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Dismissed by some as a hippie’s dream, and remembered by others as a radical education experiment, it’s hard at times to fully grasp what Rochdale College was and its lasting legacy.

But while the “free university” was shuttered back in ’75, it still lives — in a manner of speaking.

From Rochdale to Bathurst: The constant evolution of the Cineforum

To celebrate the 50th anniversary of the opening of the experimental, student-run school and community living, Thomas Fisher Rare Book Library has rustled together archival materials for a display.

The mini display includes a fake degree, photographs, course booklets, a student card, newspaper and magazine clippings, printed ephemera and samplings of the various publications (and their iterations) that circulated the college’s halls, including the Daily, the Daily Planet, Tuesdaily, Undaily, the New Daily, the Bulletin, the Rochdale “Occasionally.”

The display is on until March 30 on the second floor of the University of Toronto library.


Wait! Were you a Rochdale participant? Email [email protected] with your story.

2018 marks the 50th anniversary of the opening of Rochdale College. First established in 1964 as a solution to the student housing problem at the University of Toronto, it soon became an experiment in student-run alternative education and community living. In 1968 the building opened as a free university, where students and instructors could live together and share knowledge. Rochdale was the largest co-op residence in North America, occupying an 18-storey student residence at 341 Bloor Street West (at the corner of Bloor and Huron Street). Rochdale never used traditional professors or structured classes; the goal was free expression and a rejection of traditional education models. Our monthly display for March features material about the (in)famous Rochdale College from a collection of Archival material at the Fisher. This display was curated by Natalya Rattan and Lauren Williams and installed by Linda Joy #counterculture #hippies #torontohistory #education #freeuniversity

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