Construction of Hart House began in 1911, opening to students in 1919. It was named after Vincent Massey's grandfather, Hart Massey.
In October 1963, the Varsity newspaper covered the picketing of Massey College. At this time, no women-only, graduate-student residences existed at the University. Those involved believed that the men-only Massey College residence discriminated against women.
Looking Through the Window
The University’s early life can be described as a ‘boy’s club’. Many buildings and clubs were restricted only to men.
Excluded from libraries, clubs, and residences, women were kept out of opportunities to grow educationally, professionally, and personally. They were left outside, only to look through the windows.
Two buildings came to represent this ‘boys club’. Hart House and Massey College were gifted to the University by Vincent Massey in 1919 and 1963, respectively. Massey explicitly stated that no women were to be allowed into these buildings.
This exclusion was controversial, resulting in active protests. One of the first protests occurred in 1957. This marked the beginning of a decades-long struggle for access to mens-only buildings on campus.
Click the play button to hear from Linda Silver Dranoff, Vanda Vitali, and Laurel MacDowell on their experiences of exclusion from 'boy's clubs'.
"I learned that phys-ed was compulsory for women, but not for men, and that if you did not take those courses, you could not graduate."
Click the play button to listen to Ceta Ramkhalawansingh talk about the University's mandatory physical education course for women and not men in 1968.
Click on "Opening of Hart House," in the bottom right, to learn more about how women gained full access to Hart House.