Hart Massey

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Hart Massey

Hart Almerrin Massey (April 29, 1823 – February 20, 1896) was a Canadian businessman and philanthropist born in Haldimand Township (now Alnwick/Haldimand, Ontario) in what was then known as Upper Canada. His parents were Daniel Massey and Lucina Bradley. The doorstep of the original Massey homestead can still be found behind the current farmhouse on the farm, still in the Massey family.

Hart Massey was an industrialist who built the firm that became Massey-Harris, the farm equipment giant that is now Varity. The Massey Manufacturing Co. had been founded by his father, Daniel Massey; Hart Massey became sole owner in 1855 and moved it from rural Newcastle to the city of Toronto.

Massey's crypt in Mount Pleasant Cemetery, designed by E.J. Lennox in the Romanesque revival style.

Charitable gifts in his will led to the creation of the Massey Foundation, whose first major project was the completion of a student centre for the University of Toronto, which was given the name Hart House. The foundation also contributed to Massey Hall, a cultural landmark in Toronto, and more recently endowed Massey College, also at U of T. Massey was also a member of the Freemasons.

Hart Massey died in Toronto in 1896 and was buried in Mount Pleasant Cemetery. He had four sons, Charles Albert (1848–1884), Frederick Victor (1867–1890), Walter Edward Hart Massey (use to own the land which Crescent Town resides on) (1864–1901) and Chester Daniel (1850–1926), who carried on the family business as well as its multiple cultural and charitable interests. Daughter Lillian Frances Treble (1854–1915) was a philanthropist and educator. Members of the next generation included his grandsons Vincent Massey, who became Governor General of Canada, and actor Raymond Massey.

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