Our program originated within the School of Hygiene as a part of the Program in Physiological Hygiene in the early 1960s. At this time, there were two MSc students and one PhD student enrolled in the program to conduct research on issues related to physical activity and health. In 1966 the University of Toronto awarded the first Canadian doctorate in applied physiology to Dr. Terence Anderson.
The arrival of Dr. Roy Shephard to Canada in 1964 marked the beginning of an impressive period of growth of the program in exercise sciences, not only in enrolment but also in the breadth of research being conducted, the amount of research funding being garnered and the number of affiliated faculty. Grants from Fitness and Amateur Sport, Health and Welfare Canada and the Ontario Heart Foundation broadened the scope of research over the next 15 years to enable studies in athletic injuries, heart disease, population health and energy balance of the Inuit, aging, cigarette smoking and air pollution.
This period (1964-1979) also marked a nationwide recognition of the program, as our faculty members coordinated the International Biological Program (IBP) Working Party on the methodology of exercise testing, coordinated the IBP studies of the physiology of the Canadian Inuit, and participated in the multi-centre Ontario Exercise-Heart Trial. It was also during this period that the Program in Physiological Hygiene itself underwent a period of transition, subsequently becoming known as the Department of Environmental Health and then the Department of Preventative Medicine and Biostatistics. Exercise Sciences became a distinct program in1980, as part of the Graduate Department of Community Health. Exercise Sciences was established in 1998 as an independent graduate department in the Faculty of Kinesiology and Physical Education.
Exercise Sciences continues to grow in graduate student numbers and in research scope. Numerous teaching and research associations are established with other major research institutions in Toronto, which offer state-of-the-art facilities and access to other recognized faculty for collaborative projects in all aspects of the Exercise Sciences.