Charter Day is celebrated annually and commemorates the founding of Victoria College in Cobourg, Ontario, in 1836. Victoria College was originally founded as the Upper Canada Academy by the Wesleyan Methodist Church. In 1831, a church committee decided to locate the academy on four acres (1.6 hectares) of land in Cobourg, Ontario, east of Toronto, because of its central location in a large town and access by land and water.
As the Upper Canadian government was hesitant to provide a charter to a Methodist institution, the college’s first principal, Egerton Ryerson, was granted a royal charter for the institution from King William IV in England. The school officially opened to male and female students on October 12, 1836, with Ryerson as the first president and Matthew Ritchie as principal.
Victoria University was formed in 1884 when Victoria College and Albert College federated with each other. In 1890, Victoria University federated with the University of Toronto. In 1892, Victoria University moved from Cobourg to its current campus on Queen's Park Crescent, south of Bloor Street (at Charles Street West), in Toronto. It comprises Victoria College, an arts and science college of U of T, and Emmanuel College, a theological college associated with the United Church of Canada.
The Charter Day Convocation is held every October to celebrate and recognize the academic achievements of Victoria College students.