The University of Toronto (U of T) is a public research university in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, situated a mile north of the city's Financial District on the grounds that surround Queen's Park. The university was founded by Royal Charter in 1827 as King's College, the first institution of higher learning in the colony of Upper Canada. Originally controlled by the Church of England, it assumed the present name in 1850 upon becoming a secular institution. As a collegiate university, it consists of twelve colleges that differ in character and history, with each retaining substantial autonomy. The university operates sixteen academic faculties, ten teaching hospitals and numerous research institutes, with two satellite campuses at Mississauga and Scarborough.
Academically, the University of Toronto is noted for influential movements and curricula in literary criticism and communication theory, where it originated the concepts of "the medium is the message" and "global village". 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 and the identification of Cygnus X-1 as a black hole. By a significant margin, it receives the most annual research funding of any Canadian university. The Varsity Blues are the athletic teams that represent 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 is consistently ranked among the world's best. In the Academic Ranking of World Universities of 2008, the University of Toronto is placed at 24th in the world; The Times Higher Education ranking of 2008 places Toronto at 41st in the world, and in the Newsweek global university ranking of 2006, Toronto ranked 18th in the world, 9th among public universities and 5th among universities outside the United States. The University of Toronto ranked as the nation's top medical-doctoral university in Maclean's magazine for twelve consecutive years between 1994 and 2005.