Buildings dotting post-secondary campuses serve a practical purpose: education. But that lofty role doesn’t mean aesthetics aren’t a consideration.

In fact, some of the most notable examples of architecture in Toronto can be found in an academic setting. Just check out this visual tour of campus architecture — featuring photos by BuzzBuzzHome News’ James Bombales — from across the city.

The Centre for Health Sciences




School: George Brown College, Waterfront Campus
Address: 51 Dockside Drive

This modernist structure was built as part of George Brown College’s 2012 expansion to create a fourth campus on the shores of lake Ontario. Stantec Architecture and KPMB paired a distinct opaque exterior treatment with lots of glass and textured paneling.

The Bergeron Centre for Engineering Excellence




School: York University
Address: 11 Arboretum Lane

“The building was conceptualized as one that is rooted like a rock in the landscape of the campus and yet limitless like a cloud,” according to the York University’s website. The Bergeron Centre is the handiwork of ZAS Architects, who gave it a reflective facade enabling the building to interact with its surroundings, whether that be the sky or student body.

Buildings C to K



School: Humber College, Lakeshore Campus
Address: 3199 Lake Shore Boulevard West

Completed in 1889, what is now part of Humber College’s Lakeshore Campus was originally part of the Lakeshore Psychiatric Hospital. The architect behind the red-brick building, Kavis Tully, also drafted the blueprints for the University of Toronto’s Old Trinity College.

Glendon College Centre of Excellence



School: York University
Address: 2275 Bayview Avenue

A 2008 investment of $20 million from the provincial government made the construction of a transparent structure fronting York University’s Glendon College Campus possible. Despite its see-through facade, it may be difficult to discern all that’s going on from outside: there are sealed-off labs, open-concept study spaces and an amphitheatre, to name a few of the building’s features.

Scott Library



School: York University
Address: 4700 Keele Street

The largest of York’s library’s, this brutalist learning centre features soaring ceilings and cubist treatments. A series of open platforms scale its walls.

Sharp Centre for Design


School: Ontario College of Art and Design University
Address: 100 McCaul Street

As if to lead by example, OCAD, a post-secondary design institution in downtown Toronto, went with a bold table-like design. The elevated structure by Will Alsop and Robbie/Young + Wright Architects Inc. rests on variegated legs, which not only help it stand up but out as well.

Student Learning Centre




School: Ryerson University
Address: 341 Yonge Street

Since its 2015 completion, the angular Ryerson Student Learning Centre has been cutting a dramatic figure at the corner of Yonge and Gould, just steps from other attention-grabbing sites including Dundas Square and the CF Toronto Eaton Centre. Two international firms, Snøhetta and Zeidler Partnership Architects, put their minds together to create this pyramidal building.

Victoria College Building (Old Vic)



School: Victoria University in the University of Toronto
Address: 73 Queen’s Park Crescent East

The finishing touches were put on the castle-esque Old Vic in 1892, which rests on the Victoria University campus located within the University of Toronto, and features ornate detailing and millwork, as seen above. It is just one of the notable Toronto buildings William George Storm, the man behind the design, had a hand in creating. Other examples of his work can be found at Osgoode Hall’s law school and the old Upper Canada College campus.

Hart House


School: University of Toronto
Address: 7 Hart House Circle

Hart House, a rather generous donation from the wealthy Massey family and completed in 1919, still to this day serves its original purpose as a venue for co-curricular events and activities, which nearly a century after its construction includes pub meets and chess tournaments.

Trinity College



School: University of Toronto
Address: 6 Hoskin Avenue

The Trinity College Chapel was the culminating work of Sir Giles Gilbert Scott. Five years after its completion in 1955, the British architect — responsible for the Liverpool Cathedral and Cambridge University’s library — died.

Goldring Student Centre (former Wymilwood Student Union Building)




School: Victoria University in the University of Toronto
Address: 150 Charles Street West

Eric Arthur, a University of Toronto professor until 1966, designed Wymilwood, which was finished in 1952. In 2013, a 40,000-square-foot addition was connected to Arthur’s original structure, transforming it into the Goldring Student Centre. By the looks of its clean lines, he would’ve approved: he’s credited as being one of the earliest pedagogical purveyors of the modernist movement in the country.

Knox College

UofT KnoxCollege1


School: University of Toronto
Address: 59 St. George Street

Architect Alfred Hirschfelder Chapman tried to bring Oxford or Cambridge style to Toronto with the design for this regal greystone building, which opened in 1915. It looks like he pulled it off.

University College


School: University of Toronto
Address: 15 King’s College Circle

The oldest and final stop on this tour, the somewhat pleonastically named University College dates back to 1859. The medieval-inspired building is perched atop a sprawling campus green, and this, according to the University of Toronto’s website, “illustrates its important role in the history and life of the institution.”

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