Yesterday was International Women’s Day. It had me reflecting on our school’s very first admissions advertisement. It ran in the Toronto Star on September 10, 1910 and touted “a day school for boys – taught by men”.
In point of fact, the original intention was for the establishment of two schools: one for girls and one for boys. But resources were scarce and, given the place and the time, it probably surprises no one that the boys’ school prevailed!
It wasn’t until 1973 that girls – and women teachers – took their places at 371 Bloor Street West. The move had been controversial among some in the UTS community but was solidly supported by Donald Gutteridge (recipient of the 2012 Crawford Award) who made his acceptance of the position of Principal contingent on the school going co-ed.
Decades later, boys-only education – and even the notion of “Old Boy” alumni – at UTS have receded almost into oblivion. Rather, the extraordinary achievements of all our students, staff and alumni throughout the school’s history are brilliantly apparent and bring us enormous pride. But this week, it is appropriate to consider our “First Girls”, the groundwork they laid for future cohorts, and the accomplishments of our alumnae, some of whom can be found here on our Notable Alumni page – and more will be added soon!
You can read about the arrival of co-education at UTS and the first cohort of girls in the article “Forty Years of Co-Education” in The Root, fall 2013. The book, University of Toronto Schools 1910-2010, by Jack Batten ’54 was written to celebrate the school’s centennial. It provides an informative and entertaining overview of UTS history and life – including the move to co-education. It is available for purchase here.
In the photo: UTS students circa 1973 (painting the Crawford House homeroom in yellow trim!).