Credit: Masoud Riyazati.

Donations to the Hart House Revitalization Fund have led to a transformation of the former Tuck Shop to the Lounge in the basement of the House. This new space is a chill and welcoming student lounge area, complete with a record-listening station and comfy couches.

What was formerly a pass-through hallway in the basement of Hart House has been reconceived as a remarkable new student lounge space with couches, a vinyl record-listening station, softer lighting and a variety of seating options. Quinn Hopkins’ mixed media mural, Intertribal, 2022, is a breathtaking focal point of this new hang-out space for undergrads and grads.

Students enjoy the revitalized space. Credit: Masoud Riyazati.

This transformation was accomplished with the generous donations of individuals to the Hart House Revitalization Fund. To date, 140 donations have helped to prepare our building for another century of service to our community.

Donors sometimes don’t realize just how valuable their contributions can be. Hart House is grateful for the support of donors when it comes to the building.

“Hart House is a treasured icon on the St. George campus. Students and alumni love the place. This building holds countless memories. And it is because of these wonderful memories that alumni are paying it forward. Through their donations, alumni and friends are not only helping repair the bricks and mortar, they are also helping a new generation of students find their place,” says Peter Wambera, associate director of Advancement at Hart House. “The Hart House student Lounge is a great example of how donors are helping students find a home at Hart House, and to connect with their friends and classmates.”

Indeed, donors are helping Hart House – the building – better welcome all students and serve the larger U of T community for generations to come.

Many Ways to Make the Space Welcoming

Executive Assistant, Programs and Communications, Victoria Kourtis is part of the team that has created the new space. She describes their desire to design a spot that is truly welcoming for students. “So many of our spaces at Hart House are known for either the programming that happens within their walls or for the comfort they provide students. Our hopes for the Lounge are for students to have a cool, comfortable space on campus that they can choose to use how they feel is best,” she says, adding, “As staff, we try to gauge how students want to use the space. We intend to monitor how they feel about it and how they will use it.”

Students making use of the services within the Lounge. Credit: Masoud Riyazati.

Victoria explains the specifics of what the team is doing to create that welcome feeling. It already has a microwave and a turntable with records from CIUT, so the team is now looking to enhance the space even more. “We’re working on our soft touches – art, plants, books – as well as fun and functional things that students can engage with,” she states. “It’s generally a quiet space for students who may be neurodivergent and seeking a calm spot on campus. It’s also close to The Arbor Room, which means easy access to coffee refills!”

She encourages students to come in and check it out. “For any student coming to the space, we hope they make it their own. Don't be afraid to play a record and get comfy!”