Toronto's Historical Plaques
Learn a little of Toronto's history as told through its plaques
Annesley Hall Victoria University
There are two plaques about this residence.
Both can be seen on this page.
Photos by Alan L Brown - Posted August, 2008
Plaque coordinates: 43.667460 -79.393129
Inspired by English cottages, this woman's residence is a fine example of Queen Anne Revival architecture in Canada. A welcoming, home-like setting is conveyed through the harmony of an irregular massed composition, many bay window and dormers. This domestic grandeur was believed proper for young women students in the early 20th century. Designed by George M. Miller and completed in 1903, this early women's residence at Victoria College in the University of Toronto eloquently marks the achievement of women's access to higher education.
Photo by Alan L Brown - Posted August, 2008
This building, named in honour of Susannah Annesley, mother of John Wesley, was built as a residence for women students and officially opened on October 1, 1903. It was designed by George M. Miller in an eclectic style sometimes referred to as "Jacobethan".
The initiative to provide for "the Daughters of Methodism" a home of "high moral tone" in an "atmosphere of refined social culture" was taken by Margaret Burwash (wife of Victoria's chancellor of the day), with the able help of Lillian Massey, Margaret Cox and other prominent Methodist women in the community who were known as the Victoria Women's Residence and Educational Association (forerunner of the modern-day Victoria Women's Association). Their tireless efforts raised funds from individuals, the City of Toronto, and congregations far and wide to buy the site from the University of Toronto, furnish the residence, and later help with its upkeep. The building itself, which originally boasted a gymnasium, infirmary, and dining room in addition to residence facilities, was financed in large part by a gift from the estate of Hart M. Massey (father of Lillian) whose generosity to Victoria also made possible the later construction of Burwash Hall for men.
In late August, 1988, the building was closed for a year of major renovation and restoration work during which the dining room and kitchen areas were converted to bedroom space thus enabling more students to experience residence life at Victoria. Alumni and friends contributed $400,000 through the heritage fund to give the venerable old building a new lease on life, and help defray the $4 million cost of the renovations. Annesley Hall was reopened in September 1989 and officially rededicated on October 21 of the same year.
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