Monday 23 September 2013

A Look Back at a Scarborough Landmark: St. Augustine's Seminary

The past month has seen the beginning of a year's worth of events celebrating the centenary of St. Augustine's Seminary.

While looking at some of ARCAT's old photos of the Seminary building, I was reminded that our records show not only the history of the Archdiocese, but also the history of Toronto and the other communities of which we are a part.

Take for example the following aerial shots of St. Augustine's. They illustrate how the area along Kingston Road looked before post-war development of the Cliffside neighbourhood of Scarborough occurred:

In this 1940 photo, Kingston Road is running off to the north-east in the upper left hand corner. The top of the photo shows Lake Ontario and the vicinity of the present Cathedral Bluffs Park and Scarborough Bluffs Sailing Club. The layout of the roads behind the Seminary is visible. Today, these streets are lined with houses and mature trees.

In this photo from the same year, Kingston Road is visible along the bottom with Lake Ontario at the top. The white house in the foreground is at the corner of Kingston Road and Chine Drive. It still stands today, though the front is now covered with ivy. Three houses have been built between that house and the house just out of view on the far right. Chine Drive and Kelsonia Avenue, which is parallel to Kingston Road, are now lined with houses as well.

The same corner today as shown on Google Streetview.
In this expansive photo, Kingston Road is again visible across the top. Resthaven Memorial Gardens can be seen across Kingston Road from the St. Augustine's. R.H. King Academy, which was founded as Scarborough High School in 1922 can be seen in the distance near the top centre. 
This wintry scene looks out from St. Augustine's towards Chine Drive. Kelsonia Avenue and Glenridge Road (which was known as Ardmour at the time) can also be seen.

In 2013, nobody would consider the St. Augustine's area rural, but as shown on the following 1916 map, St. Augustine's was surrounded by farmland when it was first built:

These photos remind us that our bustling, busy city with its streets full of cars and shops and people was once fields and trees. It's easy to imagine that when the site for the seminary was chosen, the pastoral setting would have been idyllic for reflection, contemplation and study in preparation for the priesthood. The view from the windows has changed dramatically, but the will to serve the Catholics of Toronto and abroad has remained the same.

To compare the above photos with today's Cliffside, you can use Google Satellite:

For a look back on 100 years of St. Augustine's check out the special feature in the Catholic Register.

The Toronto Public Library has more historic photos of Cliffside, the neighbourhood that surrounds the Seminary.

1 comment:

  1. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.