History and Architecture
The Establishment of LEC
The Lady Eaton College (LEC) building plan was announced on May 14th 1964. The College was officially established in 1968 when the unveiling of the cornerstone took place on February 27th.
Lady Eaton was the second college to welcome students on the Symons Campus (then the Nassau Campus) and was established as an all-female college.
An exception to this rule was made right off the bat, however. Forty men, who dubbed themselves the “Lady Wenonah Men,” lived in the North Wing of the LEC residence due to a shortage of rooms at Champlain College. Rather than use the nearby Wenonah Motel as an annex, as other Champlainers had done, they were housed in the empty wing at Lady Eaton College during that inaugural year.
The College officially became co-ed in 1972 with 150 votes in favour of the change and 122 votes against the change.
The Architecture of LEC
Lady Eaton was designed by the famous Canadian architect Ron Thom and in many respects offers the perfect design of a university college: two residence wings and a commons block that surround an inner court (simply called the “quad”), where students can meet friends, play games and relax.
The College is intended to blend into the environment surrounding it, and was designed to add to the view of the drumlin rather than obscure it. Inside the College, there are many remarkable spaces that enchant whomever walks into them. The light features in the dining hall and senior common room are hand-crafted and are a homage to the architect Frank Lloyd Wright.
Much of the furniture throughout the College is hand crafted and designed by either Ron Thom or his wife and can be seen throughout the College. Members of the College appreciate how the College is tucked away in the base of the drumlin away from the hubbub of the university.
Florence McCrae was born November 26, 1879 in Omemee Ontario. She was the youngest of eight children, trained as a nurse, married John Craig Eaton, and helped manage the Eaton Company even after his passing.
Lady Eaton was a philanthropist, lover of the arts, a mother of six, and a world traveler. She was made an Honorary Fellow of the College in 1968, when she also donated a collection of Inuit art to the College as well as her portrait.
She was chosen as the College’s namesake partly because Trent’s mandate mirrored her values and because she held such a keen interest in history, art, culture, and literature. Lady Eaton was originally going to be made the Vice-Principal of the College.
She was a remarkable woman who knew no limits, at the height of the Eaton Company’s success she was regarded as Mrs. Canada.
An Exhibition on the History of LEC
In 2019/2020, Cultural Studies student, Shannon Featherston, undertook an internship with Lady Eaton College wherein she delved deep into its history to create an exhibition. Currently the exhibition is on display in the Lady Eaton Dining Hall and consists of 9 panels packed full of information.
To view an accessible pdf of the exhibit please follow this link:Lady Eaton College History Exhibition pdf Please note that if you are viewing this on your phone it is best experienced horizontally.