The Warden’s Message

John Monahan

Since it was opened by then-Governor General the Duke of Devonshire in 1919, Hart House has brought together students from different colleges, faculties, and disciplines to form connections with one another not because of their similar academic pursuits, but because of their shared interest in discovering new facets of their common humanity outside of the classroom. Today, as Hart House prepares for a year-long celebration of its 100th anniversary, the enthusiasm and excitement of students for this unique approach to student engagement is still as robust as ever.

Apparently time really does fly when you’re having fun. Whether by engaging in vigorous debate about the issues of the day, organizing and attending gala celebrations, enjoying competitive and recreational athletics, performing at the Hart House Theatre, contributing to House governance, expanding the Hart House Art Collection, making or listening to beautiful instrumental or choral music, advocating for favoured causes, protesting against perceived injustices, unwinding at the Hart House Farm, participating in international cultural exchanges, or enjoying virtually any other recreational, athletic, or cultural activity that one could ever imagine enjoying, generations of students at Hart House have learned about themselves, one another, and the world around them by engaging in exploration, discovery, and sheer, unadulterated fun – together.

Unfortunately, for many years, the House did not welcome everyone. Hart House did not admit female students as full members until 1972. It took much too long for that change to come, and women had to fight too hard for much too long to achieve something that should never have been an issue.

But we have learned from our past.

Today, as we embark on our 100th Anniversary, Hart House is fully committed to ensuring that every student of this university – regardless of identity, background, or ability – feels welcome at Hart House, and sees themselves, their stories and their priorities reflected in what we do. If we do that, I am excited by the potential for the 100th Anniversary year to create unforgettable new memories for everyone who has ever engaged with the magic that is Hart House, as well as for those many who will be encountering Hart House for the first time.

Throughout the year, however we choose to engage with Hart House, may we all take sheer delight in the joy of discovering new things about ourselves, each other, and the world we all share. And may time fly while we do it.

Happy 100th Anniversary to all.

John Monahan