CANADA’S OLDEST UNIVERSITY OPENS
Université Laval was given its Royal Charter by Queen Victoria on this day in 1852. But Laval, the oldest postsecondary institution in Canada, traces its roots much further back. It was founded in 1663 as the Quebec Seminary by François de Montmorency-Laval, the first Bishop of Quebec. It was the pre-eminent educational institution of New France, where priests were trained before setting out for the colony’s rural parishes.
By 1878 it had opened a second campus in Mon- treal, which became the University of Montreal in 1920. With the expansion of access to higher education after the Second World War, Laval moved to a new and larger modernist campus at Sainte-Foy, just outside Quebec City. As the Quiet Revolution transformed Quebec society, Laval became a secular, publicly funded school.
Today, the university boasts nearly 50,000 students and is one of Canada’s leading research institutions, crucial to the formation of Quebec’s intellectual and professional classes.