The origins of the word Skule™ come from the School of Practical Science (SPS), which was the name of the engineering school at the University before it was officially absorbed as the Faculty of Applied Science and Engineering. The name was engraved in a large lintel stone above the entrance of the old Skulehouse. Students referred to the SPS simply as "School", even long after the Faculty became a part of the University.
The first recorded usage of the word Skule™ appeared in a 1943 School Nite programme, which listed the revue as "Skule Nite". From then on, a new era of spelling began. When asked, students often said that this was the "metric spelling" of 'School'.
For several years, both School and Skule™ were used in referring to the Engineering Faculty. The general rule of thumb was to use School for more formal occasions. Controversy surrounding the use of Skule continued for some time. Many thought that Skule was degrading to the old School of Practical Science.
In 1966, the Schoolhouse was torn down to make room for the Medical Science Building, effectively removing the last link with SPS. After this, Skule was used almost exclusively.
The lintel stone from the old Schoolhouse was moved to the Galbraith quadrangle by the class of 2T3 in 1967 "to commemorate the engineers who developed transportation, mines and industry in Canada and who received their professional training in the School of Practical Science". The stone was later moved into the lobby of Galbraith Building.
'Skule™' has since become strongly associated with the University of Toronto engineering experience, with references to Skule™ Life, Skule™ Alumni, Skulebook, etc. It is a unique symbol that University of Toronto engineering students and alumni can easily identify.
A Brief History of Skule™[edit | edit source]
The University of Toronto Engineering Society's origins date back to the late 1800's. It was the year 1885 and Canada was about to get its first Engineering Society, the world would change forever. The first President was Professor John Galbraith, who served for 4 terms. Taking his place was H. E. T. Haultain, the first student president of the Engineering Society. The objectives of the Society according to the constitution were:
The encouraging of original research in the Science of Engineering. The preservation of the results of such research. The dissemination of these results among its members. The cultivation of a spirit of mutual assistance among the members in the practice of the profession of engineering. Through the years these objectives have changed, and eventually found their way to the society that we know and love now. This being one that provides services for the students and speaks as a united voice for the undergraduate population. It should be noted that Haultian, later a professor, was the one who approached Kipling and saw the first Iron Ring ceremony take place in 1925.
The Engineering Society is home to many traditions, most of which dating back many years. The colours blue and gold were selected to represent the society in the 1891-92 school year. The School Yell, which follows each firing of the Mighty Skule™ Cannon, originated in the year 1920. This is the first time "Toike Oike" (pronounced toy-kee-oyk) is seen, and the meaning is unknown. This later became the name of the School's election paper in 1910, eventually to become the infamous "official" humour newspaper of Skule™. In 1979 this was complimented by the addition of "the Cannon", a serious newspaper that is still published by the Engineering Society.
Perhaps one of the larger traditions of Skule™ started on March 2, 1921 at Massey Hall and was named "Ngynyrs in SPaSms". The show was extremely well received, and in the year 1923 it was moved to Hart House with ulterior motives. At the time, Hart House was only open to those of the male persuasion, and the move was an attempt to bring women into the great facilities. The show was only a small part of the evening, as almost the whole house was opened up for displays. This was known as "School Night", which became "School Nite" and eventually "Skule™ Nite" as it is known today. The spelling "Skule" originated in the 1943 School Nite programme. It took some time for this name to stick, as many felt that it degraded the name of the School of Practical Science. In 1966 the old schoolhouse, which bore the title "School of Practical Science" on the lintel stone, was the only remaining building from the SPS, was torn down to make room for the Medical Science Building. Even though the School was incorporated into the university in 1906 as the Faculty of Applied Science and Engineering it took this last step to break the attachment with the name of the SPS. From this point forward Skule™ would be the name that was associated with U of T Engineering. It wasn't until the year 1984 that the Engineering Society gained ownership of this name, hence the "TM".
Perhaps the most glorious traditions that those at Skule™ are proud to call their own is that of the Mighty Skule™ Cannon. Cannons were a part of life at SPS even before 1900, however the Society did not have its own Cannon until 1936. Much can be said about The Cannon, however that is beyond the scope of this history. All that is forgotten when one hears the Earth Shattering Ka-boom that is released every time our beloved Mascot is fired. It is a large part of our pride that although The Cannon has been stolen before, those outside the University of Toronto have never done it.
Second in the Trilogy of great Skule™ symbols is the Lady Godiva Memorial Bnad. A. J. Paul La Praire, then Direktor of Kultural Aktivities, he undertook the duty of founding the LGMB. The ideals of the LGMB have changed little over the years, and as a result they have had a healthy following, which can be seen at various events across the University community and city. Membership is made up of those who show up, and practice is strictly forbidden.
The third and final piece of the Skule™ triumvirate is the mythical Brute Force Committee, which I may add does not exist, never did exist, and never will exist. That said, the capers that they may or may not perform have no place in this history, and will no longer be talked about.
The remaining aspects of the Engineering Society include a number of services that every student uses at some point in their trek towards the Iron Ring. Whether it be Engineering Stores, where students can buy Skule™ clothing, text books and supplies at the lowest prices around, or Suds, where they can enjoy a BEvERage or three with classmates on Friday afternoons, or the Skulebook that has all their memories preserved permanently. The Engineering Athletics Association, and other independent organizations work together to ensure that our short 4, 5 or 6 years at Skule™ are ones that we look back at fondly, and will continue to do so as long as problem sets are copied and projects are left to the last minute.
Written by Paul Graham, Archivist 0T1-0T2, on August 27, 2001
With facts provided by Barry Lavine in "A Century of Skill and Vigour", published 1985