The universities, colleges, academies, and high schools, the public and common schools of the Dominion, illustrate the great desire of the governments and the people of the provinces to give the greatest possible facilities for the education of all classes at the smallest possible cost to individuals. At the present time there are between 13,000 and 14,000 students attending 62 universities and colleges. The collegiate institutes and academies of the provinces also rank with the colleges as respects the advantages they give to young men and women. Science is especially prominent in McGill and Toronto Universities—which are the most largely attended—and the former affords a notable example of the munificence of the wealthy men of Montreal, in establishing chairs of science and otherwise advancing its educational usefulness. Laval University stands deservedly at the head of the Roman Catholic institutions of the continent, on account of its deeply interesting historic associations, and the scholarly attainments of its professors, several of whom have won fame in Canadian letters. Several universities give instructions in medicine and law, and Toronto has also a medical college for women. At the present time, at least one-fifth of the people of the Dominion is in attendance at the universities, colleges, public and private schools. The people of Canada contribute upwards of ten millions of dollars annually to the support of their educational establishments, in the shape of government grants, public taxes, or private fees. Ontario alone, in 1899, raised five millions and a half of dollars for the support of its public school system; and of this amount the people directly contributed ninety-one per cent, in the shape of taxes. On the other hand, the libraries of Canada are not numerous; and it is only in Ontario that there is a law providing for the establishment of such institutions by a vote of the taxpayers in the municipalities. In this province there are at least 420 libraries, of which the majority are connected with mechanics’ institutes, and are made public by statute. The weakness of the public school system—especially in Ontario—is the constant effort to teach a child a little of everything, and to make him a mere machine. The consequences are superficiality—a veneer of knowledge—and the loss of individuality.
CANADA’S RELATIONS WITH THE UNITED STATES AND HER INFLUENCE IN IMPERIAL COUNCILS (1783—1900).