Beverly Mascoll

(1942 – 2001)

Founder / Philanthropist / Mentor / Community Builder, Mascoll Beauty Supply Ltd. & Beverly Mascoll Community Foundation, Toronto, ON. Born: Fall River, Nova Scotia.

Born and raised in Nova Scotia, Beverly Mascoll was an entrepreneur, an astute businesswoman and a highly-respected community leader.

After her family relocated to Toronto in her early teens, Beverly worked as a receptionist at Toronto Barber and Beauty Supply, becoming assistant to the president within just six months. While there, she quickly noticed a major gap in the beauty industry; Black hair-care and beauty products. And in 1970, she took $700 and incorporated her own company, Mascoll Beauty Supply Ltd., servicing an underserved segment of the population. An unknown in the industry, Beverly then convinced U.S. manufacturer, Johnson Products to grant her the rights to be the company’s first and only Canadian distributor.

Mascoll Beauty Supply grew to become a major player in the Canadian beauty supply industry. In addition to a chain of retail outlets, the company also manufactured and distributed products across the country. The retail outlets were a hub for many new Black-Canadian immigrants; the stores a validation of their identity in a new country.

Community activism ran parallel to Beverly’s business endeavours. She was involved with several community organizations including the Harry Jerome Scholarship Fund (awarding excellence to Black-Canadian achievers), Camp Jumoke (a camp for children with Sickle Cell Anemia) and the Ontario Black History Society. She also led fundraising efforts to establish the first Black-Canadian Studies program at Nova Scotia’s Dalhousie University. In 1996, she founded the Beverly Mascoll Community Foundation to assist “youth, women and people of colour.”

Education also played a significant role in Beverly’s life. She was keen on educating her customers, organizing trade events and seminars specific to her clientele. She was also passionate about her own post-secondary pursuits. Not being able to afford to attend university after high school, at the age of 55, Beverly enrolled full-time in the Women’s Studies program at York University. She received her Bachelor of Arts in 2000.

Beverly Mascoll died from complications due to breast cancer in 2001. She was 59 years-old.

Honours: Honoured posthumously in her native Nova Scotia, with an honourary Doctor of Humane Letters from Mount Saint Vincent University; received an honourary Doctor of Laws from Ryerson University (1999); appointed Member of the Order of Canada for outstanding entrepreneurship and assisting Canada’s youth (1998); Mascoll received several awards and acknowledgements for her contributions to Canadian society; and received the Governor General’s Commemorative Medal, the Canadian Council of Christians and Jews Award, the YWCA Women of Distinction Award and the Harry Jerome Award for Achievement in Business.