History & Architecture
Naming Otonabee College
During the planning stages of the college, we were referred to as College V (a reference to being the fifth College at Trent University). It was Professor Kenneth E. Kidd, from the Anthropology department, who provided a written recommendation to Stewart A. Brown for "Otonabee" to be considered for the college.
Between 1970-72, a naming committee was struck to put forth and collect suggestions for names. Other candidates on the list included “Kawartha,” “Norman Bethune,” “Lester B. Pearson,” “Kidnosh,” “Ojibway,” “Kinomagawin,” “Wendakee,” etc. The Naming Committee put forth a request for opinions in an edition of the Fortnightly, Dec. 4, 1972 and the choice was between Kinomagawin (Algonquin for 'place of thinking'), Otonabee, and Wendakee ('Huronia'). The committee received a variety of responses in support for options on the list, strong opinions against the names, many who thought it should remain College V and recommendations for new candidates.
In December 1972, College V was officially named Otonabee College. The north residence wing opened in 1973 and the south residence wing in 1974. The architect was Macy Dubois of Fairfield and Dubois.
Reference: The Trent University Archives
Macy Dubois of DuBois, Strong and Bindhardt firm (formerly known as Fairfield and Dubois) was interviewed in The Canadian Architect (vol. 20, No. 7), which was published July 1975. The following are some of their comments on the Otonabee College project.
“The program for the college was put together by a group headed by Professor Ian Chapman, which had three faculty and three student members. Although we sat in on all of these program meetings, ours was more a listening capacity. The students were very much equal contributors and were crucial to the final program form.” (The Canadian Architect, p. 23)
Dubois on the terra cotta roof of Otonabee College: “We discovered the terra cotta roofing we used to provide warmth when seen in the winter landscape turned out to seem a cooler colour outside as opposed to inside. There were those who strongly defended the colour while others opposed it. Although (Ron) Thom wanted us to use a cooler colour still I would have preferred an earthier tone. These shed roofs and grey block walls were consciously developed in a kind of barn idiom, the dominant element in the rural landscape with painted roofs and weathered cedar siding. Knowing this, the students called it "Superbarn", referring particularly to the academic and Student Union portion at the foot of the hill, an appellation we admire.” (The Canadian Architect, p. 24)
“To us, the Otonabee College seems less formal than its predecessors on campus, more rural and regional in character… We would also say that we found the personality of the staff and students different from many other institutions for which we have worked. We hope that Otonabee College is as friendly an environment as the people who directed us deserve.” (The Canadian Architect, p. 24)