Our History

Pharmacy education in Ontario traces back to 1868, when informal academic experiments comprised the principal educational practices. In 1882, the Ontario College of Pharmacy (now Pharmacists) began operating the pharmacy school that ultimately became part of the University of Toronto in 1953. In 2001, the Faculty was renamed the Leslie Dan Faculty of Pharmacy in honour of alumnus Leslie Dan, who donated $13 million to ensure that the Faculty continued to grow and blossom into a worldwide leader in pharmacy education and research. Through this 140-year history, pharmaceutical education in Ontario evolved considerably.

In 1868, pharmacy education consisted of a few evenings of voluntary classes with relatively no prerequisites and a predominant emphasis upon a long, traditional apprenticeship controlled by a professional association. Today, pharmacy education at the University of Toronto has evolved into a compulsory, four-year second-entry scientific and professional university course with a supervised period of professional practice. This change in focus from the nineteenth-century practice of training for a trade by mastering primarily manual techniques that occurred primarily in the pharmacy, to today’s emphasis upon theoretical study embracing generalized principles and applying those skills to real situations in the world, equips our graduates with the skills required to meet the present needs of the profession, as well as any future developments.

The Ontario College of Pharmacy offered the first baccalaureate degree in pharmacy in 1948, and the first graduate degree was offered in 1953 when the University of Toronto assumed responsibility for providing pharmacy education in Ontario. Until 1963, all students receiving a pharmacy education in Ontario did so at 44-46 Gerrard Street East, which was the first facility of this kind in Canada when it opened in 1887. Upon becoming part of the University of Toronto, however, the Faculty moved to the St. George Campus, which coincided with the first arrangements for a student to earn a PhD degree at the University of Toronto with pharmacy as a major area of research.

As the demands upon the profession change, so has the professional education offered by the Faculty. As a result, the Faculty introduced a Doctor of Pharmacy (PharmD) degree in 1992, reacting to the growing need for graduates with additional clinical experience and preparation in therapeutics. This two-year post-baccalaureate program with one full calendar year of didactic instruction and one full year of clinical instruction produces advanced practitioners. The baccalaureate program itself changed in 1994, when entering students were required to have completed a minimum of one year of university course work as a prerequisite for admission. The four professional years of the new BScPhm program emphasizes understanding and application of the concept of “pharmaceutical care” throughout. The program culminates with a 16-week component of clinical professional practice under the direct supervision of the Faculty. In 2001, a bridging program for internationally-trained pharmacists was developed. In 2005, the Office of Continuous Professional Development began offering courses. Over the past decade, enrolment in undergraduate and graduate programs has doubled and tripled respectively. To accommodate this growth, the Faculty moved into a state-of-the-art teaching and research facility at 144 College Street in 2006.

In 2011, the Leslie Dan Faculty of Pharmacy introduced a new undergraduate curriculum that addresses the changing role of the pharmacist in health care by including integrated pharmacotherapy modules, critical appraisal, interprofessional education, electives and experiential training in all four years of the program. As well, current students now have the opportunity to participate in the Faculty’s Combined Bachelor of Science in Pharmacy-Doctor of Pharmacy program. This combined program provides undergraduate participants with the opportunity to gain greater experience and knowledge through the concurrent completion of a Doctor of Pharmacy degree.