Friday 25 August 2017

200 Church: Toronto's Catholic Palace

It's our 200th post, so we thought we would talk about another important 200: 200 Church Street, aka St. Michael's Palace, aka the Cathedral Rectory. Since it was first opened in 1846, many bishops and other clergy have resided there. It has been said that the Palace is one of the oldest buildings in Toronto that has continually been in use for its original purpose. When the Palace was first built its residents were outside of the bustle of downtown, but now they are in the thick of it. 

We don't have any images of the Palace from its earliest days, but here's how it looked in 1932:
St. Michael's Cathedral Rectory


PH 102/001/15P
ARCAT Photo Collection

In its location next to the Cathedral, St. Michael's Palace has been the scene of Papal greetings, celebrations, picnics, study, reflection, and prayer. Here's the menu from Archbishop Walsh's jubilee dinner held on site:
A menu for the dinner served at the Palace in honour of Archbishop Walsh's jubilee

November 10, 1892

Through receipts and ledgers we can learn a little about what life was like for those living at the Palace. There are receipts for groceries, coal, and other supplies. We have an 1870s inventory of the dishes on hand (there were 12 heavy silver table spoons, but only 11 teaspoons). Below is a list of receipts and expenditures for August, 1877:
St. Michael's Palace Day Book, August 1877. We can see that $1.20 was spent on one dozen beer.

HO 06.29
ARCAT Holograph Collection

You can read more about the history and character of the building in the booklet below which was written by architectural historian Christopher Thomas for the occasion of the 1982 dedication of the historical plaque that stands in front of the rectory:

Thanks to our readers for sticking with us through 200 posts, and we look forward to the next 200!

No comments:

Post a Comment