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Massey Hall, Guelph

50, Stone Road E., City of Guelph, Ontario, N1G, Canada

Formally Recognized: 1990/04/17

West facing façade featuring octagonal left portion.; Lindsay Benjamin, 2007.
Façade of Massey Hall, 2007
Featured is the octagonal central turret and arched entranceway.; Lindsay Benjamin, 2007.
Detailed view of Central Turret and Main Entrance,
The south elevation includes a false front, partially covered by the trees.; Lindsay Benjamin, 2007.
Façade and South Elevation of Massey Hall, 2007

Other Name(s)

University of Guelph
50 Stone Road East
Massey Hall, Guelph

Links and documents

Construction Date(s)

1901/01/01 to 1903/01/01

Listed on the Canadian Register: 2009/03/17

Statement of Significance

Description of Historic Place

Massey Hall is located at 50 Stone Road East, just north of Gordon Street, fronting the Campus Green, on the University of Guelph campus, in the City of Guelph. This three-storey pressed red-brick building was designed by architect G.M. Miller. It was constructed between 1901 and 1903.

The property was designated, by the City of Guelph, for its historic and architectural value, under Part IV, of the Ontario Heritage Act, By-law (1990)-13497.

Heritage Value

Massey Hall was constructed to house a library, with stacks for 75,000 volumes, reading and meeting rooms, as well as offices. The money for the building was a gift from the trustees of Hart A. Massey's Estate, W.E. Massey, Chester Daniel Massey and Lillian Massey-Treble. The gift was inspired by a chance meeting between the Ontario Agricultural College (now the University of Guelph) President, James Mills and W.E. Massey on a Toronto street car. W.E. Massey's father, Hart A. Massey, who established an Agricultural Foundry in 1847, upon his death had willed some of his money for an undetermined worthy cause. James Mills sent W.E. Massey a list of potential projects which could be constructed with his family's donation, and it was from this list that the Hall and Library were chosen. W.E. Massey laid the cornerstone of the building on August 14, 1901. The Massey family's donation was the first donation from a private source to the Province of Ontario for the purpose of furthering higher education.

Massey Hall was designed by architect G.M. Miller of Toronto, and constructed by the Shultz Brothers of Brantford. Construction began in 1901 and the building was opened in 1903. The walls are pressed red-brick with trim and foundation constructed of Credit Valley brownstone. Massey Hall is a unique combination of architectural styles. Typical of the Queen Anne Style, many windows feature stained glass, and one such window displays the original crest of the Ontario Agricultural College. The central turret and northern portion of the façade are octagonal in shape, which evokes the Octagon style, while the arched ornamental false front, on the south elevation is reminiscent of the Mission or Spanish Revival style.

Sources: City of Guelph By-law (1990)-13497; Massey Hall, University Walking Tour; Statement of Reasons For Designation, LACAC, 1990.

Character-Defining Elements

Character defining elements that contribute to the heritage value of Massey Hall include its:
- brownstone accents
- octagonal shape of the northern portion
- red-brick construction
- central turret
- false front of the south elevation
- windows including stained glass windows and the window depicting the
original crest of the Ontario Agricultural College




Recognition Authority

Local Governments (ON)

Recognition Statute

Ontario Heritage Act

Recognition Type

Municipal Heritage Designation (Part IV)

Recognition Date


Historical Information

Significant Date(s)

1990/01/01 to 1990/01/01

Theme - Category and Type

Expressing Intellectual and Cultural Life
Learning and the Arts

Function - Category and Type


Post-Secondary Institution


Architect / Designer

G.M. Miller


Shultz Brothers

Additional Information

Location of Supporting Documentation

City of Guelph Community Design and Development 1 Carden Street Guelph, ON

Cross-Reference to Collection

Fed/Prov/Terr Identifier




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