Most UTM students have at some point or another walked past the cottage lying between the South Building and Oscar Peterson Hall. Yet no one seems to know its purpose or even its name. That cottage is the usual form of address, expanded to that scary cottage when students wish to be more specific, and to the murder house when they see no need for tact. (At The Medium we call it the rapist shack. )
While unthreatening during the day, students have a fair share to say about the cottage at night.Our copy editor observed, For some reason last year the light went off when you came near it. It may sound like something out of a horror movie, but several other UTM students claimed it happened to them too, adding that the strange smell coming from the woodlot reminds them of decomposing animals.
Take a peek at any map of the campus, and viewers will learn that the murder shacks official name is a boring Thomas Cottage, which was the likely the name of the man who either built or founded it.
More research reveals that Thomas Cottage actually precedes the UTM campus. Along with several other houses scattered throughout the campus, it was already constructed when U of T bought the land in the 1960s. The campus used these cottages as residences for the 150 students enrolled at the time. As the University constructed new residences, the houses were converted to other purposes (the artists cottage, for example, became the headquarters for an artist-in-residence program). The UTM action plan appendix, commissioned by Principal McNutt in 2000, cites Thomas Cottage as presently a rental property.
Other university documents on the cottage are scarce. A public safety analysis of the campus cites the cottage as underlit, and that the lamp near it has been damaged (since this year, the university has placed a new lamppost nearby). The UTM action plan appendix describes it as in poor repair. During 2000, when the UTM campus experienced a growth in infrastructure, McNutts action plan called for the cottages destruction since it didnt fit with the image of the new campus and detracted from the view of the woodlot it rests in. The University still seems to have a grudge against the building, which is apparently scheduled for demolition. Until then, UTM students can probably rest easy knowning their creepy cottage—which The Medium endorses be renamed the murder shack —will still be waiting for them on dark nights.