Founded in 1827, the University of Toronto is the top university in Canada and holds 29th rank globally as per QS World University Rankings 2020. Regarded as one of the best universities in Canada for international students, it’s alumni consist of over half a million globally. In this blog, we bring you a list of the University of Toronto notable alumni who have attained success in different fields. Let’s take a look!
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20 Most Famous University of Toronto Alumni
Looking for the most famous Alumni of University of Toronto? Here are the 10 most famous celebrities and world’s great personalities who are popular as University of Toronto notable alumni:
- Frederick Banting, Medical Scientist, Physician, Painter, and Nobel Laureate
- Lester B. Pearson, Canadian Politician and Diplomat
- Margaret Atwood, Writer, Poet, Essayist and Environmental Activist
- Donald Sutherland: Actor, 8-time Golden Globe Nominee, Primetime Emmy Award Winner
- James Orbinski, Author, Humanitarian
- Paul Shaffer, Canadian Singer, Composer & Multi-instrumentalist
- John Kenneth Galbraith, American-Canadian Economist
- Roberta Bondar, the First Female Astronaut of Canada and the First-ever Neurologist in Space
- William Lyon Mackenzie King, Canadian Statesman, 10th Prime Minister of Canada
- Michael Ondaatje, Canadian-Sri Lankan Poet
- David Cronenberg, Film Director, Screenwriter and Actor
- Bob Rae, Present Ambassador of Canada to the United Nations
- John McCrae, Canadian Poet & WW I Soldier
- Paul Martin, Canadian Politician, 21st Prime Minister of Canada
- Sergio Marchionne, Italian-Canadian Businessman
- Brian Kernighan, Computer Scientist
- Norman Jewison, Actor, Producer, Film Director and the Founder of Canadian Film Centre
- Norman Johnson, Mathematician
- Naomi Klein, Author, Filmmaker and Social Activist
- Erving Goffman, Sociologist, Social Psychologist and Writer
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Considered among the most famous of the University of Toronto notable alumni, Frederick Banting was born on 14th November 1891 in Canada. A man of many talents, he was a medical scientist, painter and physician. He initially enrolled in the general arts program at the University of Toronto, but later joined its medical program in 1912. He also worked as a lecturer in pharmacology at the university between 1921 and 1922. The co-discoverer of insulin, he was the joint recipient of the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in the year 1923. He died on 21st February 1941.
James Orbinski is a physician, humanitarian activist and author in Canada, who is also one of the leading scholars in the area of global health. Counted among the notable alumni of the University of Toronto, he was born in England in 1960. He completed his master’s in international relations from the University of Toronto in 1998. Along with serving as a professor at the Faculty of Medicine, University of Toronto, he has also held various prestigious positions such as the CIGI Chair in Global Health Governance at the Balsillie School of International Affairs and Wilfrid Laurier University, Chair of Global Health at the Dalla Lana School of Public Health etc.
Born on 30th November 1872, John McCrae was a Canadian poet, author, artist and physician, most famous for writing the war poem In Flanders Fields. He completed his BA and later joined the medical program at the University of Toronto, of which he is one of the most notable alumni. He served as a soldier during the first World War where he was also active in treating the wounded soldiers. He died of pneumonia in January, 1918, while the war was still ongoing, and was buried with full military honours.
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Founder of the Canadian film Centre, former film director, actor and producer Norman Frederick Jewison is among the most notable alumni of the University of Toronto. He completed his BA from the university in 1949. A famous Canadian director, his works have earned him nominations for the Academy Award for Best Director thrice. Some of the acclaimed movies directed by him include In the Heat of the Night (1967), Fiddler on the Roof (1971) A Soldier’s Story (1984), Moonstruck (1987) and The Hurricane (1999).
Another notable alumni of the University of Toronto, Margaret Eleanor Atwood was born on 18th November 1939 in Ottawa, Canada. A famous novelist, poet, literary critic, environmental activist and teacher, Atwood has published more than 50 books (including novels, poetry, fiction and nonfiction) along with smaller publications. She graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in English (hons) degree from the University of Toronto in 1961. She has received the Booker prize twice for her works, along with a number of awards including the Franz Kafka Prize, Trillium Book Award, Governor General’s Award and the Los Angeles Times Book Prize. Some of her works have also been adapted into films and television series.
William Lyon Mackenzie King
Born on 17th December 1874, William Lyon Mackenzie King was the dominant figure in Canadian politics between the 1920 and 1940s. Considered among the most notable alumni of the University of Toronto, he obtained 3 degrees from the university – Bachelor of Arts (1895) , Bachelor of Laws (1896) and Master of Arts (1897). He was the 10th prime minister of Canada, who was well known for his leadership during the second World War. He was the longest serving prime minister in the history of Canada, where he held office for more than 21 years. He died on 22nd July 1950.
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