University of St. Michael's College

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St. Basil's Church

The University of St. Michael's College traces its history back to 1852 when a Roman Catholic boys' school, St Mary's Little Seminary was established by Bishop Armand de Charbonnel and the Basilian Order (Pierre Tourvielle, Superior General of the Congregation of St Basil, Annonay, France) in Toronto; a second boys' school, St Michael's College, was established in the Episcopal Palace in the same month, under the direction of the Brothers of the Christian Schools. (It was de Charbonnel's hope that the two institutions would function at different levels, the first, presumably, as a secondary institution, the second as postsecondary - a collège classic.) The two schools were amalgamated (as St Michael's College) six months later, and continued temporarily in the palace, under the direction of the Basilian Fathers. In 1853, under the Basilian Fathers, the college began operating as a high-school, a seminary, and a collège classique. In the same year, John Elmsley, gave the Basilians a large piece of land in the same year, and the College relocated to the new site, east of the University of Toronto. The same year also saw the establishment of the college parish, St Basil's Church.Though the institution was given formal incorporation in 1855, with authority to grant degrees in theology. The campus on Clover Hill dates from 1856 when the building of St. Basil's Church was completed, along with an adjacent wing for the college. In 1862 another wing was added. More extensions were added in 1873 and 1903 but these were demolished in 1971. In 1881 St. Michael's College officially affiliated with the University of Toronto, under the condition that it retained teaching and testing authority in philosophy and history. In 1910 St. Michael's became a Federated College in the Faculty of Arts and Science of the University of Toronto. This arrangement allowed students enrolled at St. Michael's to study for University of Toronto undergraduate degrees, although the University took over responsibility for examinations and granting degrees, in all subjects except theology. The college continued to control its own hiring of faculty, and teaching in the subject of liberal arts. In 1947 the undergraduate division of St. Michael’s, and of other colleges and Federated Universities, gave up their academic departments to the respective Arts and Science departments of the University of Toronto. In 1958 St. Michael's was granted the status of a federated university within the University of Toronto with authority to award graduate degrees in theology.

In 1912, when St Joseph's College and Loretto College (both all-female colleges) became officially affiliated with the university, they were incorporated into St Michael’s college. It was only in 1952 that the two colleges were converted to residential buildings, and teaching ceased to be segregated by sex.

St Michael's College currently offers programs in Book and Media Studies, Celtic Studies, Christianity and Culture and Medieval Studies.

St Michael's College Faculty of Theology


Presidents of the
University of St Michael’s College;rad

Rev. Laurence K. Shook, C.S.B.
Rev. John M. Kelly, C.S.B.
Rev. Peter J.M. Swan, C.S.B.
McConica, Rev. James K. C.S.B. (1984-1990)
Dr Richard M.H. Alway O.C., O.Ont.

Basilian Superiors
of St Michael’s College

Rev. Jean Mathieu Soulerin, C.S.B.
Rev. Charles Vincent, C.S.B.
Rev. Daniel Cushing, C.S.B.
Rev. John Read Teefy, C.S.B.
Rev. Daniel Cushing, C.S.B.
Rev. Nicholas Roche, C.S.B.
Rev. Francis Gerald Powell, C.S.B.
Rev. Thomas James Hayes, C.S.B.
Rev. Robert McBrady, C.S.B.
Rev. Henry Carr, C.S.B.
Rev. Edmund Joseph McCorkelll, C.S.B.
Rev. Bellisle, Henry Stanislaus, C.S.B.
Rev. Edmund Joseph McCorkell, C.S.B.
Rev. Terence Patrick McLaughlin, C.S.B.
Rev. Louis Joseph Bondy, C.S.B.
Rev. Laurence Kennedy Shook, C.S.B.


Some famous alumni of St. Michael’s College include:

Marshall McLuhan, media critic and professor of English literature;

Joseph Boyle, philosopher of Natural law;

Leona Dombrowsky, Ontario cabinet minister;

Paul Martin, 21st Prime Minister of Canada;

Kevin Sullivan, filmmaker.


Shook, Laurence K. Catholic Post-Secondary Education in English-Speaking Canada: A history. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1971.

Shook, L.K., 'St Michael's College: The Formative Years, 1850-1853,' Report of the Canadian Catholic Historical Association, 17 (1950), 37-52. 

L.W. Richards, University of Toronto: An Architectural Tour, Princeton Architectural Press, New York, 2009, pp.93-4.

Reford, Alexander. ‘St Michael’s College at the University of Toronto, 1958-1978: the frustrations of federation,’ Canadian Catholic Historical Association Historical Studies 61 (1995) 171-194's_College