For seven years, from 1968 to 1975, one eighteen story high-rise was the heart of Canada’s counterculture. Rochdale College in Toronto, ON, was jammed full with leftist organizers, hippies, draft dodgers, students, artists, and others just looking for a good time. Although, Rochdale wasn’t really a “college.” It was something much bigger: a political, educational, communal, artistic, and psychedelic experiment. During its time, it was endlessly lambasted by conservatives and leftists alike–until it reached its inglorious end.
Today, like much of the counterculture, it’s often remembered for its problems: its ideological contradictions, drug-addled hedonism, bourgeois individualism, sexism, suicide, and more. However, is that the whole story? Were the kids in the hippie highrise onto something, …or was it indeed just one giant waste of time? We investigate with a special documentary presentation, produced by Marc Apollonio.
This is a production of Cited Media. This episode received support from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada. It is part of a series of episodes on the relationship between activism and academia. Our scholarly advisors on this series are Professors Lesley Wood at York University, Sigrid Schmalzer at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, as well as Sharmeen Khan, Sami McBryer, and Susannah Mulvale. For a full list of credits, contact information, and more, visit our about page.