The Faculty Club, 50th Anniversary
September 16, 2010
Thank you, President [Debbie] Stewart, Secretary [Roger] Riendeau – and thank you to the whole Faculty Club Board for your kind invitation. Special thanks also to Leanne Pepper, the Club’s indefatigable General Manager.
I am delighted to be here to help mark this important milestone, and to see so many friends, colleagues, and familiar faces.
Let me also take the liberty of extending a special welcome to the University of Toronto to: City Councillor Adam Vaugh, and Chair of Heritage Toronto’s Plaques and Markers Committee, Barbara McPhail.
The Faculty Club is an integral part of our university and this historic building the beautiful site of many memorable events… but it might not have been…
Back in 1956, the U of T’s Board of Governors set up a committee to help plan the university’s westward expansion across St. George St. The committee worked for almost a year, and among its many recommendations decided that the university’s faculty club should have a new building – but should in the meantime temporarily occupy the former Primrose Club on Willcox St. This very building.
Let me simply say that I am happy to echo an observation made at the time by a member of the Faculty of Architecture: There is nothing so permanent as a temporary building!
Now, 50 years on, the Faculty Club is thriving here in its lovely home on Willcox Street. I should note that to this day the Club continues to celebrate its connection with the historic Primrose Club: with the Primrose Room, a commemorative plaque, and, if you look closely, you can see that the beaver on the Club’s coat of arms is holding a primrose. A nice detail.
The Faculty Club is a hub of our university community, and on any given day its vitality is clearly evident: From an educational scotch tasting one night, to an informal gathering of lab-mates, a new faculty reception, or a Thanksgiving feast, the next
Indeed, despite its name, the Faculty Club brings together faculty, staff, and students from across our three campuses, in a warm and comfortable living-room beyond the classroom. At the risk of dating myself, I sometimes think it is U of T’s answer to Cheers, complete with friends and colleagues, a welcoming staff, good food, and the occasional pint of beer.
The past 50 years have witnessed the flourishing of a great partnership between the University and its Faculty Club – and I know there are as many great Faculty Club stories as there are grateful members. I expect, as the evening moves along, more than a few of these will be told…
On behalf of the entire University of Toronto community, I offer my heartfelt congratulations. Here’s to another 50 years of success – in these wonderful, temporary, surroundings.
Congratulations and thank you.
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