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University of Toronto Archives and Records Management Services
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Includes article, "Struggle, sit-ins and serious chutzpah: The early years of campus community co-operative day care centre and child care in Canada," by Julie Mathien, April 2020, in addition to a portrait taken at the interview.

Oral history interview with Dena Taylor conducted by Ruth Belay

Dr. Dena Bain Taylor, a retired faculty member in the Department of English at the University of Toronto, attended the University at its St. George campus as both an undergraduate and graduate student. While the interview touches on the early experiences Taylor had as a student, it focuses on the period between 1968 to 1973 when she was a resident of Rochdale College. She describes the foundation and structure of the residence, including identifying key individuals, concurrent initiatives, funding sources, and the external issues that shaped the residence. Throughout the interview, Taylor reflects on the philosophical underpinnings that were central to the collective ethos of the space and its genesis as a centre for experiential learning, activism, arts, spirituality, experimentation and place-making. The interview captures aspects of Rochdale’s impact, including the activities of involved individuals, the influence of American political thought, as well as the organizations and initiatives that were developed there. Taylor speaks to some of the issues that surfaced in the residence such as sexism, sexuality, and mental health, as well as how these issues were portrayed in the media. In discussing her own experiences and reflecting on the broader significance of the College, Taylor details and questions how the residence fundamentally challenged the status-quo.


  • Rochdale College
  • Hart House, University of Toronto
  • Indian Institute
  • Campus Co-operative
  • Toronto Community Housing

Subject Topics

  • Experiential learning
  • Alternative education
  • Co-operative and collective models
  • Housing
  • Counter-culture
  • Arts
  • Back-to-the-land movement
  • Financial access to post-secondary education
  • Sexual freedom
  • Draft evasion
  • Spadina Expressway

University of Toronto. Department of Molecular Genetics

This accession contains two digital files from the tribute to Dr. Louis "Lou" Siminovitch on the occasion of his 100th birthday. Includes a video of the tribute that took place online as well as a Powerpoint slide presentation about Siminovitch. It was hosted by Dr. John Dirks and includes talks by Siminovitch himself as well as medical colleagues, Robert Phillips, Ken Knox, Ron Worton, James Friesen, Jim Woodget, David Naylor and daughter, Kathy Siminovitch. The event was held on 18 November 2020 and was co-sponsored by the Toronto Medical Historical Club.

Oral history interview with John Foster conducted by Ruth Belay

John Foster, Sessional Lecturer in International Studies and Justice Studies at the University of Regina, formerly in interdisciplinary studies, Carleton University, completed his graduate studies at the University of Toronto in the late 1960s (M.A., 1973, Ph.D. 1977). In his interview, Foster comments on how the growing social consciousness of the era shaped student organizing, protest movements, and interest in cooperative models. He discusses his early experiences with student activism both in Saskatchewan and Toronto, including with the Student Union for Peace Action (SUPA) and the Christian youth movement.

The interview focuses on his involvement in the establishment of accessible and affordable childcare at U of T that provided students and working parents with the necessary supports to pursue their education. Foster connects the founding of the Campus Community Cooperative Daycare Centre to the women’s movement, as well as with new and developing ideas around early childhood education. For example, the cooperative approach used at the daycare was challenged by the provincial government’s daycare branch who were critical of the model. Foster recalls key moments in the Cooperative’s history, including the sit-in at Simcoe Hall and occupation of 12 Sussex Ave., the second centre on Devonshire Place, his personal experiences as a parent-volunteer, and the coordination of member’s contributions to the collective.


  • Campus Community Cooperative Daycare Centre
  • Student Union for Peace Action (SUPA)
  • United Church of Canada
  • Student Administrative Council (SAC)

Subject Topics

  • Child care
  • Early childhood education
  • Cooperatives and collective models
  • Peace movement
  • Women’s movement
  • Institutional response
  • Community engagement
  • Institutional response

Oral history interview with Norman Kwan conducted by Ruth Belay and Daniela Ansovini

Dr. Norman Kwan, a graduate from UofT’s Faculty of Dentistry, provides his account of student and community response to CTV’s W5 Campus Giveaway episode. Airing on September 30th, 1979, the reporting alleged that Canadian citizens were being denied opportunity in professional graduate programs and targeted students who were visible minorities as unfairly occupying these placements, regardless of their citizenship or status as Canadians themselves. The xenophobic tone and misrepresentation of foreign students ignited protests across the country. Dr. Kwan discusses his involvement in the student response, particularly how the Chinese Students’ Association’s President, Dinah Cheng, approached and worked with Chinese-Canadian professional associations and community groups to protest, pursue a lawsuit, and create a set of demands. He describes the impacts and outcomes of their advocacy including CTV’s apology, solidarity built between different groups, the creation of the Chinese Canadian National Council, and the shift in his own political consciousness.


  • Chinese Students’ Association, University of Toronto
  • Canadian Television Network (CTV)
  • Ad Hoc Committee of the Council of Chinese Canadians Against W5
  • Council of Chinese Canadians (Ontario Chapter and Irene Chiu)
  • Federation of Chinese Canadian Professionals (FCCP)
  • Chinese Professional Association of Canada
  • New Democratic Party (NDP)

Subject Topics

  • Racism in the press
  • Discrimination in higher education
  • University admissions
  • Canadian race relations
  • Chinese Canadian activism
  • Chinese Canadian community
  • Professional graduate education
  • International students
  • Southeast Asian refugees
  • International students
  • Community organizing
  • W-Five

Oral history interview with Bonte Minnema conducted by Ruth Belay

Bonte Minnema, a digital media and marketing consultant, was an undergraduate student at the University of Toronto’s St. George Campus in the mid-1990s where he was actively involved in advocating for the LGBT community. Minnema shares some of his background growing up and coming out in southwestern Ontario, why he was drawn to UofT, and his initial experiences at Trinity College. He describes some of his involvement in equal rights activism taking place outside of the University, and then focuses on the start of his advocacy on campus. Initially looking at discrimination in the provision of student services, for example in UofT’s Health Services, and within curriculum, Minnema also describes the revival of a student organization aimed to build support and social infrastructure for LGBT students on campus. He recalls a number of different initiatives in both respects, as well as solidarity networks between different student groups, allies in various roles, and the dynamics of activism at the University. Minnema reflects on the complex and continued impact that activism has had through his career, how he has navigated the public persona that developed with this, and the type of social value he sees in activist perspectives and approach.


  • Coalition for Lesbian and Gay Rights in Ontario
  • Centre for Women and Trans People, UofT
  • Ontario Public Interest Research Group (OPIRG)
  • Muslim Students’ Association
  • Mark S. Bonham Centre for Sexual Diversity Studies
  • Health and Wellness – Student Life, UofT
  • Nobel Knights

Subject Topics

  • UofT Sexual Diversity Program
  • Homo Hops
  • Positive Space Campaign
  • Equity and inclusion in curriculum
  • Homophobia
  • Solidarity networks
  • Student health services
  • Financial barriers
  • Scholarships
  • Privacy

Oral history interview with Tom Mathien conducted by Ruth Belay

Dr. Thomas Mathien is the former Associate Director of the Transitional Year Programme (TYP) at the University of Toronto and an occasional course instructor in the UofT's Department of Philosophy. His interview primarily focuses on key developments of the TYP, though Mathien also recounts some of his early participation as a student in teach-ins, student government, and various collective initiatives in late 1960s and 1970s. Mathien describes the history of the TYP, noting early confrontations with the University, key individuals involved, and the programme’s role in supporting access to post-secondary education that is rooted in a recognition of the impacts of racial, economic, and cultural difference that students experience at the University. He speaks at length about shifts in the programme's curricular, pedagogical, and community-based approaches that have been adopted and developed over a span of 30 years. For example, he notes the interest in including Indigenous knowledge in curriculum, as well as initiatives to help support the financial security of students. Mathien ends the interview reflecting on the educators who influenced his own political thought and approach.

For additional information on the Transitional Year Programme please see Access and Equity in the University: A Collection of Papers from the 30th Anniversary Conference of the Transitional Year Programme, University of Toronto / Ed. Keren Braithwaite Organizations


  • Transitional Year Program, University of Toronto
  • Campus Community Cooperative Daycare Centre
  • Student Union for Peace Action
  • Students’ Administrative Council
  • Innis College, University of Toronto
  • University of St. Michael’s College, University of Toronto

Subject Topics

  • Community education
  • Equity in education
  • Community engagement
  • Access to post-secondary educatio
  • Financial barriers to post-secondary education
  • Collective models
  • Indigenous curriculum
  • Institutional response

Oral history interview with Mary Anne Chambers conducted by Ruth Belay

Mary Anne Chambers, former Ontario Member of Provincial Parliament (2003 – 2007) and Senior Vice-President of Scotiabank, completed her degree at the University of Toronto Scarborough in 1988. In the interview, Chambers highlights the impact that the University has had on her life while pursuing her academic and professional interests. She gives examples from various points in her career, including the support she received from students as she ran for the Legislative Assembly and the opportunities that she created as a UofT donor and member of Governing Council. Chambers shares in detail some of the initiatives that she has led and supported at UofT, in particular the Imani Academic Mentorship Program, which aims to address systemic barriers that create disproportionate access to post-secondary education. She connects this work to how she sees her role as an advocate and her deep commitment to the East Scarborough community, as well as broadly discussing the positive impacts of community involvement and giving back.


  • University of Toronto Scarborough (UTSC)
  • Governing Council – UofT
  • Academic Resource Centre – UTSC
  • Imani Academic Mentorship Program
  • Government of Ontario
  • Black Students’ Association, UTSC

Subject Topics

  • Mature students
    • Mentorship
    • Accessibility of post-secondary education
    • Racial justice
    • Financial barriers to education
    • Community partnership
    • Community involvement
    • Equity in education
    • Philanthropy

Oral history interview with June Larkin conducted by Ruth Belay and Daniela Ansovini

Dr. June Larkin, former Director of Equity Studies and professor in the Women and Gender Studies Department, completed her graduate studies at Ontario Institute for Studies in Education (OISE) in 1993. Larkin describes her involvement in the creation of OISE’s Sexual Harassment Caucus, a group formed to address sexual harassment at the institution through policy and education. With seventeen years of prior experience as an elementary school teacher, Larkin shares how this advocacy shifted her doctoral work to focus on sexual harassment in high schools and also led to developing educational toolkits and workshops to support school boards looking to implement their own policies. In discussing her research, community-based initiatives, and teaching, she reflects on the definition of activism and many forms it can take. Within the context of the Equity Studies Program more broadly, she notes the ways in which she and other professors have worked to respond to the shifting interest of students, particularly to support their engagement in issues at and beyond the University.


  • Ontario Institute of Studies for Education (OISE)
  • Sexual Harassment Caucus, OISE
  • Sexual Harassment Resistors Everywhere (SHREW)
  • Equity Studies Program, New College, University of Toronto
  • Women and Gender Studies Institute, University of Toronto

Subject Topics

  • Women’s movement and feminism
  • Sexual harassment policy
  • Violence against women
  • Equity in education
  • Intersectionality
  • Equity Studies
  • Sexual health
  • Community engagement
  • Institutional response
  • Occupy! Movement
  • Activist scholarship

Oral history interview with Ike Okafor conducted by Ruth Belay

Ike Okafor, currently the Senior Officer for Service Learning and Diversity Outreach at the University of Toronto’s (UofT) Faculty of Medicine, was a founding member and former President of the Black Student Association (BSA) at UofT. In the interview, Okafor provides a rich account of community and advocacy work aimed to specifically address systemic barriers to higher education for Black students. He discusses his experiences seeing the under-representation of Black students at UofT, the founding of the BSA in 1999, and re-establishment of the Fourth Chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha. He speaks to the dual interests of these groups: to create community and support access to post-secondary education, and describes how these aims were supported through the activities of a number of closely aligned initiatives.

Okafor describes how his later professional roles at UofT, in the Office of Student Recruitment and the Faculty of Medicine, have focused on leveraging the institution’s resources to better support and attract a diverse student body. He discusses the role of public institutions and the necessary urgency to recognize the social contract by which they are underpinned. This reorientation would emphasize responsibility of public bodies to significantly serve the public, require collaboration with community partners, and meaningfully support equity objectives.


  • Black Students’ Association (BSA)
  • Annual Black High School Conference, Black Students’ Association
  • National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE)
  • New College – University of Toronto
  • Black Medical Student Association (BMSA)
  • Huron-Sussex Residents Organization
  • Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. (AΦA)
  • Tan Furu
  • Black Business and Professional Association (BBPA)
  • Toronto District School Board (TDSB)

Subject Topics

  • Mentorship
  • Racial justice
  • Access to post-secondary education
  • Fraternities
  • Equity in education
  • Discrimination in education
  • Community partnership
  • Institutional transformation
  • Institutional response

University of Toronto. Faculty of Forestry

Lecture notes of Dr. Fernow for forestry courses, early 20th century; photoprint scrapbook showing logging operations, forests in Finland with "J.H.White Toronto" on cover (n.d.); other unidentified notes taken at lectures in forestry (n.d.).

Oral History Interview with Julie Mathien conducted by Ruth Belay

Julie Mathien, a long-time childcare reform advocate and former public servant, was an early member of the Campus Community Cooperative Daycare. Established in 1969, the collective developed the childcare centre at 12 Sussex Ave. at the St. George Campus of the University of Toronto. Mathien recounts her experiences as both a volunteer and staff member providing insight into the underlying philosophy, membership, and organization of the collective. She describes the history of negotiations and tensions with UofT’s administration, including what led to the 1969 occupation of Simcoe Hall, as well as the shifting media coverage on the centre. Mathien explains the evolving discourse on approaches to childcare that have been part of her research and later work with the municipal and provincial governments. The interview also covers Mathien’s work with the Huron-Sussex Residents Organization, where she describes past confrontations with the University and their jointly developed plans for the future of the neighborhood.


  • Campus Community Cooperative Daycare Centre
  • Daycare Reform Action Alliance
  • Office of the President, University of Toronto
  • Canadian National Advocacy for Childcare
  • Toronto Board of Education
  • Province of Ontario
  • City of Toronto
  • University Planning, Design and Construction, University of Toronto
  • Huron-Sussex Residents Organization

Subject Topics

  • Child care
  • Early childhood education
  • Cooperatives and collective models
  • Protests and sit-ins
  • Women’s movement
  • Institutional response
  • Community engagement
  • Neighborhood advocacy
  • Toronto city planning and development
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