Friday 12 June 2015

Visit to lovely London, Ontario

ARCAT staff recently attended the Archives Association of Ontario conference in London, Ontario.  The theme “Do we have it RIGHT?” addressed legal issues in archives: balancing access and privacy; the rights of donors, users and third-parties; and the wonderful world of copyright.

We figured it would only be right and just to pay a visit to our fine colleagues at the Diocese of London, Cardinal Carter Library and St. Peter’s Seminary.

The Diocese of London is considered one of the suffragan sees of Toronto. It was established (along with the Diocese of Hamilton) in 1856 to accommodate the influx of Irish immigrants. However, the diocese is home to the oldest parish west of Montreal, and holds some of Ontario's earliest marriage and baptism records, starting in the 1760s. The archives are located in the recently renovated Diocesan Centre and overseen by archivist Debra Majer.

Diocesan Centre entrance with display of artifacts from the Diocese of London Archives

Inside the storeroom at the Diocese of London Archives.
The portrait depicts Bishop Michael Fallon, O.M.I., ordinary of London from 1909 to 1931.
On shelves to the right: historical parish registers containing sacramental records are stored in this central, climate-controlled location for optimal preservation. 

The Diocese of London is home to the oldest parish west of Montreal, Our Lady of Assumption Parish in Windsor.
 The diocese holds some of Ontario's earliest vital records, including this 1764 marriage record from the parish. 

The reading room at the Diocese of London Archives. A Canadian chaplain's service kit is on display.

Before Cardinal Carter became the Archbishop of Toronto, he was appointed bishop of London. The library at King's University College is named in his honour.  The Director of Libraries, Claire Callahan, showed us around the special collections and display cases featuring Cardinal Carter artifacts.

Entrance to the Cardinal Carter Library through the newly renovated Darryl J. King Student Life Centre, King's University College, University of Western Ontario.
Cardinal Carter was the Bishop of London from 1964 to 1978, prior to his appointment to Toronto.

Cardinal Carter special collections exhibit at the library.
ARCAT has loaned a few items to the library for display, including the Cardinal's pectoral cross and a mitre.

Cardinal Carter artifacts on display in the Eaton Special Collections Room.

Finally, we made our way through the verdant grounds to St. Peter's Seminary, the alma mater of our current Archbishop of Toronto, Thomas Cardinal Collins. Following a quick peek at the seminary's beautiful chapel, librarian Frances Theilade gave us a tour of the seminary's library and the small, but skillfully arranged, archives.

St. Peter's Seminary Chapel.
View of the stained glass windows and wood carving in the sanctuary.
The windows are the subject of a book and film series, Panes of Glory.

The lower potion of the chapel walls are lined with richly carved wood panels.  Pews in the choir seating are flanked with carved angels - each with an individual personality.

The A. P. Mahoney Library at St. Peter's Seminary.
This part of the library was previously the seminary cloisters, as you can see from the exposed stonework and arched doorways. The stacks are located where the courtyard used to be.
Interesting artifacts from the seminary's archives:
A papal zucchetto of Pope Pius X, given to Bishop Fallon. Popes have a custom of giving away their skullcaps if presented with a new one as a gift. 
Left: The seminary's librarian shows off brass shells from WWI that were turned into a pair of vases.
 Right: A seal worthy of the Lannisters.

 Thanks again to Deb, Claire and Frances for welcoming us to the Forest City.

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