University of Toronto Schools
|University of Toronto Schools (UTS)|
Velut arbor ita ramus
As the tree, so the branch
|371 Bloor Street West
|School type||Independent laboratory school|
|Established||September 12, 1910|
|Hours in school day||7:07|
|Houses||Althouse Gators, Cody Cougars, Crawford Knights, Lewis Vikings|
|Team name||UTS Blues|
|Affiliation||University of Toronto|
University of Toronto Schools (UTS) is an independent secondary day school affiliated with the University of Toronto in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. The school follows a specialized academic curriculum, and admission is determined by competitive examination. It is known as one of the most prestigious high schools in Canada. UTS is associated with two Nobel Prize Laureates.
University of Toronto Schools was founded in 1910 as a "practice school", also known as a laboratory school, for the University of Toronto's Faculty of Education. As originally conceived and reflected in its present name, UTS was intended to be a collection of at least two schools, one of which would enroll female students. The original plan was to recruit 200 teachers and 1200 students, but financial constraints limited the number of students to 375 boys.
The first headmaster of UTS' history was H. J. "Bull" Crawford, who also taught Classics at the school. Crawford was responsible for most administrative tasks, which, until a secretary was hired in 1921, included signing admit slips. The school won the first ever Memorial Cup in 1919, as the best junior ice hockey team in the country. They defeated the Regina Patricias in two games, by scores of 14-3 and 15-5. The school was Eastern Canadian Champions, the same year, defeating the Montreal Melvilles 8-2 in a single-game playoff. Future NHL defenceman Dunc Munro played for this team. In 1925, Mike Rodden coached the UTS Rugby team to an undefeated season, culminating in the Canadian Interscholastic Championship.
In 1934, A.C. Lewis succeeded John Althouse to become the third headmaster. In 1944, W. B. "Brock" MacMurray, a 1924 graduate of the school, became the fourth headmaster; his 28-year term at UTS remains the longest in school history. In 1957, the House System was established, with three of four houses named after the school's first three headmasters - Crawford, Althouse, and Lewis. The fourth house, Cody, was named after a former president of the University of Toronto.
The 1960s were a "turbulent" decade in the history of UTS. Prior to the 1960s, the Ontario Ministry of Education required seniors to complete a number of matriculation exams in order to graduate. The student who scored highest in his or her exams province-wide would be awarded the Prince of Wales Scholarship; during the matriculation era, UTS students won thirteen Prince of Wales Scholarships.
Although matriculation exams would eventually be abolished in the 1960s, UTS students had been calling for change since the late 1930s in the form of valedictory addresses and protests. Addresses by Mark Czarnecki and Richard Reoch in 1963 and 1966, respectively, targeted the tendency for matriculations to reduce "a tangible desire for knowledge", producing instead "a mind that cannot think for itself". In 1967, Ian Morrison's valedictory address lambasted a number of teachers and administrators who had been responsible for rigidly holding UTS to its past. The speech was not published in The Twig the following year, but was still circulated among students. Discontent with the school's inability to reform climaxed in the "Protest for Nothing" in May 1969, which was led by Brian Blugerman, Michael Eccles, Paul Eprile and David Glennie. Unlike most protests, the placards that the protesters held were blank; when headmaster MacMurray asked for their demands, a student famously showed him a blank sheet of paper and stated, "This is a list of our demands." The protest was front page news in Toronto newspapers and was widely reported in the U.S. media, including the New York Times. It was the first (and perhaps only) time that UTS was the subject of such wide public attention.
At the turn of the decade, UTS developed a "New Program", which focused on completing subjects ("units") for graduation instead of matriculations. The administration also agreed to allow students to complete their secondary school requirements in 4 years instead of 5, an advantage that was enjoyed until the 2003 double cohort. The Executive Council was formed in 1968 to provide a liaison between students and staff. Some of the Executive Council's first recommendations were implemented in 1969, including making Latin optional after grade 11 and introducing non-numerical grades for Arts and Music courses. In addition to academics, certain aspects of the school's extracurricular traditions were gradually being phased out. In 1966, participation in the Cadet Corps, which had been a bastion of UTS tradition, became optional; eventually, the Corps was discontinued. Change was also evident in the school's teaching staff: in the 1960s alone, 35 new teachers were hired, compared to only 15 hirings during the 1950s.
Donald Gutteridge had originally arrived in 1962 at MacMurray's request, and had taught Grade 13 English. In 1972, Gutteridge succeeded MacMurray. Although he was the school's fifth headmaster, he was the first to call himself a "principal". During his tenure as the Premier of Ontario, Bill Davis came under fire for publicly funding UTS, which Liberal education critic Tom Reed called an "elitist" institution. Under pressure from the provincial government and the University of Toronto, a decision was made to admit girls into the school. Two proposals were tabled: the first involved expanding the school by maintaining the same number of incoming boys, and the second involved maintaining the class size by reducing the number of incoming boys. On January 18, 1973, the University of Toronto approved the second proposal, paving the way for a co-educational UTS the following academic year. The first two co-educational cohorts totalled 70 students; each cohort was divided into two classes of 35 students. In spite of initial concerns about the watered-down quality of UTS boys athletics, the junior girls basketball team won a city title in 1978. In order to assist families in financial need, the UTS Endowment Fund was set up in 1980; in 1989, approximately $50,000 was distributed to students in need.
In April 1993, the New Democratic government of Ontario announced the withdrawal of public funding from the school, leading to a dramatic rise in tuition costs, and prompting the mobilization of all its constituencies to make up the loss.
In 2004, UTS became an ancillary unit of the University of Toronto separate from the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education. The school formed its own board of directors representing alumni, parents and the university administration. Throughout the 2009-2010 school year, the school celebrated its centennial year with the Kickoff celebration at Varsity Stadium and the Homecoming weekend to be held in the school itself. The centennial year also saw the introduction of its new school song, written by Nathalie Siah '10, the House Centennial spirit pennant, as well as the House Cup, awarding the House who collected the most points (athletic, literary, and spirit) over the school year.
Possible relocation or redevelopment
The University of Toronto informed UTS in 2011 that it was rejecting its proposal for a $48 million refurbishment of its facilities and that the university intends to reclaim the property at 371 Bloor Street West for its own use. UTS had been given until 2021 to find and move to new space. However, in 2014, it was announced by the chair of the UTS board of directors that the University of Toronto and UTS were negotiating to maintain an affiliation between the two institutions and keep the school at its present location but redevelop the site so that it could fit meet the needs of both the university and the school.
In October 2015, the University of Toronto and UTS announced a 50-year agreement that would renew the school's official affiliation with the university, allow UTS to remain on its Bloor Street campus, redevelop 70,000 square feet of its space as well as build a 70,000 square feet addition. The redevelopment proposal would include the construction of a 700-seat auditorium that would also function as a university classroom, a double gym, an atrium and a black box theatre. The university would retain ownership of the building and land but UTS would pay for construction and operating costs. The agreement is subject to approval by the university's governing council.
Most students enter in Grade 7 through a two-stage competitive process. Prior to the admission of the class of 2014, the first stage consisted of a multiple choice exam; those who passed this test in the top percentiles (usually 200 students) were invited back for a second written exam and an interview. However, starting with the class of 2014, the admission process consists of the Secondary School Admission Test (SSAT), and for the top 170 - 190 applicants, a second exam (focused on Math and English) and an interview with multiple staff members and UTS alumni (using an MMI format). Ultimately, 96 candidates (48 boys and 48 girls) are chosen from around 350 applicants in the first-stage process each year; the typical cutoff for SSAT scores for Grade 7 entrance is in the mid to high 1900s for boys, and low 1900s for girls, depending on the applicant pool for that year. For upper year entrance the process is slightly different. UTS will admit approximately 24 students, the average size of a class, for grade 9, and handful at grade 8, 10 and 11. Usually there is an equal number of boys and girls who are accepted into the school. On average, for the first year (F1/grade 7) there are four classes each of which consists of 24 students. Candidates must be Canadian citizens or landed immigrants and may apply to enter either Grade 7 or the upper school (Grade 9 and above). For details about applying, it is best to look at the school's web site or call the admissions office.
UTS is attended by students from grades 7 through 12, with 78 students per grade in classes graduating before 2001, 104 students per grade in classes graduating before 2009, and 110 in classes graduating thereafter.
UTS has enriched courses and a specialized curriculum, which are designed to challenge and educate at a higher level than at most public and many independent schools. Because potential UTS candidates are required to pass a rigorous entrance examination to attend the school, its curriculum is accelerated on the assumption that its students assimilate information faster. For this reason several higher-grade subjects are taught at lower grade levels. For example, Grade 10 students can take an enriched version of Ontario's Grade 11 courses in introductory physics, biology, and/or chemistry and Grade 7 students take both the Ontario grade 7 curriculum and grade 8 curriculum. As well, effort is made to enrich classes with extra material and more in-depth discussions.
UTS offers Advanced Placement courses, but does not have an International Baccalaureate program. In addition to the Ontario Secondary School Diploma, graduates earn a UTS Diploma, which signifies the completion of certain specialized courses, among them Latin and Romance of Antiquity (ROA), and attesting to an attainment level beyond the provincial standards.
UTS's rate of student achievement is commensurate with its selective admissions policy, both in academics and in extracurricular activities. Virtually all UTS students go on to university following graduation: in 2004, the University of Toronto, McGill, Queen's, Waterloo, McMaster, and UBC were the most popular destinations, accounting for more than two-thirds of graduates; of the rest, a majority attended U.S. universities (primarily Ivy League and other "top tier" US institutions) or UK institutions. The school's alumni include 22 Rhodes Scholars  and two Nobel Prize winners: chemist John Polanyi and economist Michael Spence.
UTS's grade level nomenclature differs from that used commonly in Ontario high schools. This nomenclature has varied somewhat over the many years, and is due in part to a curriculum whose courses do not fit neatly into the provincial grading system, and in part to what had until the elimination of Grade 13 in Ontario constituted a six-year course to seven grade levels. The grade level nomenclature, with rough equivalents, consists of:
- Foundation Zero (F0): Grade 6 students who have been accepted to and will begin attending UTS the following school year
- Foundation One (F1): Grade 7. Formerly known as Foundation Year (F)
- Foundation Two (F2): Grade 8. Formerly known as Form II
- Middle Three (M3): Grade 9. Formerly known as Form III
- Middle Four (M4): Grade 10. Formerly known as Form IV
- Senior Five (S5): Grade 11. Formerly known as Form V
- Senior Six (S6): Grade 12. Formerly known as Form VI
Prior to the double cohort in 2003, F1 and F2 formed both halves of the Ontario Grade 7-9 curriculum; M3 was equivalent to Grade 10, and so forth.
Each student is placed in one of four Houses (Althouse Alligators, Cody Cougars, Crawford Knights, and Lewis Vikings); several competitive House events are held throughout the year. These events include the House Track Meet, Lip-Sync contests, gameshow-themed competitions, intramural sports, and four-way soccer games. The house system is only one facet of an unusually rich extracurricular life at UTS, however, and activities range from the school newspaper and yearbook – Cuspidor and Twig (along with its offshoot, the Twig Tape which features student and alumni musical compositions) – to champion sports teams and clubs, to the Science Club and Food Appreciation Team, to the Card Strategy Club. The school has in recent years been a four-time winner of the Reach for the Top National Trivia. UTS has also won the Ontario Student Classics Conference for twenty-one years running as of 2016, with the first win coming in 1996. UTS students are actively involved in public speaking; the UTS Debating Society is a major club and UTS students organize the Southern Ontario Model United Nations Assembly (SOMA), the largest and oldest Model United Nations conference run entirely by High School students in North America and the second largest Model UN conference for high school students in Canada.
There are several other events during the school year such as Arts and Music Month, known prior to 2008-2009 as Arts and Music Week, Halloween Fun Week and more. Arts and Music Month is a month when UTS students display their art work and show off their music skills either in their music class, in small bands, solo, or in an extracurricular group. There were many events such as the art work displayed in the UTS gym, battle of the bands where students form into small groups and play the song of their choice on stage in the auditorium, there is also a Holiday Breakfast where the student council (informally known as StudCow) makes breakfast for the whole school while holiday music is played by some of the music students. Also there are the junior and senior music nights, during which the senior classes and the junior music classes play music, and the Senior and Junior plays, in which are both put on by the Senior drama class, the Junior Play being acted out by students in the younger grades, and the Senior Play being acted out by students in the older grades. The UTS Show is the biggest annual school production put on by the student body. It is an amalgamation of acting, modeling, cultural dancing, costume designing, set constructing and painting. All aspects of the Show are 100% student run, from the script writing to the choreographing to the directing.
The building, 371 Bloor St. West was also used as a location for significant exterior and interior shots for the 2006 film Take the Lead, but the school was only credited in the DVD director's commentary.
- Brig-Gen. Donald Agnew, C.B.E., C.D., Commandant of the Royal Military College of Canada
- Chris Alexander, Minister of Citizenship and Immigration and former Canadian Ambassador to Afghanistan
- John Allemang, journalist at the Globe and Mail
- Jay Bahadur, journalist and author
- Charles Baillie, OC, chancellor of Queen's University, former CEO of TD Bank
- Rod Beattie, actor
- David Brillinger, FRSC, statistician
- Ian Brodie, Chief of staff for Canada's Prime Minister's Office
- Catherine Bush, novelist
- J. M. S. Careless, OC, OOnt, FRSC, historian and biographer, two-time winner of the Governor General's Award
- Jim Chamberlin, Chief designer of the Avro Arrow
- Noah Cowan, artistic director of Bell Lightbox, former co-director of the Toronto International Film Festival
- Sujit Choudhry, law professor and dean of the UC Berkeley School of Law
- Paul Davis, sailor and bronze medallist (racing for Norway) at 2000 Sydney Olympics
- John Duffy, political strategist
- John Evans, CC, Rhodes Scholar, medical leader and former University of Toronto president
- Mark Evans, rower and gold medallist in pairs sculling at 1984 Los Angeles Olympics
- James Fleck, CC, businessman and philanthropist
- David Frum, journalist and author
- Peter George, CM, president of McMaster University
- Chris Giannou, CM, war surgeon, former Chief Surgeon of the International Committee of the Red Cross, and author
- Donald B. Gillies, computer scientist
- Peter Godsoe, OC, former Chairman of The Bank of Nova Scotia
- Ian Goldberg, computer scientist and cryptographer
- Andrew Robertson Gordon, OBE, physical chemist and founding director of Atomic Energy of Canada Limited
- Laurie Graham, Olympic downhill skier, Alpine Champion
- Albert Greer, CM, conductor and composer
- Doug Hamilton, rower and bronze medallist at 1984 Los Angeles Olympics
- Carolyn Harris, royal commentator and historian
- Vice-Admiral Ralph L. Hennessy, DSC, RCN, naval officer and founding executive director of the Standards Council of Canada
- Lawrence Hill, author and essayist
- Greg Hollingshead, CM, novelist and winner of the Governor General's Award for Fiction
- Hal Jackman, OC, OOnt, businessman and former Lieutenant Governor of Ontario
- Paul Koring, award winning journalist, The Globe and Mail
- Sarah Kramer, former CEO of eHealth Ontario
- Dennis Lee, OC, poet
- Simu Liu, actor and screenwriter
- John Macfarlane, magazine editor
- Brig. Beverley Matthews, CBE, OBE, KC, lawyer and soldier
- Jack McClelland, CC, publisher
- Claire Messud, novelist
- Lydia Millet, author
- Dunc Munro, hockey player, Stanley Cup winner, and Olympic gold medallist
- Fraser Mustard, CC, OOnt, FRSC, medical pioneer and founder of the Canadian Institute for Advanced Research
- John C. Polanyi, PC, CC, Nobel Prize winner for Chemistry, 1986
- Jill Presser, litigator
- John Josiah Robinette, CC, OOnt, prominent litigator and constitutional law expert, Chancellor of Trent University
- Robert Gordon Rogers, OC, OBC, 24th Lieutenant Governor of British Columbia and Chancellor of the University of Victoria
- J. Blair Seaborn, CM, diplomat and civil servant
- Robert Seaborn, MC, Anglican Bishop of Newfoundland and Metropolitan of Canada
- Jeffrey Simpson, OC, journalist
- James Sommerville, horn player and conductor
- A. Michael Spence, Nobel Prize winner for Economics, 2001
- C. P. Stacey, OC, OBE, FRSC, historian
- Harry Stinson, real estate developer
- Wayne Sumner, philosophy professor and member of the Royal Society of Canada
- James M. Tory, lawyer and corporate adviser
- Thomas Symons, CC, OOnt, FRSC, founding president of Trent University
- John Tory, OOnt, former leader of the Progressive Conservative Party of Ontario and 65th Mayor of Toronto
- John A. Tory, former financial advisor to Ken Thomson
- Paul Tough, editor at the New York Times Magazine
- Vincent Tovell, OC, CBC broadcaster and producer 
- Garth Turner, Conservative, then independent, then Liberal MP
- Edward Waitzer, LCBO chairman and former chair of Stikeman Elliott
- Graham Yost, screen play writer of Speed, Broken Arrow, Hard Rain, and 2 time Emmy winner
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- The Toronto Daily Star, Monday May 5, 1969, front page, "The Latest in Protests - A Sit-in For Nothing"; New York Times, Tuesday May 6, 1969, p.32. An October, 2014 article in the Toronto Star quoted Michael Tory, a UTS old boy, to the effect that his brother, John Tory, also a former UTS student and, in 2014, a Toronto mayoral candidate, had been one of the organizers of the 1969 protest. In fact John Tory had no hand in its organization and had no involvement of any kind in the protest.
- Advani, With Pardonable Pride: The University of Toronto Schools, p.43
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- Advani, With Pardonable Pride: The University of Toronto Schools, p.27
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In popular culture
The school was used in the 2006 movie Take the Lead.