The University Heights Neighbourhood
University Heights encompasses most of the campus of the University of Western Ontario and the residential area to the west of the campus. It is a largely older and settled neighbourhood with a mix of executive and family homes with good sized lots. The area is notable for its green spaces and its network of parks as well as its close proximity to the campus.
University of Western Ontario
The University was founded in 1878 by Bishop Isaac Hellmuth of the Anglican Diocese of Huron as “The Western University of London Ontario.” It incorporated Huron University College, which had been founded in 1863. The first four faculties were Arts, Divinity, Law and Medicine, and there were originally only 15 students when classes began in 1881. The first of these students graduated in 1883. The Western University of London was eventually made non-denominational in 1908.
In 1916, the current site of the University was purchased from the Kingsmill family, and in 1923 the Western University of London was renamed the University of Western Ontario. The first two buildings constructed at the new site were the Arts Building (now University College) and the Natural Science Building (now the Physics and Astronomy Building). These were built in a neo-Gothicor “Collegiate Gothic” style, and classes on the present site of the school began in 1924. The University College tower, one of the most distinctive features of the University, was named the Middlesex Memorial Tower in honour of the men from Middlesex County who had fought in World War I (all 40 male students at Western in 1914 had enlisted). Western later became affiliated with St. Peter’s College seminary of London, Ontario in 1939, and it eventually became King’s College, an arts faculty.
Although enrollment was relatively small for many years, the University began to increase greatly in size after World War II and by the 1970s, 10% of university students in Ontario were enrolled at Western. The University saw the addition of a number of new faculties in the post-war period, such as the Faculty of Graduate Studies (1947), the School of Business Administration (now the Richard Ivey School of Business) (1949), the Faculty of Engineering Science (now the Faculty of Engineering) (1957), the Faculty of Law (1959), and Althouse College for education students (now the Faculty of Education) (1963) and the Faculty of Music (1968).
Other notable buildings on campus include Thames Hall (built in 1949), the Stevenson-Lawson Building (built in 1959), Middlesex College (with its clock tower, another distinctive feature of the university, built in 1960), Talbot College (built in 1966), Alumni Hall (built in 1967), London Health Sciences Centre University Hospital, the John P. Robarts Research Institute, the Lawson Health Research Institute, the D.B. Weldon Library, the John Labatt Visual Arts Centre, the Boundary Layer Wind Tunnel Laboratory, the University Community Centre, the Social Science Centre, and T.D. Waterhouse Stadium (built in 2001). The campus is also home to the Hume Cronyn Memorial Observatory, built in 1940 as one of the first observatories at a Canadian university, and named after the grandfather of actor Hume Cronyn. The McIntosh Memorial Art Gallery was built in 1942, and is now the oldest university art gallery in Canada.
The University of Western Ontario also has a well-developed part-time and continuing education faculty which includes a French-English Summer School at Trois-Pistoles, Quebec. The university has affiliations with Huron University College, Brescia University College, and King’s University College (University of Western Ontario).
Western is committed to its mission of providing the best student experience among Canada’s leading research-intensive universities. A vibrant centre of learning, Western is home to approximately 3,500 full-time faculty and staff members and approximately 30,000 undergraduate and graduate students. Through its 12 Faculties, and three affiliated Colleges, the University offers more than 400 different majors, minors and specializations. Research is an integral part of the University’s mission and external support for research projects exceeds $250 million per year. Western is located on 155 hectares of land along the banks of the Thames River in London, Ontario.
Source: University of Western Ontario
Parks and Other Places of Interest
In addition to the beautiful campus of the University of Western Ontario, the neighbourhood is home to a number of parks: Essex Park, University Heights Park, Orchard Park, Chesham Heights Park, Furanna Park, Gretna Green Park, Gainsborough Park and Sherwood Forest Park, a part of the Medway Creek corridor. The Museum of Ontario Archaeology is also located here.
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