Trent Students Buy Sadleir House

In a controversial drive to centralize operations of Trent University at its suburban campus, the administration closed Peter Robinson College and sold its buildings, including historic Sadleir House, one of the original university buildings.

Now Trent students have bought the building back. Amazing.

I took a lot of my meals at Peter Robinson’s dining hall during my one year at Trent, once I figured out that the food was better and the people more interesting. The following summer I had decided to switch colleges to Peter Robinson; abandoning the university entirely meant I never followed through, but my heart was and always has been there.


Stephen Good's picture
Stephen Good on March 22, 2004 - 22:55 Permalink

It’s no accident that Trent is now 40+ years old — it seems that there’s a rule about institutions that when everyone who worked there at the beginning has now retired there is an opportunity for the control freaks to step in and take the institution in a new direction. when I went to trent in 1979, PR and Traill (well PR anyway) was probably the most vital college on campus — but also the one where all the left-wingers and pot-smokers hung out (or taught or ran the place).
so you close pr and traill down, turn trent into one big high school, you totally isolate yourself from any community contact (thereby betraying those workers who contributed from their pay for the university to be built in the first place). but what baffles me is how the control freaks are going to spin this for the alumni: “Hi, Trent fundraising here — we’ve closed down the residential college that you lived at for your first two years at trent but we were wondering if you’d like to contribute to the rest of the university, just on principle”. i guess the answer is that on balance they think they will come out ahead and trent will carve out its niche of boring respectability and build up an endowment fund and alter the photographs so that none of the good ol’ days have any phsical reality at all.

derek's picture
derek on April 1, 2004 - 16:26 Permalink

It was just as you remember it, until Bonnie Patterson became President. Her former position was as a corporate downsizing consultant. Many of the students (including myself) protested until we were blue in the face, but couldn’t stop her. We even formed several Action Committees and organized huge rallies — to no avail. BUT we tried. As of my graduation in 2000, Trent’s administration was quickly ditching its heritage.

Thank goodness that John Muir and the great people at TrentRadio are still there for the next generation of Trent Do-gooders. They are also involved in the turning of Sadleir House into some semblance of Trent’s heritage.

There’s so much that they’re not saying to the press. They sold PR college, and then didn’t have enough beds for the incoming students, so they rented a bible college up the road and dubbed it Peter Gzowski College (PGC). WTF? Sell what you own and lease something else? Since when is that more economically viable??? (their major reason for ditching PR was the operating cost)

I could go on and on…

Richard Eberhardt's picture
Richard Eberhardt on April 4, 2004 - 17:46 Permalink

Last night saw the grand re-opening of Sadleir House.

I was barely able to believe the news of the purchase until I stepped through the doors for the first time earlier yesterday, flooding my synapses with familiar sensations and vivid memories.

My sentimental side was just warming up when someone handed me a toilet brush and pointed me to the basement washroooms. Remember? The ones that were never very clean, with the funky mouldy smell? Imagine them unserviced for over two years!

Even before the walls were finally scrubbed clean, weeding done, windows washed, floors vacumed, sinks disinfected, etc… it was so obvious what a beautiful place Sadleir House is. A dedicated team of volunteers have been carefully stripped away years of institutional neglect to reveal how amazing the building really is.

Those of you who remember the library in the front room may recall a dark room with a purple carpet and high stacks of books. Now refinished, it was the showpiece of the evening, brightly showing off a gorgeous inlaid hardwood floor and spiffy new paint job.

Speakers last night included Tom Symons, Sylvia Sutherland (Ptbo Mayor), John Muir, and the guest of honour was Dick Sadleir — the first PRC Master for whom the building was (re)named. I think Tom Miller, Alum from ‘85, said it best though when he compared spaces like Sadleir House to casks of fine scotch. As the scotch itself takes on the flavour of the cask and the environment around it, so too have the faculty, students and staff been (and will be) flavoured by PRC and Sadleir House.

Following the dispensing of formalities came the dispensing of beer, the enjoyment of great music and from the SCR to dining hall, a house full of joyful people. Sadleir House promises to be for Trent what Hart House is at U of T — a cultural center of great importance, for students and the community alike.

And by the way, the project is still looking for financing to pursue the restoration of the building now underway. If you are looking to make an investment which may turn into a donation, check out the website above. Those running the organisation at Sadleir House are VERY professional.

Editor ::'s picture
Editor :: OurTr... on October 23, 2004 - 20:20 Permalink

What to know why the administration was allowed to run amoke at Trent? Check this out:

Did you know that Ontario universities are not subject to the Ontario Freedom of Information (FOI) legislation? If this concerns you then please take a few moments to take the Freedom of Information poll at and also join the Freedom of Information fax campaign. Let’s make certain that our Ontario universities become accountable and transparent and subject to public scrutiny! This will help all of us to keep costs down — and to assure that post-secondary education remains accessible and student debt is kept in check.