The Expert Professor: C.R. Young and the Toronto Building Code

James Hull


In their insatiable thirst for funding, contemporary universities eagerly cast themselves as important agents of economic well-being. While the particular contexts and forms for this agency may be novel, such a role is not. Historians have long identified the significance of academic institutions to economic development at a number of levels. At the national level, the importance of the Technische Hochschulen and the Land Grant colleges to German and American leadership in the Second Industrial Revolution is well known while the significance of its system of higher education to a putative British industrial decline is more controversial (Oleson and Voss 1979, Sinclair 1980, Fox and Guagnini 1993, Dienel 1995, Edgerton 1996, Pfammatter 2000). At the sub-national level, taking the example of Ontario, Canada, McKillop (1994, 149) observes that “an adjustment of universities to the conditions and requirements of industrial life was an essential ingredient in economic competition and development,” with no university “untouched by the province’s industrial revolution and the secular gospel of research.” At the municipal level, in their study of three US cities, Kargon and Knowles (2002, 1) have seen local institutions of higher education “reacting quickly and creatively to unpredictable demands for expertise.” It is this function of universities, or rather of their professoriates, as sources of local expertise which forms the focus of this paper...

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