Date of Origin: April 14th, 1912
Engineering schools in Canada dye themselves purple during their orientation or frosh weeks. This is a long standing tradition. The origin of the tradition is believed to be the sinking of the Titanic as the Engineers wore purple coveralls to identify themselves. Had they not worked tirelessly to keep the ship afloat, more people would have been sacrificed. When the Engineer’s bodies surfaced, the purple coveralls had dyed their skin purple. A similar reasoning is that the Naval Engineers who wore purple armbands would leave their skin dyed after many days spent in boiler rooms. Another possible origin story is the Engineering Corp in the British Military use purple as their colour. The purple is meant to honor the Engineers that came before us.
For a numerous amount of years, Gentian Violet (or Crystal Violet) was used to dye all of the Engineering students. However, in 2019, Gentian Violet was found to be cancerous in its powdered form and was therefore banned at all schools and was no longer available for purchase in Canada. After this, schools across the country scrambled to find solutions to dye their students purple for frosh week.
At Ryerson in 2019, a food colouring dye was substituted for Crystal Violet. The outcome was a much lighter purple than expected, and due to the weather, the dye was washed off most by the end of Tuesday.
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