The University of Toronto ( U of T , UToronto , or Toronto ) is a public research university in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, situated on the grounds that surround Queen's Park. It was founded by royal charter in 1827 as King's College , the first institution of higher learning in Upper Canada. Originally controlled by the Church of England, the university assumed the present name in 1850 upon becoming a secular institution. As a collegiate university, it comprises twelve colleges that differ in character and history, each retaining substantial autonomy on financial and institutional affairs.
Academically, the University of Toronto is noted for influential movements and curricula in literary criticism and communication theory, known collectively as the Toronto School. The university was the birthplace of insulin and stem cell research, and was the site of the first practical electron microscope, the development of multi-touch technology, the identification of Cygnus X-1 as a black hole, and the theory of NP completeness. By a significant margin, it receives the most annual research funding of any Canadian university. It is one of two members of the Association of American Universities located outside the United States.
The Varsity Blues are the athletic teams representing the university in intercollegiate league matches, with particularly long and storied ties to gridiron football and ice hockey. The university's Hart House is an early example of the North American student centre, simultaneously serving cultural, intellectual and recreational interests within its large Gothic-revival complex.
The University of Toronto has educated two Governors General and four Prime Ministers of Canada, four foreign leaders, fourteen Justices of the Supreme Court, and has been affiliated with ten Nobel laureates. The university ranks 1st in Canada and 20th in the world in the Times Higher Education World University Rankings, 1st in Canada and 28th in the Academic Ranking of World Universities, and also 1st in Canada and 17th globally in the QS World University Rankings.