Picture-perfect spots for Convocation photos

As Convocation approaches, the St. Mike’s community shares in the excitement as we prepare to celebrate the hard work, the contributions and the academic achievements of the Class of 2024.

Immediately after Convocation, there is a whirlwind of excitement, and most graduates will be trying to find their guests outside of Convocation Hall to gather for group pictures. But why limit photos to one location when the St. Mike’s campus is right across the park?

The University of St. Michael’s College with its historic buildings, burgeoning gardens, and unique landmarks is a vibrant and welcoming oasis in the heart of the city. Tucked between St. Mary and St. Joseph streets, and bordered by Bay Street on the east, and Queen’s Park Crescent on the west, the campus grounds offer remarkably photogenic locations — and an ideal backdrop for Convocation photos, complete with a Graduates & Family BBQ, beginning at 12:00 p.m. Register online.

Below are some of the most popular photo spots on campus where graduates and guests can gather to capture the moment and make new memories.

1. Elmsley Place

The oldest buildings of St. Michael’s College were constructed on the original Clover Hill estate donated by John Elmsley, a former Chief Justice of Upper Canada, who owned the land.  St. Mike’s acquired “Elmsley Place” in the 1920s, and it’s now home to Gilson House, Sullivan House, McCorkell House, Phelan House, Windle House, and Founders House. These homes serve as offices and student residences.

2. Founders House

Founders House was once a family home. It now houses the Office of the President, the communications department, and the Office of Alumni Affairs and Development.

3. The St. Mike’s Quad

At the centre of the main college quad, you’ll find sculptural representation of St. Michael. The quad is in the northwestern section of the college grounds of the St. Mike’s campus, which in turn, forms the eastern end of the University of Toronto campus. Most students refer to the statue as “the archangel.”

4. The arch of Teefy, Fisher, and More House

The Soldier’s Memorial Slype connects the college quadrangle with Queen’s Park. Its sandstone walls are etched with the names of St. Michael’s College alumni who fought in World War I, World War II, and the Korean War.

5. The Pontifical Institute of Mediaeval Studies

In 1929, Pope Pius XII signed a paper charter creating the Pontifical Institute of Mediaeval Studies (PIMS,) the first—and now oldest—humanities research institute in Canada.

6. The Shook Common Room

The Shook Common Room, inside PIMS, is named after Fr. Laurence K. Shook, CSB. Shook, a Basilian priest and noted English scholar, authored a book on philosopher and historian Étienne Gilson who was instrumental in establishing the Institute.

7. Entrance to Brennan Hall

Brennan opened its doors in 1939 as a student residence and over the years, has evolved into a bustling hub of student activity on campus, housing the Canada Room dining hall, offices for university staff alongside student government and clubs.

8. Outside St. Basil’s

St. Basil’s was consecrated November 16, 1856. The church stands on the land that Captain John Elmsley first donated to the Basilian Fathers so that a college and church could be built together for future generations. Today, St. Basil’s is one of the most well-recognized Catholic symbols of the College.

9. Outside Odette Hall

Odette Hall was constructed between 1872 and 1873. Currently home to offices, it formerly housed an auditorium, classrooms, and student residences. In 1996, a contemporary religious art gallery donated by Fr. Dan Donovan was installed on the two lower floors.

10. The University of St. Michael’s College Sign

St. Michael’s was established in the 1852 on the traditional land of the Huron-Wendat, the Seneca, and most recently, the Mississaugas of the Credit River, covered by Treaty 13 with the Mississaugas of the Credit. Today the University is home to a large undergraduate population, and these students all have dual citizenship with the University of Toronto.

11. The Dante Garden

Dante Garden

On the southwest corner of St. Michael’s campus, the Dante Garden, reflects the poet’s journey through Hell and Purgatory and finally to Heaven as depicted in The Divine Comedy, considered one of the greatest works of all time. The installation, created by sculptor Timothy Schmalz, consists of 100 panels, reflecting the 100 cantos of the poem, as well as a sculpture of Dante at work.

12. Brennan Hall – Angel Wings

When asked to describe St. Mike’s, students often mention “community” as a foundational part of their experience of the school. The fully accessible Brennan Hall offers – quite literally – a concrete example of the ways in which community is an essential and longstanding feature of the student experience at St. Michael’s. Amid the portraits of alumni and past professors, current students find themselves in a community as familiar as an extended family—and just as committed to their success in every area of life.

The William McElcheran Sculpture, in front of the Kelly Library

The bronze statue that stands in front of the John M. Kelly library was created by the renowned Canadian sculptor William McElcheran. Measuring 142 cm in height, 345 cm in width, and 35 in depth, it leaves a big impression on passers-by — and offers new grads a unique opportunity to pose alongside many contemporary and ancient scholars and teachers, including Einstein and Gandhi.

If you look at the statue from the street, you will see a crowd of people going about their business. If you look at the side facing the library, you will also see a smaller, more contemplative group of people, some of whom you may recognize. Learn more about the sculpture.