Western’s markers of the past
By Lorraine Forster
Renowned for being one of the most beautiful university campuses in the country,
the grounds of Western have a rich history. As students, we walk the campus
everyday without really giving its origins much thought; it’s hard to
imagine Western looking any other way than the way we see it now.
Even before the university acquired the land Western now calls home, classes
took place at Dufferin College, located between Waterloo and Wellington Sts.,
as well as Huron College. In 1916, the university bought the Kingsmill Farm,
now the campus we presently inhabit.
The Arts Building — today’s University College — was one
of the first buildings to be erected. Its tower was named Middlesex Memorial
Tower to honour the men and women from Middlesex County who died in the First
The first residence on Western’s campus was called Spencer Hall. It
closed in 1976, and Medway Hall, an all-male residence at the time, opened
in 1953. Sydenham Hall opened in 1963, with Delaware Hall following in 1966.
To this day, these three residences continue to provide Western students with
many memories and well-worn beds.
Some other historical buildings of note include the Hume Cronyn Memorial Observatory;
built in 1940, it was a project of the London community, and became the first
observatory at a Canadian university. In 1942, the McIntosh Memorial Art Gallery
was built from a donation, and is currently the oldest university gallery in
Living on such a large university campus, many students may not even know
where some of these buildings are located. Although it’s hard to visit
all the buildings, there will always be an intriguing space on campus just
waiting to be found by an ambitious student looking for a quiet place to study,
have a conversation with friends or sit and enjoy a coffee.
With all the construction and expansion that defines Western’s campus,
it’s almost a certainty that 125 years from now, Western students will
be thinking how different our campus of today looks to them.
While this may be true, all we can do now is search out those quaint, unknown
spots on campus, enjoy them and watch them become historical landmarks.
—with files from