In the world of entertainment, small town dramas always make for effective television. If you think about it, almost every show that is largely based in a small town has experienced a modest level of success. A few of them have even achieved cult status over the years.
There’s just something about a small town that's so intriguing, whether it’s Capeside from Dawson’s Creek or Stars Hollow from Gilmore Girls. The quietness, the slower pace of life, and the close-knit relationships of the townspeople allows writers to weave dark secrets and intricate situations throughout each episode.
One Tree Hill is a particularly good example of a well-crafted drama. The tale of two half brothers who shared nothing with each other except a last name was the perfect catalyst for a series of incredible storylines and compelling characters.
In honour of the show, I’ve compared 8 Ontario universities to some of its most popular characters. Here are 8 Ontario universities as One Tree Hill Characters:
Note: This article only includes characters who appeared in the seasons before Lucas and Peyton departed from the show.
Lucas Scott - University of Toronto
Despite his departure from the show in the sixth season, Lucas Scott is ultimately the central character of the series. His story followed a "zero-to-hero" type of trajectory; having started off as a somewhat loser in his town and eventually becoming one of the most popular kids in his school. Lucas has many great traits - he's a good student, a successful athlete and a genuinely nice guy overall. But perhaps his most formidable quality is his ambition - Lucas is an avid dreamer who constantly seeks happiness in his life despite his rough circumstances.
The University of Toronto is similar to Lucas in that it is also a "main character." In Ontario's current post-secondary landscape, the University of Toronto is one of the most well-known institutions, and thousands of students around the world apply to get in each year. Its students are driven by the same desire for success that Lucas has, and they all just want what's best for themselves and their loved ones.
Peyton Sawyer - OCAD
Peyton Sawyer is one of the most emotional characters in the show. Although she was popular in school (due to her association with ex-boyfriend Nathan Scott, Lucas' half brother), she was often misunderstood by others around her. She struggled with many personal issues throughout her life, including a complicated relationship with her distant family; but she was always one of the more strong and independent characters in the story. She channeled all of her sadness and frustration into art, which she was very adept at.
OCAD University is a fitting match for Peyton, especially because it too is highly proficient in the arts. Like her, the institution is sometimes misunderstood or undervalued because of its greater focus on artistic (versus academic) excellence. Yet, in reality, OCAD students are just as smart and hardworking as other students in traditional universities. Like Peyton, they are creative, independent, and strong-willed in all of their endeavours.
Brooke Davis - Western University
If there's any character who has changed dramatically through the series, it's Brook Davis. In later seasons, she became a very successful fashion designer and entrepreneur. But she wasn't always ambitious - In high school, she was more of a free spirit who prioritized primping and partying over her studies. Such lack of direction may have been a byproduct of her privileged upbringing. Her family was very well off and she never had to worry about money when she was growing up. But, despite these circumstances, she still made a name for herself in the end and proved that she could be just as great as anyone else.
Western University is labelled with stereotypes that are similar to those which Brooke was often subjected to. Its reputation as a party school sometimes overshadows its status as a leading institution for academics and learning; but, just like Brooke, it defies those stereotypes and continues to be an influential force in today's world. Western students are smart and successful despite their proclivity to partying, and, like Brooke, many of them also possess a savvy for business.
Nathan Scott - Queens University
Nathan Scott wasn't always a friendly guy - he was quite the jerk at the beginning of the series; especially to his then outcasted half brother Lucas. Nathan initially lived a lavish lifestyle that was fueled by his parents money and his glorified position as the team captain of his high school's varsity basketball team. Throughout his high school years, he spent less time focusing on his academics and more time partying with his teammates and friends. But as the series progressed, he changed for the better; slowly transitioning from confused bully to full-fledged gentleman.
Queens University is often criticized for its over-the-top party scene. Its students are frequently categorized as spoiled and obnoxious, and their outrageous parties occasionally make local headlines in the same way that Nathan's misdemeanors sometimes did. But like Nathan, Queen's students are still motivated individuals who work hard and do not stop until their dreams are reached. No matter how much partying they've indulged in in their past, they always find a way to turn things around for themselves.
Haley James Scott - University of Waterloo
Smart, talented and boundless - such are fitting descriptors for Haley James Scott. She is perhaps the most academically smart of the characters in the show, and one of the most kindhearted too. Haley lived her life simply - she never necessitated luxury or extravagance like other characters in the show did. She was happiest when she could share her knowledge and talents with others, whether it was through tutoring or performing her music. Though her well-roundedness often made it hard for her to make clear decisions, she always managed to find her way in the end.
The University of Waterloo is similar to Haley in that it is also known for its commitment to academic excellence. Its students are some of the smartest around, and they generally go on to be some of the most valuable workers in global industries. Like Haley, Waterloo students aren't much for partying - they find greater fulfillment in activities that help them develop their skills and showcase their talents.
Antwon “Skills” Taylor - Ryerson University
Skills is the loyal best friend of Lucas. He stuck by him ever since they first met at the River Court, and together they shared a love for basketball. He took every opportunity he could to pursue it as a career. With hard work and determination, he was able to achieve his goals; becoming the coach of the Ravens at one point in the series and a sports coordinator at another. One of Skills' most useful traits is his street smarts - having lived in Tree Hill his whole life, he knew the ins and outs of town, and that came in handy on multiple occasions.
Because Ryerson University is located in the heart of downtown Toronto, its students may have same kind of street smarts that Skills has. Though the intelligence of Ryerson students is often underestimated in the same way that Skills' sometimes was, they still possess an impressive academic prowess and have multiple talents in athletics and the arts. Like Skills, Ryerson students are determined workers who do not quit until they've achieved all of their desired goals.
Dan Scott - York University
Dan Scott is a largely misunderstood character in the One Tree Hill universe. Many people characterize him as the villain of the show; however, it could be argued that he is just like any other person - a troubled individual who is trying his best to overcome his own internal struggles. Sure, he's made a few mistakes along the way; some of which were inarguably unforgivable. But there's still some good in him, and it would be wrong to characterize him as wholly evil.
York University could be compared to Dan in that it too has committed its fair share of mistakes in the past. Such mistakes were definitely not as grave as Dan's, but they still resulted in the creation of this negative perception of York that people have a hard time shaking off. Despite being misunderstood, York students still press on; proving the naysayers wrong with their many achievements and world contributions.
Whitey Durham - University of Guelph
Whitey Durham is like a voice of reason for the characters in the show. Having been the coach of the Ravens' basketball team in Tree Hill for several years, he developed quite a familiarity with the town and the things that go on in it. Whitey's most admirable quality is his friendliness - he has a kind spirit and a genuine concern for the people around him. In the show, he wanted nothing more but to see his team succeed, both in basketball and in life.
The University of Guelph has one of the kindest student bodies in the province. Its students are known for being very friendly, and they possess a massive school spirit that is neither boastful or arrogant. They are extremely loyal to their school just as Whitey is to Tree Hiil, and they always strive to be successful in their many undertakings.
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