- The university is commonly ranked the best Canadian university, according to various major publications. Academically, the University of Toronto is noted for influential movements and curricula in literary criticism and communication theory, known collectively as the Toronto School. The university was the birthplace of insulin and stem cell research, and was the site of the first practical electron microscope, the development of multi-touch technology, the identification of the first black hole Cygnus X-1, and the development of the theory of NP-completeness. By a significant margin, it receives the most annual scientific research funding of any Canadian university. It is one of two members of the Association of American Universities outside the United States, the other being McGill University in Montreal, Quebec.
- The Varsity Blues are the athletic teams that represent the university in intercollegiate league matches, with long and storied ties to gridiron football and ice hockey. The university's Hart House is an early example of the North American student centre, simultaneously serving cultural, intellectual and recreational interests within its large Gothic-revival complex.
- The University of Toronto has educated three Governors General of Canada, four Prime Ministers of Canada, four foreign leaders, and fourteen Justices of the Supreme Court. As of 2018, ten Nobel laureates, three Turing Award winners, 94 Rhodes Scholars, and one Fields Medalist have been affiliated with the University.