Skip to main content

#CollegesofTrentU: Traill Wow! Expect the Unexpected at Traill College

July 8, 2019

As the only college in downtown Peterborough, Traill is known for thinking outside the box

Trent students on the downtown Traill College campus outside of Scott House

The collegiate system shapes a huge part of the Trent experience. Within Trent’s five colleges students build community, find meaningful connections with faculty and peers, and create a “home away from home”. As part of the #CollegesofTrentU Series, we chatted with students and alum about their experiences within the colleges and what makes their college community unique. Read on to learn more about Trent’s downtown college, Traill.

With mature trees and historic buildings, Catharine Parr Traill College looks a little bit different than the modernist buildings on Trent’s Symons campus. And it is a little bit different too.

Want an example? Look no further than Traill College’s mascot…a box.  You know, because you’re meant to think outside of it.  

“It's hard to say, when the Happy Box really became a thing,” says Traill alumna Amelia Munday about the wearable green box with a painted-on happy face.

But it is, very much, a thing.

“We think [the mascot] exists because Traill is non-conforming. It has always had a rambunctious spirit, and that gives it a fun atmosphere as well, because Traill does get to be different.”

A Peterborough original: Its downtown location makes Traill College a part of the community that rallied to build the University over 50 years ago
Traill was the first of Trent’s colleges, and it is the most integrated college with the city. In fact, it is noted for being a place for all ages and interests and is well-used by local Peterborians who are taking part in Trent’s Continuing Education program including classes in bee keeping, American Sign Language, photography, and even how to raise backyard chickens.

“Traill College students have a closer relationship with the Peterborough community,” says Ms. Munday, “And their transition to off- campus living is often a little easier. They're already used to living in a downtown setting. Traill has smaller buildings, a small café and a pub with live music, trivia and karaoke. It's just a good place to meet -- one of those places that most people discover in their upper years. So, it does have a little bit of a mature feel to it.”

Traill’s identity is also closely linked to the departments of English Literature, Canadian Studies, Cultural Studies, Media Studies and Law that call the college home. Traill students may lose themselves in their books, but they will never be lost in the crowd! Things really get exciting in the evenings at Traill for undergraduate and graduate students alike. Movies and media nights, musical and theatrical performances, guest speakers on history and law as well as the Writers Reading Series – featuring some of Canada’s best authors – are popular events. 

Fast Facts about Traill College:

  • Named for Catharine Parr Traill a noted botanist and figure of nineteenth-century literature with works including The Backwoods of Canada and Canadian Wildflowers
  • Dining options range from homestyle meals to pub favourites at The Trend restaurant
  • Walkable distance from Downtown Peterborough
  • Home to the Traill Law Community, a collegiate living learning community for scholars in the Law & Arts and Law & Business dual degree programs
  • Has single, double and triple residence room options
  • Has unique historic buildings, many built in the late nineteenth century and named for historic women of the day
  • Home to Wallis Hall, designed by master architect Ronald Thom, his only brick structure at Trent University