ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Visiting the Lillian Massey Building, Toronto, Ontario: recalling a pioneer of the university education of women

Updated on January 3, 2014
Provincial flag of Ontario
Provincial flag of Ontario | Source
The Lillian Massey Household Sciences Building, Toronto, Canada.
The Lillian Massey Household Sciences Building, Toronto, Canada. | Source
Toronto Transit Co. car No. 2754 (Bay), corner of Bloor Street and Avenue Road. The Lillian Massey Department of Household Science (University of Toronto) in background, August 1923
Toronto Transit Co. car No. 2754 (Bay), corner of Bloor Street and Avenue Road. The Lillian Massey Department of Household Science (University of Toronto) in background, August 1923 | Source
Lillian Massey Building, Toronto
Lillian Massey Building, Toronto | Source

Elegant, academic structure in Indiana marble

The Lillian Massey Building is a monumental, Neoclassical structure built for the University of Toronto. Its architect was George Matel Miller (1855-1933) (1). The structure was commenced in 1908 and completed in 1912, while its formal opening occurred in 1913.

The Building is situated at the intersection of Bloor Street West and Queen's Park (The Avenue), in Toronto, Ontario.

A principal feature of this elegant building, much of the exterior of which is executed in Indiana marble, is the large portico at its Queen's Park elevation. The building's other pediments are inset into the lines of the structure, whereas this portico protrudes conspicuously. Pillars also feature at the Building's Bloor Street elevation, while those facing Queen's Park are, again, more prominent.

The Building's name honours a distinguished pioneer of women's higher education not only at the University of Toronto but further afield in Canada. Lillian Massey Treble (1854-1915)(2) was herself educated at Wesleyan Female College, Hamilton, Ontario and Cleveland Female Seminary, Cleveland, Ohio and a cause with which she was closely associated was to extend higher educational opportunities for women. In 1902, under her sponsorship, the University of Toronto's degree course in household science was founded, after similar courses independent of the University had already been set up. Through the National Council of Women of Canada, Lillian Massey also successfully promoted comparable courses at the University of Manitoba. She also supported similar courses at Mount Allison College, Sackville, Nova Scotia, and at Columbian Methodist College, New Westminster, British Columbia.

A woman of independent means, Lillian Massey was also one of the prime movers of Annesley Hall, which I have described separately, and which lies adjacent to the building bearing her name.

She was strongly identified with Methodist activities and causes, and supported the Toronto City Missionary Society and the work of the Christian Women's Temperance Union.

Today, the University of Toronto's Lillian Massey Builiding houses various entities, including the University's Classics Department and Centre for Medieval Studies, the Ontario Ombudsman and a retail outlet.

In some circles today it may be fashionable to mock the memory of 19th and early 20th century philanthropists, and the religious motivation that lay behind some of them, but in the context of times when Western countries had not yet introduced income tax it was to the wealth of motivated, private individuals — not a few of them religiously very active — that many abiding institutions may be attributed. It is undoubtedly the case that a consensus has emerged over many decades about the need for the state — and the general taxpayer — to become strongly involved in educational endowments. But it also begs the question of the extent to which those involved academic life and study supposedly need to depend on the state to tell them — through its partial control of the purse strings — what they should be allowed to study. In any case, the life of Lillian Massey undoubtedly demonstrates that it was not the state, certainly, that proved to be the driving force for the increase in the particular, university educational opportunities for women that she sponsored.

It is interesting also that the University of Toronto's Lillian Massey Building opened on the eve of the great, cataclysmic conflagration which profoundly altered Canadian history and society.

January 3, 2014


(1) Other works by Architect Miller include Annesley Hall, University of Toronto; interestingly, the Lillian Massey Building is executed in a very different style from that of Annesley Hall.

(2) Further biographical details may be accessed at:

Map location of Toronto, Ontario
Map location of Toronto, Ontario | Source

Also worth seeing

In Toronto itself, there is a rich heritage of historic buildings; some of these, within walking distance of the Lillian Massey Building, include: Annesley Hall; Victoria College; Trinity College; the Legislative Assembly building of the Ontario Parliament; Queen's Park; at a slightly further distance: Old City Hall, Campbell House, Osgoode Hall, and many others.


How to get there: Air Canada, flies to Toronto Pearson Airport, with wide North American and other connections, from where car rental is available. However, visitors to Downtown Toronto will find many sights to be easily walkable. Some facilities may be withdrawn without notice. For up to date information, please check with the airline or your travel agent. You are advised to refer to appropriate consular sources for any special border crossing arrangements which may apply to citizens of certain nationalities.

MJFenn is an independent travel writer based in Ontario, Canada.

For your visit, these items may be of interest


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No comments yet.


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)