• 1 Rev. Adolphus Egerton Ryerson

    Rev. Adolphus Egerton Ryerson (1803-82) was an education reformer, author and clergyman born near Vittoria, Upper Canada (Ontario). After Ryerson recovered from a prolonged illness in 1825, he became a Methodist minister. He visited parishes throughout York (Toronto) and became a missionary to the Mississauga First Nations along the Credit River. In 1835, Ryerson was instrumental in obtaining a charter for the Upper Canada Academy at Cobourg, and later became the institution’s first principal when the academy was raised to the status of a university (later renamed Victoria College). In 1844, Ryerson was nominated to take charge of the school system of Upper Canada. As head of the Department of Public Instruction, he established the basis of Ontario’s present system of secular public education, building on the non-denominational school system already established by the Upper Canada Schools Act of 1850. Ryerson instituted a single educational system that embraced curriculum, inspection, Canadian-made textbooks, teacher training and certification of the province’s schools. After his retirement in 1876, Ryerson focused on writing several monographs. He died in Toronto in February 1882.

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