The Importance of Place at Trinity College

Trinity College Building on Tradition: Students on the Front Lawn of Campus

Help Us Envision Our Future Campus: Complete the Survey (now closed)

August 2, 2017

Dear Members of the Trinity Community:

A sense of place is so vital – at best it elevates us and connects us in a meaningful way to the world around us. At Trinity College our sense of place is especially profound and that is precisely why “place” is among the three pillars of our Strategic Plan: People, Program and Place.

We treasure the glorious Trinity buildings we have the privilege to steward, striving to ensure that they are cared for and that they improve the lives of those who learn, work and live here. Sometimes this means reclaiming space, as with the beautiful new Archives, which was once an ignored basement. Sometimes it means refashioning spaces so that they work for the Trinity of today, which strives to be an inclusive, welcoming environment.

While we are working hard to refurbish our historic buildings, it is also becoming clear that we simply do not have enough space for all of our people and activities, no matter how well we use what we have. Perhaps this is not surprising – it has been some time since we added significant learning space and today we struggle to find room for classes, programming and professors. In fact, aside from our beautiful John W. Graham Library (opened in 2000), it has been more than 55 years since we added new teaching and learning space (the Gerald Larkin Building was completed in 1961). And while we resolutely remain the smallest college at the University of Toronto, our student body has grown since our early days. Our residence space has increased only marginally (50 beds in St. Hilda’s College in the early 1980s), so too many of our students must live at a great distance, which means they cannot experience college life to the fullest. They tell us that they want to spend more time here – studying, interacting socially, being immersed in collegial life, and indeed living in residence. Unfortunately, we cannot meet their needs. I believe that we can do better for our outstanding students.

Renewing the Trinity Campus

This is why renewal of our campus is of such vital importance. Over the past year, our initial conversations with students, faculty, staff and the larger Trinity community have made it clear that our aspirations cannot be achieved unless we add more space. We have listened and engaged a master planner to help us consider our options. We have also conducted a comprehensive needs assessment, reviewed the state of our facilities and campus footprint, and analyzed current and forecasted needs.

This groundwork has made it evident that a new building will most likely be required to respond to the significant unmet need for study and social space for students, for teaching and learning space for the College’s academic programs, and for residential space for Trinity students. We are early in the process of examining the potential of the Trinity campus as it relates to municipal bylaws and are working with the ongoing University of Toronto St. George Campus Secondary planning process and with relevant leaders at the College, U of T and the City of Toronto. We will also be assessing our fundraising capacity to help support any new construction and refurbishment of existing spaces on campus.

However important need is, Trinity’s physical space has never just been about need – it has also been about our values and our aspirations. So too is it today: only by creating inspiring learning, living and social spaces can we honour our traditions and complement our beautiful historic campus. Trinity has always aspired to be part of creating a better world – our space must also strive to reflect our core values of excellence, inclusion and sustainability. Above all else, Trinity is about community and that is why we want to hear your views.

Join the Conversation

In the months ahead, we will be continuing to have many place-oriented conversations on campus. We want to know what is important to you. I encourage you to share your thoughts about the kinds of spaces that are essential to fostering the engaged college community that is at the heart of Trinity College. You can complete the short survey here (now closed - send your comments and feedback to futurecampus@trinity.utoronto.ca). 

Over the coming months, we will be holding a series of consultations with members of our community as we consider our options and develop a plan for our future campus. We will also be working closely with our partners at the University and the City throughout the process. Updates and announcements will be posted on this webpage, so please do return here often. You can also get in touch with us at futurecampus@trinity.utoronto.ca.

Trinity College has always been about how our shared values, expressed in architecture new and old, can foster the flourishing of every member of this very special collegiate community. This is an incredibly exciting time as we imagine the evolution of our glorious historic campus. I hope that you will be part of the conversation and look forward to your thoughts.

Mayo Moran
Provost and Vice-Chancellor