After a conversation on the history of Ontario with Chris, my labmate who is actually from Toronto, Ontario, I felt the need to lookup the word Loaylists
in wikipedia. Click after click, I arrived at the Canada Day wiki-page. Canada day is officially the birth date of what we now know as Canada; July the 1st, 1867. At that time, it was called the Dominion day, because it "commemorated the formation of the Dominion of Canada."
Wait a second, 1867? Does this mean that the oldest University in Canada should be 139 (2006-1867) years of age? I quite remember that University of Toronto (U of T) was advertising its 160th. So, I had to lookup U of T in wikipedia, which you might think is a dumb thing to do. I am not quite sure about that, though. I found out that U of T (King's College) was established in 1827, which can give them 179 years of history, but "the old King's College building, located on the current site of the provincial legislature, was closed and the new University College opened in 1853 as 'The Provincial College,' and was completed in 1858." Toronto can't have more than 148 years of academic history, then! I always suspected that their long billboards with catchy phrases of 160 years of excellence and such are more of a media hype to attract undergraduate students, but I never had the courage to check for the facts. I am not too sure what gave me the courage to do that now; I am not sure either if that's called courage at all.
Anyways, after my useless discovery and surfing further to find the answers to questions I might later have, I learned that U of T, along with 9 other schools form the Group of Ten (G-10) universities in Canada. They are the leading research-intensive universities with most of them having endowments of over $100 million. University of Alberta is part of G-10, but surprisingly University of Calgary isn't. Another interesting fact is that 5 of them are in Ontario, 3 in Quebec, 1 in BC and 1 in Alberta (no representatives in other provinces). Another interesting fact, is that even U of T with $1.4 billion has less financial endowments than the wealthiest universities in the US, but G-10 are on par with UK and European universities, in terms of financial endowments.
Yet another interesting figure is the year that Université Laval was founded: 1663! The oldest in Canada. I won't write about how I went through all the process of finding if it was a religious centre back then or a university, but while I was trying to find out, I learned that the University of New Brunswick (founded in 1785) is the oldest English-speaking Canadian school, which actually "offered Canada's first university-level engineering program, established in 1855 and the first engineers graduating in 1857." Engineering is 150 years old in Canada.