In 1939, just before the outbreak of the Second World War, the Board of Governors for the University of Toronto Contingent, Canadian Officers Training Corps (COTC), purchased a stately home on St. George Street.Together with the Drill Hall built that summer, it provided facilities where, during six years of war and the uneasy peace which followed, thousands of U of T students and graduates received their initial officer training before serving Canada overseas and at home.
On September 10, members of the U of T community and the COTC gathered at 119 St. George, now the home of Woodsworth College, to unveil a plaque dedicated to the members of the COTC.
Photos & text by Jon Horvatin
Rear Admiral JJ Bennett - Chief of Reserves and Cadets, National Defense Headquarters poses, at right, with the newly-dedicated plaque and honoured guests including (from right): Ret. John Larke, Captain - Former Cadet and Contingent Officer - Canadian Officer Training Corps; Ret. Robert Spencer, Commanding Officer 1962-66 - Canadian Officer Training Corps and Professor Emeritus, University of Toronto; Col. Gilbert Taylor, President - Royal Canadian Millitary Institute; Ret. Gary Knopf, Signals Officer - Canadian Officer Training Corps.
Commanding Officer 1962-1966 (Ret.) Robert Spencer (right) greets (Ret.) Gary Knopf, Signals Officer.
Bagpipes played in the tradition of the Canadian Army were generously provided by the Toronto Police Services.
Commanding Officer 1962-1966 (Ret.) Robert Spencer proudly introduces his granddaughter,a U of T student, to his old friends and colleagues from the COTC.
Captain John Larke poses for a family photo with his daughter on the sunny morning of September 10th before the official unveiling.
President Naylor speaks with Rear Admiral JJ Bennett (Left) and Commanding Officer (Ret.) Robert Spencer about the significance of the COTC and its history on the U of T St. George campus.
Training at the Armouries in this photo taken during the WWII era.
Ret. Robert Spencer - Commanding Officer 1962-66 COTC addresses the assembly.
Rear Admiral JJ Bennett of the Royal Canadian Navy speaks to the crowd on the progress that the millitary has made since the Great War and the role Canada's millitary now plays both in defense of Canada and peacekeeping around the world.
President David Naylor of the University of Toronto addresses the crowd on the impact and importance of the Canadian Officer Training at U of T and its role in the 21st century in the training of future leaders.
Training staff of the COTC assemble in front of Hart House for a photograph in March of 1942.
Rear Admiral JJ Bennett of the Royal Canadian Navy, along with Captain John Larke, former cadet and contingent officer (COTC), unveil the newly-dedicated plaque on the morning of September 10, 2012.
The newly-dedicated plaque reads:
119 St. George Street
Shortly before the outbreak of the Second World War in September 1939, this fine 1892 house was purchased by the Board of Governors for the University of Toronto Contingent, Canadian Officers Training Corps (COTC). Together with the Drill Hall built that summer, it provided accommodation for a headquarters and other facilities where, during six years of war and the uneasy peace which followed, thousands of University of Toronto students and graduates received their initial officer training before serving Canada overseas and at home.
Erected on 10 September 2012 by the COTC Board of Trustees, with the support of the Ontario Heritage Trust