A campus building in front of colourful fall trees.
Friday, December 18 - 2020
Kristina Doyle

2020 was a year of firsts, learning, innovation, and growth for the University of Toronto Scarborough community. It was a year that challenged us—but also brought out the best in our community. Here's 20 of the many moments from the past year that are worth remembering.

1.    We asked McDonald’s for old deep fryer oil

The local Scarborough McDonald’s was the only restaurant to respond to the slightly odd request from Professor Andre Simpson’s lab – and we’re so glad they did. The researchers turned the waste cooking oil into a high-resolution, biodegradable resin for 3D printing for the first time ever.



*attempts to 3D print more fries* #utsc #uoft #science #3dprinting #mcdonalds #chemistry #stem #sustainable

♬ Piece Of Your Heart - Meduza & Goodboys


2.    We caught up on (or aspired to do) some reading

Some people found themselves with a bit more time at home to indulge in a good book. U of T Scarborough faculty and students were quick to offer up suggestions.


3.    We supported our local Scarborough community

With a much quieter campus than usual, we had lots of space to share with Scarborough community partners to provide easy access to food and warm COVID-19 testing facilities.


4.    We celebrated Chinese New Year

In January, we visited the Sunny Tang Martial Arts Centre in Scarborough to hear the fable of the Nian monster from Head Coach Alan Tang. 


5.    We announced a new space for Indigenous students, staff and faculty to come together

With the contributions of Indigenous elders and community members, Indigenous House draws inspiration from a wigwam, while the surrounding landscape will include birch trees and native plants that have cultural significance to local Indigenous communities.



6.    We partnered with campuses across Canada to take action on anti-Black racism 

More than 3,000 members of the higher education community, and close to 60 partner institutions across Canada, came together for the inaugural National Dialogues and Action for Inclusive Higher Education and Communities.


7.    We all pitched in to protect our healthcare heroes

When supplies of personal protective equipment (PPE) was sparse, U of T Scarborough staff 3D-printed face shields and sewed face masks, while faculty rounded up extra equipment that could be spared for healthcare workers.



8.    We started construction on a new home for students—and the largest passive house project of its kind in North America 

750 students will call this building home, which offers a rooftop terrace and views of the tree groves to the north.




9.    We were #1 in Canada

U of T grads were some of the world’s most employable, and we remain Canada’s top University.


10.    We helped students living in residence feel at home

340 care packages were delivered to students living at U of T Scarborough – just a small reminder that we’re here to help.



11.    We learned to work, teach and study from home

Students, staff and faculty demonstrated resiliency and resourcefulness as we all learned a new way of learning, working and teaching. 




12.    We planned a major student hub for north campus 

IC2 will have nearly 18,500 m2 (about 199,000 sq. ft.) of academic space including 21 technology-enhanced classrooms and lecture halls, labs, as well as study spaces, lounges and open seating areas for students to hang out.



13.    We embarked on a new five-year plan for U of T Scarborough to inspire inclusive excellence 

Eight working groups of students, staff, alumni, and faculty consulted with more than 1,100 people from inside and outside our campus to present their findings, which have been encapsulated into a new strategic plan for our campus.


14.    We had important discussions about anti-Black racism on the New Normal podcast 

U of T Scarborough Professor Maydianne Andrade launched a new podcast, The New Normal, with the aim of exploring how the COVID-19 pandemic was affecting our lives. In the wake of George Floyd’s death, the podcast topic shifted to tackle anti-Black racism, equity and social justice.


15.    We celebrated the UTSC class of 2020 around the world

In a historic first, convocation ceremonies were celebrated virtually so graduates and their families could watch safely from homes around the globe.


16.    We toasted to a socially-distant Pride

You could feel the love, even from a distance! U of T Scarborough student Alfonso led the celebrations with rainbow jello cups.



17.    We shared lessons of wisdom and hope

From supporting our mental health during challenging times, to innovating your business practices, U of T Scarborough faculty and alumni shared valuable knowledge to the world.


18.    We kept learning important things about our environment

Polar bears, coho salmon and air quality were a few of the subjects being studied in U of T Scarborough labs.



big yikes 🐟😰 ##utsc ##uoft ##salmon ##research ##environment ##environmentalscience

♬ Beautiful Day - Kitsune


19.    We didn’t let the pandemic stop us from helping others

Staff, faculty and students thought of creative ways to make the world a better place, near and far. 



20.    We showcased some incredible UTSC entrepreneurs and startups

The new products, services and ideas coming out of The Hub are incredible.