Statue of Egerton Ryerson

A statue of Egerton Ryerson by Hamilton MacCarthy was installed on the grounds of Ryerson University in Toronto, now known as Toronto Metropolitan University, until 2021.[1][2][3][4]

Statue of Egerton Ryerson
Egerton Ryerson - Statue on Ryerson Campus 20051208.JPG
The statue in 2005
ArtistHamilton MacCarthy
SubjectEgerton Ryerson
LocationToronto, Canada


The statue in 1890, as photographed by Josiah Bruce

The novelist Graeme Gibson draped the flag of the United States around the statue in a 1970 protest against the sale of Ryerson Press to the American publishers McGraw Hill Education for $2 million (equivalent to $13,955,441 in 2021).[5] Gibson led protesters in a rendition of "I'm a Yankee Doodle Dandy" after climbing down from the statue.[5]

The statue attracted significant criticism in the 2010s due to Ryerson's role in the creation of the Canadian Indian residential school system. In 2018, a plaque was officially installed on the statue that contextualizes and acknowledged Ryerson's involvement in the history of the Canadian Indian residential school system. The plaque contains the following text:

This plaque serves as a reminder of Ryerson University's commitment to moving forward in the spirit of truth and reconciliation. Egerton Ryerson is widely known for his contributions to Ontario's public educational system. As Chief Superintendent of Education, Ryerson's recommendations were instrumental in the design and implementation of the Indian Residential School System. In 2015, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada concluded that the assimilation amounted to cultural genocide.[6]

Beneath this text are the following two quotations:

"Let us put our minds together to see what kind of lives we can create for our children" – Chief Sitting Bull

"For the child taken, for the parent left behind" – Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada[7]

In July 2020, three people were arrested for splattering pink paint on the statue – in addition to two others of John A. Macdonald and King Edward VII at the Ontario Legislature – as part of a demand to tear down the monuments. Black Lives Matter Toronto claimed responsibility for the actions stating that "The action comes after the City of Toronto and the Province of Ontario have failed to take action against police violence against Black people." Three people were each charged with three counts of mischief under $5,000 and conspiracy to commit a summary offence;[8] the charges were dropped the following year.[9]

On June 1, 2021, following the discovery of 215 unmarked graves at the Kamloops Indian Residential School, the statue was vandalized again, this time with red paint.[10] On June 6, the statue was toppled, decapitated and thrown into Toronto Harbour; what was then Ryerson University stated that the statue will not be restored or replaced.[11][12] The head of the statue was subsequently placed on a pike at the Six Nations of the Grand River near Caledonia, Ontario.[13]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ "Egerton Ryerson". Toronto Sculpture. Retrieved June 14, 2021.
  2. ^ Saba, Rosa (June 6, 2021). "Protesters behead toppled statue of Egerton Ryerson following rally honouring residential school victims". Archived from the original on June 8, 2021. Retrieved June 8, 2021.
  3. ^ "Statue of Egerton Ryerson, toppled after Toronto rally, 'will not be restored or replaced'". CBC. June 6, 2021. Archived from the original on June 7, 2021. Retrieved 2021-06-08.
  4. ^ John Warkentin (2010). Creating Memory: A Guide to Outdoor Public Sculpture in Toronto. Becker Associates. p. 15. ISBN 978-0-919387-60-7.
  5. ^ a b Scott McLaren (15 November 2019). Pulpit, Press, and Politics: Methodists and the Market for Books in Upper Canada. University of Toronto Press. p. 195. ISBN 978-1-4426-2663-8.
  6. ^ "Honouring the Truth, Reconciling for the Future: Summary of the Final Report of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada" (PDF). National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation. Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada. 31 May 2015. Archived from the original (PDF) on 6 July 2016. Retrieved 28 June 2016.
  7. ^ Sloan, Will (July 10, 2018). "Plaque unveiling a step towards truth and reconciliation". Retrieved August 22, 2018.
  8. ^ Draaisma, Muriel (July 18, 2020). "Police charge 3 people after Black Lives Matter protesters splatter paint on statues in Toronto". CBC news. Retrieved July 21, 2020.
  9. ^ "Charges withdrawn against three protesters in paint attacks on Ryerson, Macdonald statues". June 16, 2021.
  10. ^ Wilson, Kerissa (2021-06-01). "Ryerson statue honouring architect of Canada's residential school system vandalized again". CP24. Retrieved 2021-06-01.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  11. ^ "A message from President Lachemi on the removal of the Egerton Ryerson statue". Ryerson University. Retrieved 2021-06-07.
  12. ^ "School task force on Egerton Ryerson legacy won't speed up report despite protests". 6 June 2021.
  13. ^ "The head of the statue of Egerton Ryerson now on a spike at Land Back Lane in Caledonia, Ont". 10 June 2021.

External linksEdit