Autumn 2017 / Life on Campus
Margaret Addison Hall

This grad devoted much of her career to supporting young women at U of T, so Victoria University named a residence after her


Headshot of Margaret Addison in reading glasses.

Photo: Victoria University Archives.

Margaret Addison (BA 1889 VIC) was the sixth woman to graduate from Victoria College – and, fittingly, she devoted much of her career to supporting young women at U of T. At Vic, she served as founding dean of Annesley Hall – Canada’s first university residence built for women – and dean of women. In her honour, Victoria University named a second women’s residence, built in 1959, Margaret Addison Hall. (The residence is now co-ed.)

During her time at Vic, Addison encouraged women’s intellectual growth and independence while allaying a Methodist community’s fears about sending their daughters to the city to study. She established a safe, homey residence, and instituted a form of self-government – the Annesley Student Government Association – that enabled her young charges to help frame and enforce the rules. Both Annesley Hall and its student association would serve as models for other women’s residences across Canada. Says Jean O’Grady, author of Margaret Addison: A Biography: “She was able to steer a middle way, reassuring people that women’s education was not a wild experiment.”


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