Hart Massey

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Hart Massey
Hart Massey.png
Born Hart Almerrin Massey
(1823-04-29)April 29, 1823
Haldimand Township, Upper Canada
Died February 20, 1896(1896-02-20) (aged 72)
Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Resting place Mount Pleasant Cemetery, Toronto, Ontario
Occupation businessman
Spouse(s) Eliza Ann Phelps
Children Lillian Frances Treble, four sons

Hart Almerrin Massey (April 29, 1823 – February 20, 1896) was a Canadian businessman and philanthropist who was a member of the prominent Massey family.

Life and career[edit]

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

Massey was 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, which remains in the Massey family.

He was an industrialist who built the agricultural equipment firm that became Massey Ferguson, now part of AGCO. The Massey Manufacturing Co. had been founded by his father, Daniel Massey. Hart Massey became the sole owner in 1855 and moved it from rural Newcastle to the city of Toronto.

Marriage and children[edit]

On June 10, 1847, he married Eliza Ann Phelps. They had a daughter and five sons, one of whom died in infancy.

Their four surviving sons were Charles Albert (1848–1884), Chester Daniel (1850–1926), Walter Edward Hart Massey (1864–1901; he used to own the land which Crescent Town now resides on) and Frederick Victor (1867–1890), who collectively carried on the family business as well as its multiple cultural and charitable interests.

Massey's 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.

Death and legacy[edit]

He died in Toronto in 1896 and was buried in Mount Pleasant Cemetery. 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 of Hart House.

The foundation also contributed to Massey Hall, a cultural landmark in Toronto, and more recently endowed Massey College at the University of Toronto. Massey was also a member of the Freemasons.