Trent University Celebrating 50 Years

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Trent University Campus

Trent University campus – A River runs through it

Peterborough is very proud of its university located in the north end of the City of Peterborough on the Otonabee River.  Community leaders dreamed of a university in the early 1960s and with the leadership of Professor Tom Symons and generous community support and land donations in the Nassau Mills area from General Electric, Trent university started in 1963 and officially opened in 1964 with downtown facilities.  Trent began as a small liberal arts school which featured small group teaching and a tutorial system with a residential college system.  For the first decade everybody knew everybody else and there was much interaction between “Town and Gown” with activities in the city which housed two of the university’s colleges, Peter Robinson College for male students (now closed) and Catherine Parr Traill College for female students (now the home of graduate studies).  The administration was located in Rubidge Hall in town in the early days and now is located on the Nassau Mills campus in the still beautiful Bata library on the west bank of the river.  Trent now has more diverse programs and the science area has grown greatly with new buildings on the east bank.  Champlain College opened for male students in 1967 and Lady Eaton College for female students opened in 1968.  The two colleges and the library were the centrepieces of the brilliant campus architecture of Ronald Thom, which integrated nature with university buildings, in harmony.  Within a few years society had changed and the gender divisions were removed from the colleges.  The campus added co-ed Otonabee College in 1972 and Peter Gzowski College in 2003.  The college system was and still is a major part of the Trent system and values. There is now a student residence across the road from the west bank campus and it is not associated with a College.

With over 8,000 full time students Trent is now a medium sized university with 50 years of loyal alumni.  Trent has become a leading institution for Canadian studies, environment, indigenous studies and even has a nursing programme. Trent has changed with the times but retains the values and vision of its founding president Tom Symons pictured below then and now:

 

Trent's Founding President

Young President Symons

Tom Symons now

Retired Tom Symons

Trent has big plans for the coming year with 50th Anniversary celebrations and hopes to involve many people in reunions and commemorative events.  There is an Alumni Reunion Weekend in early August featuring a Blue Rodeo concert and many other activities.  On October 17 there will be a Gala Dinner and a Parade on October 18th. For other events and more specific information visit the university website: Trentu.ca

 

Peterborough’s Hunter Street Bridge

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Fall Colours

View of Otonabee River from Hunter Street Bridge

Our primary symbols for this website are taken from the Hunter Street Bridge which connects downtown Peterborough with the East City across the river. We see this bridge as a key Peterborough landmark with great importance to Peterborough’s history almost equal to the Peterborough Liftlock. The bridge unites the City of Peterborough downtown east and west of the Otonabee River. The East City, as it is now known, was originally the Village of Ashburnham, before it was annexed by the Town of Peterborough in 1904. With an expanded population Peterborough became a city in 1905. There were earlier bridges across the river at Hunter Street but the current Hunter Street Bridge was originally built between 1919 and 1921 and was restored recently, reopening in August 2012. The $8 Million restoration project included 88 terra cotta shamrocks in the railing at the centre, the railing itself, other terra cotta elements including crests of armour and the “Peterborough” inlays at the center, and the large light standards at each end and the middle of the bridge.  Hunter Street is one of Peterborough’s more vibrant streets with many excellent restaurants and other businesses on both sides of the Hunter Street Bridge.

Our website Twitter account @PtboDotOrg uses a shamrock from the Hunter Street bridge as its profile photo.

 

 

Robertson Davies 100th Birthday Postage Stamp

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Robertson Davies 100th birthday

Canada Post issued this stamp on August 28, 2013

 

Canadian novelist Robertson Davies was born in Thamesville Ontario, between Chatham and London, on August 28, 1913 and is remembered with great affection in Peterborough Ontario. where he was a very important member of the community. In Peterborough, Robertson Davies is best remembered as editor and publisher of the Peterborough Examiner Newspaper from 1942 to 1955. Some of Robertson Davies best literary work was written while he was in Peterborough.  Award winning writings done while in Peterborough included;

  • Won the Dominion Drama Festival Award for best Canadian play in 1948 for Eros at Breakfast.
  • Won the Stephen Leacock Award for Humour in 1955 for Leaven of Malice.

He also wrote and directed plays for the Peterborough Theatre Guild, and with his wife Brenda acted in them. He and other family members owned TV and radio stations including Peterborough’s CHEX TV and CHEX AM Radio. After leaving Peterborough Mr. Davies went on to greater fame as founding Master of Massey College of the University of Toronto and with his authorship of the Carl Jung inspired “Deptford Trilogy” of novels released in the 1970s: Fifth Business, The Manticore and World of Wonders.  The fictional town of Deptford was inspired more by Thamesville than by Peterborough. Professor Davies was awarded a Trent University Honourary Doctor of Literature degree in 1974 when Fifth Business and the Manticore were making the author well known on a broader basis. The Manticore won the Governor General’s Award in 1972. Robertson Davies won many awards in recognition of his literary work and was also awarded an Honourary Doctor of Letters by Oxford University in 1991. He was a Companion of the Order of Canada. Robertson Davies died in 1995 at age 82.

 

Robertson Davies Peterborough Home

Robertson Davies and his daughters outside their home at 572 Waller St. Peterborough