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The Young Vincent Massey

The Young Vincent Massey

Series: Heritage
Copyright Date: 1981
Pages: 270
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  • Book Info
    The Young Vincent Massey
    Book Description:

    This is the first of two volumes about one of Canada's best known and least understood figures, Vincent Massey-statesman, cultural advocate, patron, family man, and first native governor-general.

    eISBN: 978-1-4426-3203-5
    Subjects: History

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. Preface
    (pp. vii-x)
  4. A Chronology of the Young Vincent Massey
    (pp. xi-xii)
  5. Illustrations
    (pp. xiii-2)
  6. CHAPTER ONE The Family Inheritance
    (pp. 3-29)

    In the city of Toronto the best known cemetery is called Mount Pleasant. When it was established in 1873 lt lay Well beyond the northern outskirts of the town, and continued to do so long after the town had become a city and had begun to break out of the little pocket by the lake to which it had been confined. Now the cemetery occupies a great tract of land in the heart of the metropolitan area. It is not, like many urban cemeteries, a bleak stretch of densely packed headstones and monuments. It is a place of little valleys...

  7. CHAPTER TWO Undergraduate
    (pp. 30-49)

    In 1906, when Vincent entered the University of Toronto, he was a slight young man of nineteen, a little under the average height, the head not square and formidable in the Massey mould but long and narrow with his mother’s delicate, dark colouring, and beneath the superior, amused smile a hint of his mother’s gentle, warm expression. By every family tradition he should have gone to Victoria, the intellectual citadel of Methodism, which had recently, and somewhat reluctantly, moved from Cobourg to Toronto to become a college in the University of Toronto. The Massey family was closely associated with Victoria....

  8. CHAPTER THREE Hart House
    (pp. 50-73)

    When in 1922 Neville Chamberlain, making the grand tour of the Empire, visited Toronto, he ‘commended the city equally for its Mendelssohn Choir and its pure supply of milk.’¹ Chamberlain, whose family had a relationship to Birmingham similar to that of the Masseys to Toronto, was, without knowing it, exalting two of the Massey contributions to the city. The Mendelssohn Choir was one of Hart’s enthusiasms, and Massey Hall gave it a superb home; and Walter, through his dairy operations at Dentonia Park and in the city, had, more than anybody else, ensured the supply of pure milk.

    The Massey...

  9. CHAPTER FOUR The Emergence of the Public Man
    (pp. 74-91)

    In the early twenties Vincent Massey had become a principal figure in the artistic and cultural life of Canada. His role was not so much that of philanthropist as of entrepreneur; he used his position, his control of resources, and, above all, his own enthusiasm and knowledge to support individual artists and to bring vital institutions into existence. His greatest achievements, as we have seen, were in music and the theatre. In literature he was active too, but with less success.

    During his student days, literature had been Vincent’s principal interest and the area in which he had shown the...

  10. CHAPTER FIVE The Lure of Politics
    (pp. 92-111)

    Mackenzie King’s reference to ‘increased public service’ raised questions in Vincent’s mind about his future. Since graduating from the University of Toronto he had had a varied formal career: from 1910 to 1911, a year during which he was free to pursue his own interests; from 1911 to 1913, attendance at Balliol; from 1913 to 1915, an academic appointment; from 1915 to 1918, military service followed by a year in Ottawa in a government post; then from 1919 to 1925, an executive in the family firm. But amid the multiplicity there were two constants: a devotion to education and the...

  11. CHAPTER SIX The American Years
    (pp. 112-145)

    The defeat in Durham had not quenched Massey’s political ambitions. Indeed, he could argue that he had reason to take heart, for he had faced formidable handicaps and had fallen short of victory by only a small margin. Moreover, he was one of many Liberal casualties, of which the prime minister himself was the chief. In the year between his defeat in Durham and his appointment to Washington — during which the Liberals clung to power with only a minority in Parliament, lost it, and then triumphantly regained it — Massey pursued a vigorous political course, confident that a cabinet post — in...

  12. CHAPTER SEVEN The Squire of Batterwood
    (pp. 146-173)

    When Vincent Massey returned to Canada in the summer of 1930, he took up residence at his country home, a few miles northwest of Port Hope, Ontario, near the little hamlet of Canton.

    The Masseys had owned a home in Toronto from 1913 to 1926, at 71 Queen’s Park Crescent, immediately in front of Victoria College. The house had been built in 1890, at roughly the same time as Victoria College and the Ontario Parliament Building, a sombre Richardsonian mass a few hundred yards to the south. The area was an attractive enclave for the wealthy who wanted to break...

  13. CHAPTER EIGHT A Young Maecenas
    (pp. 174-195)

    Although the period from 1930 to 1935 was to see a great intensification of Vincent’s interest in politics, immensely stimulated by his own concern for political survival, he never at any time allowed politics to crowd out his interest in the arts and education. Politics was his official profession that he attended to assiduously and with some personal satisfaction; the arts and education were his passion, never to be slighted even under the most acute distractions and pressures, and to be nurtured single-mindedly when the clouds of politics lifted. At Washington his concern for the two Hart House creations — the...

  14. CHAPTER NINE The Return to Politics
    (pp. 196-238)

    From his relaxed retreat David Milne viewed with cynicism the Masseys’ increasing involvement in politics. ‘I have kept my faith in Santa Glaus,’ he wrote to Mrs Massey, ‘and the tinsel on the tree but am beginning to have faint doubts about the church and politics. So I never go to church and seldom vote. An election is just a chance to say — to myself, nobody else bothers — that we are overdeveloped politically, and so to infer that we are among the backward people in some other things — Literature, for instance, below the French, the English, the Irish, the Americans,...

  15. A Note on Sources
    (pp. 239-240)
  16. Notes
    (pp. 241-264)
  17. Index
    (pp. 265-270)