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.

Tuesday, 17 September 2013

Record of the Week: Ed Sullivan at the Archbishop's Charity Dinner

Coadjutor Archbishop Pocock and Ed Sullivan receive guests at the Archbishop's Charity Dinner, 22 April 1965
Catholic Charities Accession 2012-012
This month, Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Toronto kicks off its centenary celebrations, A Hundred Years of Helping. To prepare for the anniversary, ARCAT helped to gather some historical photographs.  Combing through an unprocessed accession, I came across a folder of photographs of the annual Archbishop's Charity Dinner...and then asked no one in particular, "Is that Ed Sullivan?" It seems that the Catholic Charities staff were equally surprised and delighted because this photo was selected for their promotional posters.

In 1965, the dinner was thrown in honour of Coadjutor Archbishop Philip F. Pocock and it raised $7,500 for charities, most of which went to the Good Shepherd Refuge for homeless men. The Canadian Register (1 May 1965) reported:
Among the many distinguished guests at head table was TV star Ed Sullivan who had come from New York especially to attend this charity dinner...Mr. Sullivan delighted his audience by reminiscing over the past 17 years he has been on television...[His] talk included many personal glimpses of his own youth. For example, he recalled  how he used to pump an organ at 'five cents at a low Mass, ten cents at a high Mass.'  
The connection between the Archdiocese and the famous television host is not exactly clear.  The Ed Sullivan Show did broadcast from Toronto's O'Keefe Centre in April 1963.  Perhaps he made the acquaintance of local Catholic movers and shakers during that time.

Monday, 9 September 2013

Record of the Week: Papal Medal of the Reconvening of Vatican II

Paul VI papal medal, 1963
Medallions Special Collection, MD.23

Fifty years ago, Pope Paul VI reconvened the Second Vatican Council, which had automatically closed with the death of Pope John XXIII.  Paul VI, portrayed in profile on the obverse of this medal, was known for giving Vatican II clear direction, and for leading the implementation of its resulting reforms.

This papal medal commemorates Paul VI opening the second session of Vatican II in 1963. The reverse depicts the Supreme Pontiff walking through the doors of St. Peter's Basilica to a crowd of seated participants. St. Peter's Baldachin over the main altar can be seen in the background.

The medal likely belonged to Most Rev. Philip F. Pocock, Coadjutor Archbishop of Toronto at the time, who participated in Vatican II on behalf of Archbishop James Cardinal McGuigan. It has an "800" stamp on the reverse, indicating a composition of 80% silver and 20% copper.

The issuing of papal jubilee medals began as early as 1475. Since then, the most noteworthy actions of each pontificate have been commemorated by medals, often designed by famous artists. 

Display of medals at the Catholic Pastoral Centre
Today we took down a display of medals from the lobby entrance of the Catholic Pastoral Centre. Luckily - because the medals are impervious to heat and sunlight - we were able to keep the display up all summer.

Tuesday, 3 September 2013

Record of the Week: St. Paul's Girls' School

St. Paul's Girls' School Grade 8 (Entrance) Class, 1910
Buckley Collection, PH 29S/32PC

To mark the first day of school, we thought we'd share this postcard of an enthusiastic grade eight class from St. Paul's Girls' School in Toronto. Standing in the back row is Rev. Msgr. John Laurence Hand, pastor of Toronto's oldest Catholic parish from 1892 to 1936.  The girls' teacher, Sister Arsenia, is not photographed; one of the students sent her this souvenir postcard in the summer of 1910. This item was donated by Sr. Mary Buckley, CSJ, whose ancestor Margaret Buckley is identified as the girl in the second row from the back, third from the left.

On this day of new beginnings, we are thrilled to publish our first blog post!  The staff at ARCAT is hoping to keep our Archivist's Pencil sharpened for weekly features and other updates.