Courses focused on Toronto

See the list below for courses that focus on Toronto or that use Toronto as a living laboratory…

(F= Fall-term 2021; S=Winter-term 2022)

Toronto skyline. Photo: Jessica Mace

INI100H1-F – The City Where Movies Are Made (A. Nayman)

In this course, first-year students will be introduced to film culture in Toronto from a variety of angles, including: a history of the city onscreen (both as itself and as a popular shooting location for American productions); an account of major Toronto filmmaking sites and institutions; introductions to local directors and producers; and overviews of contemporary local film festival culture (TIFF and beyond) as well as the city’s film-critical community. Through a combination of lectures, screenings, field trips and special guest speakers, the students will be moved to consider both the vitality of Toronto’s film scene as well as its connections to other aspects of the city. Restricted to first-year students. Not eligible for CR/NCR option.


NEW104H1-F – Creating Community: Art, Identity and Belonging (TBD)

How is art implicated in the process of community building? How does art foster a sense of community identity and belonging? This course explores how communities, in Toronto and beyond, engage a variety of art forms including graffiti, spoken-word, hip-hop, digital art, traditional dance and music to connect people and express community identity. Students will have the opportunity to visit community arts projects. Restricted to first-year students. Not eligible for CR/NCR option.


UNI104H1-F/S – Sex in the City (A. Lesk)

You will learn about the sexual politics of the city and how cities and their neighbourhoods become sexualized and desexualized spaces. In Sex in the City, you will examine what “sex” means to Toronto’s varied, multicultural communities by looking at urban space, cultural productions, law enforcement, safety and health resources and more. Restricted to first-year students. 


FAH194H1-F – Public Art: Local and Global (M. Cheetham)

We are surrounded by public art, whether in the form of official commemorative monuments or ephemeral (some say illegal) street art. We will examine the history and current practice of this important art form in Toronto and by comparison, globally. The focus will be on discussing the nature, roles, and issues pertaining to contemporary public art that we can see in situ in downtown Toronto. Restricted to first-year students.


FAH199H1-F – Architecture of Toronto (J. Mace)

*A Canada Constructed course!*

The architecture of Toronto is characterized by artful and influential monuments as well as stylistically incoherent neighbourhoods, vibrant civic spaces alongside dysfunctional infrastructure. This course investigates how Canada’s national metropolis came to embody such extremes of architectural richness and urban contradictions. The seminar focuses on how to “read” the buildings of Toronto and think critically about the forces that have shaped city planning, monuments, public space, and concepts of heritage. Readings and discussions will be combined with field trips, research on site or in the archives, and direct engagement with local communities and preservation initiatives. Restricted to first-year students.


WDW199H1-F – Indigenous Knowledge and Storytelling in Toronto (J. Johnson)

The land now known as Toronto has a 13,000+ year old history of Indigenous presence that is still unfolding. This history is inscribed in the land – it is visible in the geographical features, place names, and contemporary urban form of the city and is represented through stories (oral and written) told by diverse members of Toronto’s Indigenous community. This course engages with stories of Indigenous history and presence in Toronto through a selection of Indigenous literary works about Toronto, Indigenous guest speakers, and a series of experiential Indigenous storytelling tours of significant locations across the city. Restricted to first-year students.


FAH273H1-F – Canada Buildings and Landscapes (C. Anderson)

*A Canada Constructed course!*

An introduction to the traditions and patterns of building in Canada taking into account the unique landscapes, resources and history that comprise what is now a unified political entity. Lectures will pay special attention to the complexity of architecture throughout Canada including issues of land rights, natural resources, immigration, settlements and urban design, transportation, and heritage issues. A special feature of this class will be the opportunity to study Toronto first-hand through class projects. No previous architectural history study is required.


ENV307H1-S – Urban Sustainability (TBD)

This course critically examines the concept of urban sustainability in theory and application. Case studies of ongoing urban sustainability programs in the developed and developing world help students assess the successes and failures of these programs. The course also examines the current state of research and implementation efforts toward urban sustainability. Toronto’s urban sustainability and sustainable needs will be investigated through the use of Geographic Information Systems (GIS) during the course (previous experience with GIS is not required).


DTS310H1-S – Transnational Toronto (K. MacDonald)

This course will examine the processes that have produced Toronto as a transnational city over time, including the dynamics of immigration and mobility, experiences of alienation, the global extension of capitalism, and the (re)formation of communities grounded in the complex dynamics of identities produced in a space that is both ‘home’ and away’. We will also explore the specific practices, and connections that produce “Toronto” as a space that transcends its physical geographic boundaries and is continually reproduced in and through the flows of people, capital, objects, ideas, – and the many forces that reproduce and reconfigure these flows.


URB339H1-S – Divided City / United City (J. Hulchanski)

Focus on the impact of increased economic inequality and economic polarization trends that are reshaping Canada’s metropolitan areas, changing neighbourhoods, and affecting the lives of our diverse urban population. Using the Toronto area as an example, students explore the consequences of these trends and the implications for public policy.


JGU346H1-F – The Urban Planning Process (P. Hess)

Overview of how planning tools and practice shape the built form of cities. This course introduces twentieth century physical planning within its historical, social, legal, and political contexts. Community and urban design issues are addressed at local and regional scales and in both central cities and suburbs. The focus is on Toronto and the Canadian experience, with comparative examples from other countries, primarily the United States.


GGR357H1-S – Housing and Community Development (J. Hulchanski)

Focuses on the importance of adequate housing and quality neighbourhoods. It roots theoretical explanations and policy debates in realities using Canada and Toronto as examples. Topics covered include the evolution of public policies relating to social housing, rental housing, homeownership, neighborhoods, and homelessness.


HIS435H1-S – Themes in Toronto History (S. Mills)

This course will examine aspects of Toronto’s history. It is not a general survey of Toronto history; instead, the course will normally revolve around a specific theme or group of themes. Specific themes vary by year, depending on the focus of the instructor. Strong emphasis will be placed on reading and research.


This project is supported by the Learning & Education Advancement Fund at the University of Toronto

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