- 1868-1920 (Creation)
Level of description
Extent and medium
Name of creator
William Dale was born October 1, 1848 in Yorkshire, England and came to Canada with his father, brothers and sister in 1857. He attended St. Mary’s Grammar School and Upper Canada College before entering University College at the University of Toronto in 1867. He graduated as gold medalist in classics, history and mathematics in 1871. He returned to study for his Master of Arts degree which he received in 1871. From 1874 to 1879 he taught at various high schools in Ontario and Quebec and then retired to his farm in St. Mary’s where he divided his time between reading and farming. In 1884, Professor Maurice Hutton, Chair of Classics at the University of Toronto hired Dale as a lecturer in Latin literature and Roman History and as registrar for University College and the School of Practical Science. He was appointed Associate Professor in 1892 . During the next eleven years Professor Dale also became an active member of the YMCA of University College and the Classical Association. He was also the founder and first Secretary of the University College Alumni Association. In an 1892 speech to the association, Dale “attacked the governing policies of the university and the benefits accruing to the University College as less than satisfactory…Dale complained in his speech about the exclusion of Canadians from the position of Chairs of departments, a policy which he hailed as injurious in the extreme to Canadian scholarship…” .
Prof. Dale is most remembered as the man dismissed from the University of Toronto by the provincial government in 1895. This action was taken after Prof. Dale published in the Glove and Mail (February 9, 1895) his criticism of the government’s decision to appoint Prof. George Wrong as head of the History department, a position Dale and other faculty felt others were more qualified. Dale charged that the appointment of Wrong had more to do with Wrong being the son-in-law of the Honorable Edward Blake (Chancellor of the University) than his academic qualifications. Outrage over Prof. Dale’s dismissal resulted in the Student Strike of 1895 led by William Lyon Mackenzie King. In response, the Ontario Government appointed a Royal Commission on the Discipline in the University of Toronto in April 1895. The final report of the Commission on April 27, 1895 absolved the University of any appearance of wrong-doing.
Following his dismissal, Dale was offered a one-year post at Queen’s University to replace Prof. Fletcher in the Classics Department. It was during the term of 1895-1896 that Dale met Florence Frederika Ryckman (b. June 29, 1876; d. Aug. 17, 1971) in his sophomore Latin class. Five years later, they would marry. From 1896-1906, Prof. Dale taught during the winter at McMaster University in Toronto and served on the Senate of the University of Toronto from 1896 until his death from a heart attack on February 16, 1921.
When not teaching, Dale devoted his time to farming in Blanshard township and his home in nearby St. Marys. It was here that he and his wife Frederika raised their four children: Margaret (b. March 9, 1905. d July 26,1972.), Douglas (b Oct 4, 1906. d.ca 1990) ,Frances (b Sept. 6, 1908. d. October 6, 2001), and Emmaline (b.Dec 30, 1912 d. 2000). Margaret Dalewon the Second Edward Blake Scholarship in Classics Proficiency awarded by the University of Toronto to honors matriculation students. Like her father, she studied the Classics at University College and graduated in 1927. Like her sister, Frances, she went on to teach high school Latin and English. She died in 1972 as a result of a car accident.
: UTA P78-0021 (07). Calendar of the University of Toronto, 1893-1894, p. 68
: Robert M. Wilhelm, “William Dale: Toronto’s cause célèbre” Paper read to the A.P.A. Convention, Royal York Hotel, Toronto, Dec. 30, 1984, p. 16 in B2002-0017/008