Hart House, as a cultural and social centre for the University of Toronto was conceived by Vincent Massey, Canada’s first native-born Governor General, when he was an undergraduate at Oxford. The University community welcomed this and as a result we have this splendid building. It was named after Hart Massey, Vincent Massey’s grandfather, a manufacturer and philanthropist.
The construction of Hart House was begun in 1911 and was opened to students in 1919. It opening had been delayed, as it was required for wounded soldiers in the Great War. A fine example of the work of the architect Henry Sproatt, the House was built in the popular Neo-Gothic style. It is a building of high arched ceilings relying on brick walls and buttresses for their support. The basic structure is steel framed with masonry cladding of stone on the exterior and face brick on the inside. The interior is very simply finished throughout, with the exception of a few of the principal rooms, such as The Great Hall. The Common Rooms are illuminated by natural sunlight which shines through the many large bay windows.
Hart House is the centre of university life outside the classroom. There, one can take in classical or jazz concerts, debates, lectures, evenings with poets and writers, and courses. Clubs that cater to a variety of interests operate out of Hart House, and students may indulge their interests in archery, film, orchestra, choral singing, investment, bridge, table tennis, dance, chess, shooting, yoga, t’ai c’hi, and amateur radio. For more about Hart House go to www.harthouse.utoronto.ca/