Knox College Announces Agreement with University of Toronto on Future of Historic Properties
March 25, 2022
Knox College and the University of Toronto have signed a Letter of Intent (LOI) in a key step towards the UofT purchasing the iconic Knox College properties in the heart of the University campus.
Under the terms of the LOI, the University of Toronto will acquire the Knox College properties for $45 million and lease back to Knox College the academic wing (on King’s College Circle) for the continuing operation of a theological school for The Presbyterian Church in Canada (PCC) for 40 years.
“This is an important opportunity that unlocks the value of the Knox College properties. It frees the College from the responsibility of owning and operating the whole building and will allow us to focus our efforts and resources on our programs and mission,” said Dr. John Vissers, Principal, Knox College.
“We will have ongoing use of the classrooms, offices, chapel and the library in the East Wing for up to 40 years, so the school will continue to operate in much the same way,” Dr. Vissers added. “The rich student experience will only be enhanced as we are able to focus more deeply on advancing theological education.”
“This agreement is truly momentous for the University of Toronto,” said Scott Mabury, U of T’s vice-president, operations and real estate partnerships. “The Knox College building has been a beloved part of the St. George campus for over a century – with the grandeur of Front Campus owing much to the property.
“The chance to acquire such a historic gem to help meet the future needs of students, faculty and staff – while also being able to continue U of T’s longstanding relationship with Knox College – makes this opportunity one the university simply couldn’t afford to pass up,” Mabury added.
The LOI has been approved by the Knox College Board of Governors, The Assembly Council, and the Trustee Board of The Presbyterian Church in Canada, as well as the Business Board of the University of Toronto.
“The LOI provides a solid basis for the continuing and uninterrupted work of Knox College on the University of Toronto campus in partnership with the Toronto School of Theology and the University of Toronto, “ said Dr. Vissers. “It positions Knox College well for success in advancing theological education for the long term.”
“The Knox College building holds fond and deep memories for many of us in The Presbyterian Church in Canada. Around 70% of our ordained ministers today are graduates of Knox,” said Stephen Kendall, Principal Clerk, PCC. “Although difficult because of the emotional connection, this decision is grounded in ensuring a strong future for theological education, a central part of our mission as a church. It is in the best interests of both the College and the PCC.”
The next step is to finalize the Agreement of Purchase and Sale (APS).
Find more information about this topic here — including a letter from Knox’s Principal, a statement from Knox’s Board Convener, and a list of FAQs.