The Massey Lectures is an annual five-part series of lectures given in Canada by distinguished writers, thinkers and scholars who explore important ideas and issues of contemporary interest. Created in 1961 in honour of Vincent Massey, the former Governor General of Canada, it is widely regarded as one of the most acclaimed lecture series in the country.
Some of the most notable Massey Lecturers have included Northrop Frye, John Kenneth Galbraith, Noam Chomsky, Jean Vanier, Margaret Atwood, Ursula Franklin, George Steiner, Claude Levi Strauss, and Nobel laureates Martin Luther King Jr., George Wald, Willy Brandt and Doris Lessing. In 2003, novelist Thomas King was the first person of Cherokee descent to be invited as a lecturer.
Prior to 1989, the lectures were recorded for broadcast in a CBC Radio studio in Toronto. From 1989 to 2002, the lectures were delivered before a live audience at the University of Toronto. Since 2002, the lectures have been presented and recorded for broadcast at public events in five different cities across Canada.
The lectures are broadcast each November on Ideas and published simultaneously in book form by House of Anansi Press.
Many of the lectures can be listened to online on the Ideas website, while others can be purchased on various sites.
In addition to the print version for each individual year, several of the earlier lectures are available in compilations, including The Lost Massey Lectures.
- 1961 – Barbara Ward, The Rich Nations and the Poor Nations
- 1962 – Northrop Frye, The Educated Imagination
- 1963 – Frank Underhill, The Image of Confederation
- 1964 – C. B. Macpherson, The Real World of Democracy
- 1965 – John Kenneth Galbraith, The Underdeveloped Country
- 1966 – Paul Goodman, The Moral Ambiguity of America
- 1967 – Martin Luther King Jr., Conscience for Change
- 1968 – R. D. Laing, The Politics of the Family
- 1969 – George Grant, Time as History
- 1970 – George Wald, Therefore Choose Life
- 1971 – James Corry, The Power of the Law
- 1972 – Pierre Dansereau, Inscape and Landscape
- 1973 – Stafford Beer, Designing Freedom
- 1974 – George Steiner, Nostalgia for the Absolute
- 1975 – J. Tuzo Wilson, Limits to Science
- 1976 – No Lecture
- 1977 – Claude Lévi-Strauss, Myth and Meaning
- 1978 – Leslie Fiedler, The Inadvertent Epic
- 1979 – Jane Jacobs, Canadian Cities and Sovereignty Association
- 1980 – No Lecture
- 1981 – Willy Brandt, Dangers and Options: The Matter of World Survival
- 1982 – Robert Jay Lifton, Indefensible Weapons
- 1983 – Eric Kierans, Globalism and the Nation State
- 1984 – Carlos Fuentes, Latin America: At War with the Past
- 1985 – Doris Lessing, Prisons We Choose to Live Inside
- 1986 – No Lecture
- 1987 – Gregory Baum, Compassion and Solidarity: The Church for Others
- 1988 – Noam Chomsky, Necessary Illusions: Thought Control in Democratic Societies
- 1989 – Ursula Franklin, The Real World of Technology
- 1990 – Richard Lewontin, Biology as Ideology: The Doctrine of DNA
- 1991 – Charles Taylor, The Malaise of Modernity
- 1992 – Robert Heilbroner, Twenty-First Century Capitalism
- 1993 – Jean Bethke Elshtain, Democracy on Trial
- 1994 – Conor Cruise O'Brien, On the Eve of the Millennium
- 1995 – John Ralston Saul, The Unconscious Civilization
- 1996 – No Lecture (see Notes below)
- 1997 – Hugh Kenner, The Elsewhere Community
- 1998 – Jean Vanier, Becoming Human
- 1999 – Robert Fulford, The Triumph of Narrative
- 2000 – Michael Ignatieff, The Rights Revolution
- 2001 – Janice Stein, The Cult of Efficiency
- 2002 – Margaret Visser, Beyond Fate
- 2003 – Thomas King, The Truth About Stories
- 2004 – Ronald Wright, A Short History of Progress
- 2005 – Stephen Lewis, Race Against Time: Searching for Hope in AIDS-Ravaged Africa
- 2006 – Margaret Somerville, The Ethical Imagination
- 2007 – Alberto Manguel, The City of Words
- 2008 – Margaret Atwood, Payback: Debt and the Shadow Side of Wealth
- 2009 – Wade Davis, The Wayfinders: Why Ancient Wisdom Matters in the Modern World
- 2010 – Douglas Coupland, Player One: What is to Become of Us
- 2011 – Adam Gopnik, Winter: Five Windows on the Season
- 2012 – Neil Turok, The Universe Within: From Quantum to Cosmos
- 2013 – Lawrence Hill, Blood: The Stuff of Life
- 2014 – Adrienne Clarkson, Belonging: The Paradox of Citizenship
- 2015 – Margaret MacMillan, History's People: Personalities and the Past 
- 2016 – Jennifer Welsh, The Return of History: Conflict, Migration and Geopolitics in the Twenty-First Century
- 2017 – Payam Akhavan, In Search of a Better World: A Human Rights Odyssey
- 2018 – Tanya Talaga, All Our Relations: Finding the Path Forward
- 2019 – Sally Armstrong, Power Shift: The Longest Revolution
- 2020 – Ronald J. Deibert, Reset: Reclaiming the Internet for Civil Society (shortlisted for the 2020 Donner Prize)
- 2021 – Esi Edugyan, Out of the Sun: On Art, Race and the Future
For Lawrence Hill's Massey Lectures in 2013, the CBC Radio website featured a visual narrative to accompany that year's theme Blood: The Stuff of Life. The story included full-screen images of blood, animations that visually demonstrated historical attitudes towards blood and videos of people affected culturally by it.
1996 did not feature a lecture because Ideas producers and the selected Lecturer Robert Theobald could not agree on an appropriate manuscript for the programme. The theme was to have been on the future of work. Theobald later published his manuscript as Reworking Success: New Communities at the Millennium (1997).
- "Anansi.ca: TITLES". Archived from the original on 2011-09-27. Retrieved 2011-06-21.
- "House of Anansi: The Universe Within". Retrieved 30 May 2012.
- "House of Anansi:Blood". House of Anansi Press. Retrieved 5 October 2013.
- "The 2014 CBC Massey Lectures".
- "Margaret MacMillan to deliver the 2015 CBC Massey Lectures". Retrieved 2014-11-29.
- "Margaret MacMillan: History's People". Retrieved 2015-11-05.
- "The Return of History". House of Anansi Press. Retrieved 2016-07-11.
- "In Search of A Better World". House of Anansi Press. Retrieved 2017-07-07.
- "Payam Akhavan | Faculty of Law - McGill University". www.mcgill.ca. Retrieved 2017-07-07.
- "Toronto Star investigative journalist Tanya Talaga to deliver 2018 CBC Massey Lectures". House of Anansi Press. Retrieved 2018-04-27.
- "CBC Massey Lecturer Sally Armstrong argues gender equality is crucial to a thriving future". CBC. July 22, 2019. Retrieved September 5, 2019.
- "2020 Massey Lectures: Renowned tech expert Ronald J. Deibert to explore disturbing impact of social media". CBC News. July 7, 2020.
- "Acclaimed author Esi Edugyan to deliver 2021 Massey Lectures on art and race". CBC Radio One, March 29, 2021.
- Valpy, Michael (1996-09-17). "The Massey Lectures you won't be hearing". Globe & Mail. Toronto, Canada. pp. A15.
- Smith, Cameron (1997-03-29). "The Massey Lecture we didn't hear". Toronto Star. Toronto, Ont., Canada. pp. –6. ISSN 0319-0781. Retrieved 2017-01-16.