2 March 2011. Retrieved 13 May 2011. 
  14. ^ Pound, Richard W. (2005). 'Fitzhenry and Whiteside Book of Canadian Facts and Dates'. Fitzhenry and Whiteside. 
  15. ^ "Visible Campus". Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario. June 2012. pp. 6, 7, 10. Retrieved 22 November 2012. 
  16. ^ a b "OCAD University Campus Map". OCAD University. September 2012. Retrieved 22 November 2012. 
  17. ^ a b "OCAD U part of proposed Mirvish-Gehry development". 3 October 2012. Retrieved 22 November 2012. 
  18. ^ "King Street Development to include OCAD U Public Learning Centre for Visual Art, Curatorial Studies and Art History". OCAD University. 1 October 2012. Retrieved 22 November 2012. 
  19. ^ "OCAD University Style Guide". OCAD University. December 2011. p. 18. Retrieved 22 November 2012. 
  20. ^ "About Onsite [at] OCADU, 230 Richmond Street West, Street Level". OCAD University. Retrieved 22 November 2012. 
  21. ^ "Student Gallery". Ocad.ca. Retrieved 13 September 2012. 
  22. ^ "Student Gallery". Ocad.ca. Retrieved 7 June 2011. 
  23. ^ "Xpace Cultural Center". OCAD Student Union. Retrieved 22 November 2012. 
  24. ^ "Xpace Cultural Centre". Xpace Cultural Centre. Retrieved 22 November 2012. 
  25. ^ "Xtension exhibition reimagines the digital future". Sketch 25 (1): 9. Summer 2013. Retrieved 12 September 2013. 
  26. ^ "Scotiabank Nuit Blanche: Exhibition Area B Independent Projects". City of Toronto. Retrieved 12 September 2013. 
  27. ^ "Ambient Experience Lab – About". OCAD University. Retrieved 20 November 2012. 
  28. ^ "Research". OCAD University. Retrieved 20 November 2012. 
  29. ^ "About the IDRC". Inclusive Design Research Centre. Retrieved 5 October 2012. 
  30. ^ "The Social Body Lab". OCAD University. Retrieved 20 November 2012. 
  31. ^ a b c "Digital Media Research + Innovation Institute (DMRII)". OCAD University. Retrieved 5 November 2012. 
  32. ^ Kostoff, Larissa, ed. (June 2010). "Measures of our Success". Sketch: The magazine of OCAD University (Toronto, Canada: OCAD University) (Spring/Summer 2010): 3. 
  33. ^ "CIV-DDD – About". OCAD University. Retrieved 5 November 2012. 
  34. ^ "OCAD University Annual Report 2009/2010". OCAD University. p. 23. Retrieved 5 November 2012. 
  35. ^ "York co-leads $11.5-milllion project on visualization tools". York University. Retrieved 5 November 2012. 
  36. ^ a b c "Inclusive Design Institute – About – Overview". Inclusive Design Institute. Retrieved 5 November 2012. 
  37. ^ Treviranus, Jutta. "New Directions". Inclusive Design Research Centre. Retrieved 4 November 2012. 
  38. ^ "OCAD University opens Inclusive Design Institute". Council of Ontario Universities. Retrieved 5 November 2012. 
  39. ^ "OCAD University welcomes the Inclusive Design Research Centre and the Inclusive Design Institute". Council of Ontario Universities. Retrieved 5 November 2012. 
  40. ^ "List of Funded Projects". Canada Foundation for Innovation. Retrieved 5 November 2012. 
  41. ^ "Ontario Research Fund Infrastructure Program". Ontario Ministry of Research and Innovation. p. 10. Retrieved 5 November 2012. 
  42. ^ "OCAD University launches Imagination Catalyst, led by entrepreneur Steve Billinger". OCAD University. Retrieved 5 November 2012. 
  43. ^ "MEIC – About". OCAD University. Retrieved 22 November 2012. 
  44. ^ "Little Mathletics: Myfanwy Ashmore Interview". Archived from the original on 25 April 2006. Retrieved 12 September 2010. 
  45. ^ Vaughan, R. M. (14 September 2003). "Spotlight: Jubal Brown: Mr. Misunderstood". Canadian Art. Retrieved 15 June 2012. 
  46. ^ "Paul Szep". spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk. Retrieved 12 September 2010. 
  47. ^ "Lea Vivot Sculptor and Bronze Sculptures". leavivot.com. Retrieved 12 September 2010. 
  48. ^ "Noreen Young". thehumm.com. Retrieved 12 September 2010. 

External links[edit]