History & Coat of Arms

Chronology of Important Events (1852-present)

May 1852 The Right Reverend Armand Comte de Charbonnel, 2nd Bishop of Toronto, asks the Very Reverend Pierre Tourvieille, Superior General of the Congregation of St Basil (the Basilian Fathers) of Annonay, France, to establish a Basilian educational institution in Toronto.

August 1852 The Reverend Jean- Mathieu Soulerin, C.S.B., and his confrères arrive in Toronto.

September 15, 1852 Classes begin at St. Mary’s Lesser Seminary under the direction of the Basilian Fathers. Classes begin at St Michael’s College on Queen Street under the direction of the Christian Brothers.

February 1853 St. Mary’s Lesser Seminary merges with St Michael’s College, and is placed under the direction of the Basilian Fathers , with Fr. Soulerin as Superior, and moves to the Bishop’s Palace on Church Street. The College teaches at three levels: as a high school, collège cl.phpque, and as a minor seminary.

April 1853 John Elmsley gives four lots of his Clover Hill estate to the Basilians for the construction of a college and a church. The Basilians later buy four lots from Elmsley north of Clover Hill for future College needs. The College’s new location is adjacent to the provincial University of Toronto, which had been established in 1827.

May 1855 An Act of Incorporation of St Michael’s College receives Royal Assent.

September 16, 1855 Laying of the cornerstone of the St Michael’s College and St Basil’s Church building on Clover Hill, William Hay, architect. St Michael’s opens

September 15, 1856 St Michael’s opens

November 16, 1856 St Basil’s is consecrated

1872-3 Construction of a further addition to Clover Hill, to house an auditorium, classrooms

May 1878 Establishment of the St Michael’s College Alumni Association.

March 1881 St Michael’s College officially affiliates with the University of Toronto, with a guarantee to be able to conduct its own teaching in philosophy and history.

November 1889 The Senate of the University of Toronto authorizes separate examinations in philosophy for St Michael’s College.

May 1890 Plan registered by Remigius Elmsley, the son of John Elmsley, for Elmsley Place residential development. Of the houses built, seven survive as part of the St Michael’s campus.

1909 College athletic teams win two Canadian championships: the Allan Cup in senior hockey, and the junior rugby football title.

December 1910 St Michael’s College declared a Federated College in the Faculty of Arts and Science of the University of Toronto. The collège cl.phpque program is replaced with the University’s pass and honours courses, and the College School adopts the Ontario high school curriculum. Under this arrangement, St Michael’s students could study for University of Toronto undergraduate degrees while taking many of their classes within the College from St Michael’s faculty members.

June 1911 St Michael’s presents six students for the B.A. degree from the University of Toronto.

October 1911 Sir Robert Falconer, President of the University of Toronto, recognizes the wish of St. Joseph’s College and Loretto College to affiliate with the University. This leads to their affiliation as member institutions of St Michael’s College in 1912, thereby allowing their female students to receive U. of T. degrees.

March 1918 Founding of the ‘Student Administrative Council’ (S.A.C.), renamed in the 1960’s the ‘St Michael’s College Student Union’ (SMCSU).

September 1920 St. Joseph’s University Hall opened at 25 Queen’s Park Crescent.

1920 St Michael’s College acquires two acres from the Elmsley estate to complete the college property west to Victoria College.

1922 St Michael’s begins teaching graduate courses in philosophy.

1922-3 Demolition of the buildings on the east side of the College property to make way for the construction of Bay Street.

October 1926 Acquisition of the Christie House at 29 Queen’s Park Crescent by the Sisters of St. Joseph as the site for St. Joseph’s College.

1927 Launching of a campaign to raise $3 million for an extensive College building program, only partly successful because of the onset of the Great Depr.phpon.

January 1928 St Michael’s College purchases properties on Elmsley Place from the Elmsley estate in order to extend its campus westwards towards Queen’s Park and the University of Toronto.

September 1929 With the opening of the Institute of Mediaeval Studies in House #10, by the Archbishop of Toronto, the Most Reverend Neil McNeil, St Michael’s expands further into graduate teaching and research.

August 1935 Laying of the cornerstone of the Queen’s Park Building, to house the Institute of Mediaeval Studies; More, Fisher and Teefy Houses, residences for men; and classrooms and faculty offices in Teefy Hall, Arthur Holmes, architect.

September 1939 Opening of Brennan Hall, containing a dining hall, faculty dining room, common rooms, and guestrooms, Arthur Holmes, architect.

October 1939 Pope Pius XI signs a papal charter creating the Pontifical Institute of Mediaeval Studies (P.I.M.S.), and empowering it to grant degrees. P.I.M.S. holds its first Convocation for the conferring of degrees on June 5, 1940.

1946 Marshall McLuhan is one of the first laypersons hired to teach at St Michael’s. McLuhan taught English at the College until his death in 1980, during which time he became famous for his books The Mechanical Bride (1951), Understanding Media (1964), and The Medium is The Message (1967), and for his oft-quoted dicta on communications and the media.

1947 First issue of The Mike, the student newspaper of St Michael’s College.

September 1950 The high school leaves Clover Hill and the St Michael’s campus, and becomes autonomous with the opening of St Michael’s College School at 1515 Bathurst Street, Ernest Cormier, architect.

1952 Celebrations for the centennial of the founding of St Michael’s College, featuring an anniversary banquet with the Rt. Hon. Louis St. Laurent, Prime Minister of Canada, as guest of honour, on March 16, and a special Convocation of the University of Toronto on May 14.

September 1952 Last lectures for women at Loretto and St. Joseph’s Colleges; henceforth all teaching for men and women is conducted coeducationally in the classrooms of St Michael’s College.

1954 The Ontario Legislature passes an amendment to the original St Michael’s College Act of 1855, granting the College the right to grant degrees in theology. His Eminence James C. Cardinal McGuigan becomes St Michael’s first Chancellor.

October 1954 Opening of Carr Hall, 100 St. Joseph Street, housing faculty and administrative offices, classrooms, library, auditorium, and Co-Op cafeteria, Ernest Cormier, architect.

September 1955 Cornerstone of Elmsley Hall, a men’s residence at 81 St. Mary Street, laid by Cardinal McGuigan, Frank Brennan and G.H. Whale, architects.

July 1, 1958 The University of St Michael’s College Act goes into effect granting St Michael’s university status as a federated university within the University of Toronto. The Reverend Laurence K. Shook, C.S.B. assumes office as the first President and Vice-Chancellor of the University of St Michael’s College. This marks the separation of the office of the religious head of the Basilian Fathers of the College, the Superior, from that of the executive and academic head of the University, the President.

September 1958 Rev. John M. Kelly, C.S.B., assumes office as the second President of the University.

September 1958 Laying of the cornerstone of the new Loretto College, 70 St. Mary Street, Brennan and Whale, architects.

June 1961 Full-time enrolment at St Michael’s surpasses 1,000 for the first time.

1968 Opening of the Brennan Hall Student-Faculty Centre, an extension of the building containing a student lounge, assembly hall, students’ council offices, Coop cafeteria, offices and meeting.

July 1969 Opening of the library at 113 St. Joseph Street, John Farrugia, architect, later named the John M. Kelly Library in honour of Fr. John Kelly, President for twenty years.

April 1970 Incorporation of the Toronto School of Theology, an ecumenical consortium of the Catholic and Protestant theological colleges of the University of Toronto, including the Faculty of Theology of the University of St Michael’s College.

December 1970 Full-time enrolment

May 1974 The University of St. Michael’s College signs, along with the other federated universities, Trinity and Victoria, a Memorandum of Understanding with the University of Toronto, establishing the terms of their new relationship with the Faculty of Arts and Science.

January 1976 The offices of President and Principal are separated. Dr. Lawrence Lynch assumes office as the first Principal of St Michael’s College, the undergraduate division of the University of St Michael’s College. He is succeeded by Dr. William Dunphy in 1981, Dr. Joseph Boyle in 1991, and Dr Mark McGowan in 2002.

July 1978 The Reverend Peter Swan, C.S.B. assumes office as the third President and Vice-Chancellor.

October 1983 Opening of Alumni Hall at 121 St. Joseph Street, the former Ontario Research Foundation building, renovated for College use containing classrooms, academic offices, a theatre and the Registrar’s Office.

July 1984 The Reverend James McConica, C.S.B., assumes office as the fourth President and Vice-Chancellor.

April 1986 Establishment of the Division of Continuing Education as the fourth division of U.S.M.C. (in addition to the undergraduate college, St Michael’s College, the graduate Faculty of Theology, and the Pontifical Institute of Mediaeval Studies.)

1987 Launching of the Capital Campaign to raise $2.4 million, completed in 1993 with pledges of more than $ 5 million.

November 1988 Unveiling of the St Michael’s College War Memorial in the Slype between More and Fisher Houses, recording the names of the 159 St Michael’s students killed in World Wars I and II and the Korean Conflict.

July 1990 Dr. Richard Alway assumes office as the fifth President and Vice-Chancellor, the first layman to hold the position. | Read Profile

1993 Launch of the ‘Secure the Tradition’ Campaign which raises $ 6.5 million over 5 years.

May 1996 Dedication of Sam Sorbara Auditorium in upper Brennan Hall.

September 1996 For the first time, academic departments (French and German) of the University of Toronto take up residence on the St Michael’s Campus. They are followed, in September 2000, by the Departments of Italian and Slavic Studies.

September 1996 Opening of the restored Odette Hall-Clover Hill, the oldest building on the University of Toronto campus (1856) in continuous academic use, completely renovated by Carlos Ott Partnership, Architects, through the generous donation of Louis L. Odette. An extensive collection of modern religious art, donated by Rev. Daniel Donovan, is installed on the two lower floors.

May 2000 #1 Elmsley Place becomes the new home for the offices of the President, Alumni Affairs and Development, and Continuing Education after restoration by Carlos Ott Partnership, Architects.

2000 Renovations to Carr Hall are completed with the dedication of the former auditorium as Father Robert Madden Hall.

November 2000 Publication of the Mission Statement of The University of St Michael’s College.

March 2001 The Canadian Catholic Bioethics Institute (CCBI) is officially affiliated with the St Michael’s College. and takes up residence on campus.

September 2001 Opening of the Sorbara Hall Student Residence, 70 St Joseph Street, built through the generosity of the Sorbara Family, Carlos Ott Partnership, Architects.

2002 Yearlong celebrations take place to mark the sesquicentennial of the founding of St Michael’s College, including a 150th Anniversary Gala Dinner held at the Metro Convention Centre in September, an Anniversary Mass held in St Basil’s Church in October, and the construction of a Prayer Garden on the north side of the ‘quadrangle’ through the generosity of St Michael’s staff members.

2002 Opening of a state-of-the-art electronic classroom (the Louis and Edmond Odette Learning Centre) and expanded computer research facilities (the Roy and Ann Foss Research Commons) in the Kelly Library.

September 2003 St Michael’s full-time enrolment reaches a record 4,200 students with the arrival of the ‘double cohort’ resulting from the elimination of Grade Thirteen in the Ontario High School system.

September 2005 In anticipation of the closure of the St Joseph’s College women’s residence in May 2006, St Michael’s begins offering residence to women students in designated floors of Elmsley Hall and Sorbara Hall.

July 2008 Sr. Anne Anderson, C.S.J., assumes office as the sixth President and Vice-Chancellor | Read Profile

July 2015 Mr. David Mulroney assumes office as the seventh President and Vice-Chancellor | Read Profile

St Michael’s Coat of Arms
St Michael’s Coat of Arms

St. Michael’s Coat of Arms

The St. Michael’s Coat of Arms reflects our history and traditions. The design of the shield is based upon that of Armand de Charbonnel, second Bishop of Toronto, who, with the Basilians, founded the college in 1852.

The three star-like objects are spurs, and the crescent indicates that one of Bishop Charbonnel’s ancestors took part in the Crusades. These symbols remind us that as Christian academics we must always be prepared to seek and defend the truth.

The tongues of fire around the edge of the shield allude to St Basil, known as the “Pillar of Fire” for his learning and charity.

The supporters (which are heraldic recognition of our status as a university), are an eagle, taken from the arms of the Hon. John Elmsley, who gave land to the college, and a Lion with a cross in its paw, the crest of Sir William Mulock, who helped bring about our federation with the University of Toronto.

The supporters stand upon a grassy hillock representing Clover Hill, the site of the first building erected to house St Michael’s.The Greek words of the motto stand for goodness and the development of mind and body.

The words are taken from Psalm 118 and form the motto of the Basilian Fathers,“Teach me goodness, discipline and knowledge”.