If you are walking up north from College Street to King College Circle of course you will see Convocation Hall and Knox College along with other buildings, but the building that is the centre point of King College Circle is University College. Everything about this college is stunning, the architecture, the courtyard, the ghost stories and the lecture halls are all things we will be going over in this post! So let’s start!
University College was the founding college of the university founded in 1853. The building was built between in 1856-59 by Cumberland (10 Toronto Street, parts of St. James Cathedral) and Storm. In 1890 a fire destroyed the east wing of the building and the library, but thank god the whole building didn’t go up in flames because it is marvel. The Croft Chapter House is this amazing circular structure that sticks out on the west side of the building. The entrance way arch facing King College Circle is has so much detail in it that it reminds me of a European church entrance way. The towers are these stunning gothic wonders; some with wrought iron detailing at the top. It also has greenery engulfing parts of the building, which I always say shows a buildings age perfectly. Arch doorways, arched windows and just the colour of the brick make this building stunning.
The inside is equally as amazing. Going up the stairwell there is wooden ceiling, brick lookouts, balconies and modern art pieces. This one classroom I went to, which my friend Upasana had class in, is this awkward shaped room with amazing wooden beams, stained glass and natural light. Almost every corner of this building – and I literally mean corners whether they be doorway corners or the building corners has some sort of detailing to it. Then there are the lecture halls. There was this one lecture hall we went to that had these amazing high wood ceilings, chandeliers, sculptures at the end of beam posts, circular staircases and a three piece stained glass at one end of the hall. I will say if I had class here I would be too distracted by the detailing and the structure of this room.
The quad is another amazing piece. The way we exited led us to this walkway that had white beams to support the canopy above us. I can only imagine what it’s like standing there on a rainy day watching the rain fall between the trees.
Lastly, Ghosts and hauntings are definitely one of my favorite things. I love old buildings because the odds are they are haunted! So let’s get into this ghost story known as The Legend of Diabolos and Reznikoff. Diabolos was a sculptor and Reznikoff was a stonesman who worked on many of the scluptures and the little detailing points I love on the college. Anyways both loved a woman and in most stories with men loving the same woman it never ends well. Reznikoff was set to marry her but Diabolos convinced her to leave with him and take all of Reznikoffs savings with them. Reznikoff found out and Reznikoff and Diabolos fought at the southwest corner of the building. Reznikoff had an axe and attempted to strike Diabolos, but missed him and hit the door instead (reports say the mark is still there on the Croft Chapter House door where he took his first swing). Diabolos, armed with a dagger, ran to the tower on the third floor and hid. Then when his opponent came Diabolos attacked Reznikoff killing him. After Reznikoff died, Diabolos threw his body down the tower well, which was covered up after the construction of the building was complete. It wasn’t until the fire of 1890 that his body was found. Many saying at night they can here banging and creaking, when at night I’m not sure but since this confrontation happened at midnight I’d assume around then.
So I need to end this post here and now and let you explore University College for yourself! Plus this is getting really long. But overall The Ghost stories, quad and architecture are reasons I love this building and if I love it, then it has to be a reason
I am graduating from York on Wednesday and I am so excited. But this past week I was at U of T twice. The first time was to explore the grounds with Upasana and the second was for a bikers breakfast. Both times I was there as the U of T class of 2012 was either filing in or out of convocation hall. Going in to graduate and coming out as alumni. Now I was once in convocation hall for a speech by Stephen Lewis and what a beautiful building it was.
Sitting around King College Circle, Con Hall as many U of T students call it was designed by our friends Pearson and Darling (197 Yonge Street, One King Street, Original ROM, Original AGO, Commerce Court) and was opened in 1907. It is inspired by the grand theatre of Sorbonne (in Paris, France) and is a beaux arts styled building. Now the building was built after the original convocation hall was burnt to the ground in 1890 (it was previously part of University College). The new hall was funded by the U of T Alumni Association who held a fundraiser for a new building. In the end donors contributed $50,000 and the Government of Ontario matched that along with a contribution from Mr. Eaton who gave $1,000 and from the class of 1884 who raised $1,500.
Con Hall is not only a place to hold convocations. It hosts various events and is even a lecture hall. However according to BlogUT the internet sucks in the building so for those students who are bored and rather facebook, tumble or tweet or for those who sit in the very back and watch porn you might just want to listen instead of being frustrated by the internet. Oh and I did I mention it is desk-less and is usually used for big intro classes meaning if you want a good seat you’ll probably have to fight for it.
Inside the hall has a capacity to fit around 1,700 people. Many note the buildings columns, entablature (which you see resting on columns), and my two favorite parts the domed roof as well as organ. I also love the doors, I love big wood doors because for me they stand for something prestigious.
Just think some of U Of T’s most famous alumni have probably (if they went to their convocation) received their diploma in convocation hall. I know I won’t be getting a diploma in convocation hall, but still I have been there and I feel it would be just an a amazing venue to graduate in. So whether you are graduating Junior, Middle, High or Post-Secondary school congrats to the class of 2012!
Snaps I took from Night 2 (May 5th, 2016) of Comedy Bang Bang! Live at Convocation Hall: With Scott Aukerman/ @scottaukerman, Lauren Lapkus (as Scott’s nephew Todd), Paul F. Tompkins/ @paulftompkins (as Gary Marshall), Neil Campbell (as The Time Keeper) and Special Guests Kristian Bruun (Orphan Black!) and Tim Baltz.