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37 Things You Didn't Know About York University

Other than the fact they're constantly on strike.
37 Things You Didn't Know About York University

York University was established in 1959, so in the almost 60 years since, it's fair to say that we've got quite a few fun facts surrounding our school. The institution may not have been around for a relatively long time, but it already has over 300,000 alumni in the GTA and across the world.Whether it's notable alumni, programs unique in all of Canada, or the occasional ghost story, you're guaranteed to learn something new about York U from the list below. How much do you know about York's half-decade history?

Whether it's the numerous notable alumni, programs unique in all of Canada, or the occasional ghost story, you're guaranteed to learn something new about York U from the list below. How much do you know about York's half-decade history?

1. Glendon Campus was the original York University - the property was purchased from U of T for just $1 in the 1950s.

2. Former NDP leader Jack Layton completed his Masters and PhD at York, then was a professor at the university in the 1970s-80s.

3. York offered Canada's first ever gender and sexuality class.

4. At least a third of York students speak a second language.

5. York was built in the 1960s during the Cold War, and rumour has it that the university was built so far out from the city centre (just outside the blast radius of nuclear weapons at the time) in the event of a nuclear attack on Toronto.

6. York owns part of a rainforest called "Las Nubes" in Costa Rica.

7. York also brews its own brand of "Las Nubes" fair trade sustainable coffee.

8. With over 50,000 students, York is the 3rd largest university in Canada.

9. York's motto is "tentanda via" meaning "the way must be tried."

10. Over 3 million people pass through York's libraries each year.

11. Rachel McAdams graduated from York's Fine Arts theatre program in 2001.

12. Then she came back to film The Time Traveller's Wife (2009) at York's Glendon campus.

13. Bethune College was named after a Canadian doctor who went to China and fought for the Communist side in the Chinese civil war, and was also friends with Chinese communist leader Mao.

14. York is home to the only space engineering program in Canada.

15. York's psychology program is the largest in all of North America.

16. York's Film Department stakes claim to the oldest film school in Canada.

17. York's first class was held in September 1960 in Falconer Hall at U of T with a total of 76 students.

18. York was considered a feeder campus for U of T for about 5 years until it became an officially separate institution in 1965.

19. York offered the first undergraduate program in Canada for dance in 1970.

20. Over 6000 cups of coffee are sold on campus every single day.

21. American Psycho 2: All American Girl (2002) was filmed at York.

22. When York's first campus was inherited from U of T, the will stated that no building can be built higher than the trees - the previous owner's wishes are still respected to this day on the Glendon campus with no building higher than three stories.

23. York was named one of Canada's greenest employers in 2013, and for the past four years since.

24. Good luck trying to purchase bottled water on campus - York's been phasing them out since 2015 and replacing them with refill stations and drinking fountains in an effort to reduce plastic waste.

25. York was featured on 8-cent Canada Post stamps back in 1972.

26. Canada's first Women's Studies PhD program launched in 1992 with just five students.

27. Before there were York Lions... there were York Yeomen. The name was changed in 2003 to be gender-neutral.

28. York's only officially recognized fraternity is Phi Delta Phi, an international legal fraternity at Osgoode Law School.

29. Apparently, according to the official Osgoode Hall newspaper, people used to regularly swim in the pond behind Osgoode.

30. The Health, Nursing & Environmental Studies building was originally Schulich territory - the top-ranked business school moved to its new, current building in 2003.

31. Nearly 1400 buses pass through York each day - looks like whenever that subway station finally gets done, it'll prove quite useful!

32. On that note, over 80% of York students use public transportation or some other form of alternative transport to get to school - likely because of those high parking fees.

33. Lilly Singh AKA Superwoman on YouTube graduated with a psychology degree from York in 2010.

34. Astronaut and physicist Steve MacLean is also a notable alumni, earning his BSc in '77 and his PhD in '83.

35. Believe it or not, but York's Glendon campus is said to have its fair share of ghost stories, particularly one about a former student who committed suicide on campus and now haunts Leslie Frost library.

36.  Stand in the very centre of the Vari Hall Rotunda to take advantage of a pretty thunderous, fun echo effect.

37. When York faculty went on strike for 7 weeks in 1997, it was the longest strike in Canadian university history - this 'record' was later broken by their 12-week strike during the 2008-9 school year.

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