Woodsworth College was founded on January 1, 1974. Its founding was the work of dozens of students, faculty and staff that spanned over a decade. Prior to Woodsworth, part time students and continuing education students were part of the Department of Extension, a division that had existed since 1894. While Extension was successful and popular, over time, non-traditional students wanted more inclusion and more freedom to take courses offered throughout the University, not just Extension courses. Starting with the 1956 Plateau Committee, developments for a college for part-time students commenced, and with the push from the newly formed APUS (1968) by 1973 Extension was ready to be dissolved and split into the School of Continuing Studies and Woodsworth College. Keeping with the spirit in which the college was founded, students were called upon to submit name ideas for the college. The winning entry: Woodsworth College, after J.S. Woodsworth, a leading Canadian politician who had been an ardent supporter of updating social policies and increasing educational opportunities for all, regardless of social or financial standing. From the very beginning, Woodsworth was truly a place where all who wanted to study could belong.
The College became the administrative home for the predominantly part-time student body in the Faculty of Arts and Science at UofT. Its first physical home was the Victorian house at 119 St. George Street once belonging to Alexander MacArthur.
As its student population grew so did the demand for more space. In 1992 the new award winning building, designed by KPMB Architects, was opened which provided much needed classrooms, study space and a cafe as well as the beautiful Peter F. Bronfman Courtyard.
In 2004 a 371 bed residence was added, designed by the leading architectural firm architects Alliance. Woodsworth College is honoured to have its first residence at the key intersection of Bloor Street and St. George Street, the northern gateway to the historic St. George Campus. The Woodsworth College Residence strives to provide our students an exceptional residence experience in a modern building.