Toronto. 1959 was a simpler time. No personal computers or smartphones. The head of IBM famously said a few years earlier that there was room for about 100 computers in the world since the massively slow and puny brutes were so expensive only very wealthy governments and businesses could afford them.
None the less, university students (mostly male) world-wide found ways to be entertained and entertaining. A then current fad was cramming an excessive number of students in a phone booth. The lead essay in the March 30th, 1959 issues of LIFE magazine was titled “Riots, Girls, Fads – Spring’s Ode on Campuses” and on page 15 it featured a photo of Ryerson Tech students crammed in a downtown phone booth. The students managed to tie the official Guinness winner of record at 19 students (briefly), to be later surpassed by St, Mary’s in California with 22 students. The telephone booth cramming fad only lasted through 1959.
Like most essays in LIFE magazine, this one relied heavily on photographs to tell the story. Thanks to George Dunbar who spotted this photo of Ryerson students while investigating photography in magazines of the era.