• 1855

    Architect‘s Drawing of St. Basil’s Church and St. Michael’s College

  • 1870

    St. Basil’s before the Steeple was added.

  • 1886

    St. Basil’s with new steeple, front extension and rear sacristy.

  • 1900

    St. Basil’s with steeple from the side entrance.

  • 1914

    St. Basil’s & St. Michael’s College.

  • 1940

    St. Basil’s along main path through fence.

  • 1940

    St. Basil’s during repair of the steeple.

  • 1947

    St. Basil’s with fence and two entrances.

  • 2002

    St. Basil’s next to new Sobera Residences.

  • 1852

    The Basilians Arrive in Toronto

  • 1853

    Capt. John Elmsley donated 4 lots north of Saint Joseph St to the Basilians, on condition that a parish church be built.

    Later that year the Basilians purchased four additional lots from Capt. Elmsley.

  • 1855

    July 9: Excavations began.
    September 15: Cornerstone was laid.

  • 1856

    September 14: Saint Basil’s Church opened for worship.

    Saint Michael’s College opened the following day.

    November 16: Saint Basil’s Church was consecrated.

  • 1863

    Following the death of Capt. John Elmsley his heart was entombed in the western wall of the church just outside the (then) sanctuary.

    (The rest of his body was buried beneath Saint Michael’s Cathedral.)

  • 1878

    North addition and new altar blessed by Archbishop Lynch.

  • 1881

    A large crucifix was added to the east wall.

  • 1884

    Patterned floor tile installed in sanctuary.

  • 1886

    The earlier northern extension was insufficient to accommodate the growing congregation and more room was needed, so the church was extended to the south.

    Southern façade and partial tower demolished, 40’ extension added which included the south façade, entrances, vestibule, choir loft, rose window and tower.

    This extension allowed for a vestibule. Its primary entrance with granite columns is on the east side. There is also an entrance on the west side. Stairs lead up to them. The 3 doors between the vestibule and the church were made of wooden tracery and glass. From the vestibule there were stairs up to the gallery and another set of stairs down to the church basement.

    Student chapel below church was likewise expanded southward. A building permit issued on March 17 gave the cost given of $3000. (Arthur Asa Post, architect)

    Glass windows on the side of the church were removed. Dormers were added to the roof, bringing in more natural light, and these windows were relocated there. This allowed more light into the church.

    New stained glass (the current windows) was added to the side windows.

    New pews and organ were added.

    Wood paneling was used on the lower parts of the walls. It was pine grained to represent oak. (It is now painted.)

  • 1888

    Votive candles were introduced.

  • 1895

    The steeple, added in 1895, was designed by Arthur W. Holmes, the architect of the Queen’s Park buildings.

    The bell, manufactured in Baltimore Ohio, is a tenor bell with a chime of ten, weighing 6,250 lbs, including the attachments and is wrung electrically. The cost, $1,000, was raised by contributions from St. Basil’s parishioners. It was dedicated in December 1895.

  • 1897

    A statue of Saint Anthony was added to the west wall near the altar of the BVM.

  • 1905

    Stained glass window installed on the west wall in memory of Fr. Brennan on the first anniversary of his death.

    New sanctuary lamp (gift of Mrs. George Foy)

  • 1906

    The organ was expanded. (gift of Mr. F. A. Moure)

    New green carpet for the sanctuary (gift of Mr. V. P. Gough & Mr. J. J. Seitz)

    Fr. Kelly added to the east wall the stained glass windows of St. Jean Baptiste de La Salle and Aloysius Gonzaga in honor of Fr. Soulerin, Founder of the Basilians in Canada and St. Basil’s first pastor.

  • 1907

    New heating system added.

    New side altars, with statues of the BVM and Saint Joseph. (gifts of Mrs. John Foy and Lady Mackenzie)

  • 1911

    Electricity was used for the first time to light the church.

  • 1944

    Grime and dirt removed, walls and ceiling painted in solid colors.

    3 new altars with side and fronts in Italian marble.

  • 1953

    Slating removed from steeple/spire and replaced with copper sheathing.

    Stations of the Cross and painting of the “Adoration of the Christ Child by the Four Doctors of the Western Church” were cleaned and restored.

  • 1955

    Stained glass windows were added over the front doors.

  • 1956

    A new floor was added, the pews were refinished.

  • 1960

    Sacristy rebuilt and organ repaired with a new console.

  • 1961

    Mass was being said facing the people on a small, temporary altar near the front of the sanctuary.

  • 1969

    Automatic ringer for the Angelus bell.

  • 1975

    Stained glass windows restored, wood frames repaired.

  • 1976

    Renovation of the college chapel.

  • 1977

    Oil paintings of the Stations of the Cross restored.

  • 1979

    New altar dedicated to the memory of Colm P. O’Shea (1943-1975). Matching ambo and commentator’s stand.

  • 1981

    Shrine of Saint Basil added to vestibule to commemorate parish’s 125th anniversary.

  • 1989

    Tile floor installed.

    Repairs to the tower, steeple and its cross.

    Stained glass added to the rose window.

  • 2004

    New roof, and copper replaced.

  • 2013

    Entrance doors refinished.

  • 2014

    New Sound System Installed

    Old Confessionals converted into new Reconciliation Room

    Office Created in Choir Loft

    Half of Sacristy Space turned into Meeting Room

    Parish Hall Painted and New Lights Installed

  • 2015

    Renovated Sanctuary, removing carpet and platforms

    Repointed the West Wall

    Washed West, South and East Walls

    Removed all asbestos from building

    Replaced steam heating system with natural-gas powered fan coils

    Installed exterior lights on South Wall

  • 2016

    New Baptism Font

    Repaired North Basement Windows

    Built new Atrium for the Catechesis of the Good Shepherd Program

    Built new Meeting room adjacent to Atrium in the North end of the Basement

    Expanded 006 Meeting room into the old chapel sacristy in the basement

    Installed security door in office corridor

    Installed security cameras throughout building.

    Began full renovations to lower level (expected completion in early 2017)

From the Archives

Excavations began on Monday 9 July 1855; the cornerstone was laid on Sunday 15 September 1855 and was a real cornerstone, laid at excavation level well below ground level.”

On the occasion of the opening of the College, a local Catholic newspaper, The Mirror, published a description of the building. This account states that, approaching from the south [the city] across open fields, the new building, “constructed of white brick of the highest quality made a most favorable impression… The College and Church are the finest in this section of the Province being distinctly superior to as to situation and appearance to the University [of Toronto] and Colleges which surround them in the same vicinity”.

The church was quite small and its appearance was “primitive.” The design was Gothic revival. It measured 150’ long by 50’ wide.

The brickwork was done in a Flemish Bond style, although later work was done in an English bond style. “The entrance consisted of a high platform reached by 2 steep flights of stairs on either side of the façade.” The ceiling was open timbers. There were side aisles but not one in the centre of the church.

The wall on the north side of the church was a semi-circular apse and the sanctuary railing was circular in form. The sanctuary windows were high up and covered with some colored material, likely red bunting.

There were benches, not pews. The sanctuary light was silver plated and was a gift from Mrs. Elmsley. Confessionals were off the vestibule of the church.

On the east wall hung an original painting entitled “Adoration of the Christ Child by the Four Doctors of the Western Church.” The church had a one manual organ. The Stations of the Cross were simple etchings.

The original plan included a student chapel in the basement below the main church, where a chapel still exists. The area under the north west corner of the church was the college refectory, which is now the parish hall.