$14-million gift launches transformation of architectural education at the University of Toronto

The University of Toronto today announced an historic $14-million gift from John and Myrna Daniels to the Faculty of Architecture, Landscape and Design, the largest ever private gift to any architecture school in Canada.

The gift will fund a major physical expansion and renovation of the Faculty and will also endow a scholarship fund for outstanding architecture, landscape and design students. In recognition of the powerful impact this gift will have on the University, U of T will name the Faculty the John H. Daniels Faculty of Architecture, Landscape & Design. John Daniels received his Bachelor of Architecture degree from U of T in 1950 and went on to become one of Canada’s most important developers of residential communities.

“The Faculty of Architecture, Landscape and Design has a fabulous tradition of contributing to the creation of beautiful and functional buildings and sustainable cities,” says David Naylor, President, University of Toronto. “The Daniels’ remarkable benefaction will play a pivotal role in the education of the next generation of architecture leaders in Canada.”

The Dean of the newly named John H. Daniels Faculty of Architecture says that this gift will help the Faculty solidify its position among the top architectural schools in North America. “We thank John and Myrna for their outstanding leadership and for providing U of T with an opportunity to recruit the country’s top students,” says George Baird. “Of the $14-million donation, $9 million is designated towards a renovation and expansion of the building the school has occupied since the 1960s.”

The rest of the gift will be designated towards an endowed fund named The John and Myrna Daniels Scholars that will be awarded annually with preference given to students who are the first in their family to attend university.

John Daniels says the gift has given him an opportunity to thank U of T for the education he received. “My education at U of T laid the foundation for a highly rewarding career and really is the basis for my success in real estate development. Housing is an essential need, everyone needs a roof, and I believe everyone can benefit from an education. I hope that this gift will enable more students to pursue their dreams.”

Long regarded as Canada’s premier university for the study of architecture, the John H. Daniels Faculty of Architecture, Landscape and Design houses the earliest established university program in Canada. Today, the Faculty offers rigorous graduate programs of study in three interrelated disciplines: architecture, landscape architecture, and urban design.

John Daniels, a proud alumnus of the University of Toronto, is an entrepreneur, architect and successful businessman who played a key role in the creation of such landmarks as Toronto’s Eaton Centre and the Toronto-Dominion Centre. He was the moving force behind the “New Town” of Erin Mills, the largest planned community in North America before founding The Daniels Corporation in 1983. Today, he is the Chairman and CEO of The Daniels Corporation a leader in the North American building industry.

Myrna Daniels is a former Professor of Speech Pathology and has worked in hospitals and universities in New York. Together with her husband John Daniels, Myrna has supported causes in health care, education and the arts. The Daniels are noted philanthropists in Toronto, New York and Israel.