Parish History

  • 1882

  • 1892

  • 1924

  • 2015


    In 1882, Father Lawrence Brennan, C.S.B., then Parish Priest at St. Basil's Church on St. Joseph Street, purchased 50 acres of land with a frontage of 320 feet on St. Clair Avenue West. At that time, this was farmland well out in the country from Toronto. Father Brennan bought it as a farm for St. Michael's College and subsequently, for the building of a novitiate to train young men who aspired to become priests. He had no idea of the eventual value of such land today.


    On May 8, 1892, the cornerstone was laid for the novitiate together with a chapel, which would also serve as the parish church for the large Irish community then developing at Bathurst and St. Clair. By October 1892, both the novitiate and the chapel were ready for use. The chapel was dedicated to Our Lady of the Most Holy Rosary. The original parish hall opened in 1914 and became a gathering place for teaching, community social events, active parish groups, and events for relief of war victims.


    In August 1924, Father Michael Oliver was appointed pastor with instruction to plan for a new church to accommodate the growing Parish. Father Oliver had a particular love for the churches of England, and he modeled the new Holy Rosary Church after the 15th century Gothic church St. Mary the Virgin in St. Neots, Huntingdonshire, England. His Grace Archbishop Neil McNeil laid the cornerstone for the new church on May 30, 1926. The completed church cost about $150,000 and was opened and blessed on May 8, 1927.

    The first stained glass window was installed over the main altar in 1928 and was dedicated to the memory of the donor's son, John Franklin Brown, Jr. who lost his life in the First World War. The installation of the great tower window over the choir loft began in 1931 followed by the installation of the other windows continuing through to their completion in 1945.


    As a result of the efforts of Father Oliver, today we have one of the most beautiful churches in Toronto with its classical Gothic simplicity and beautiful stained glass windows.


    The Basilian Fathers founded and served Holy Rosary Parish from 1892 to 2015.

    In July of 2015 the Archdiocese of Toronto, welcomed Msgr. Robert Nusca as the Pastor of Holy Rosary Parish.


We, the faith community of Holy Rosary, strive to foster a joyful encounter with God and our fellow parishioners.

Inspired by the Holy Spirit in Christ, we are called to serve all of our community, especially those most in need.

Contact Us

354 St. Clair Ave. West
Toronto, Ontario, M5P 1N4

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We very much appreciate your financial support of our Parish.

Please click this link to go to the website of the Archdiocese of Toronto who processes donations for all Parishes.

The full amount of the donation is sent to the Parish less the credit card processing fee of approximately 2%.

Please remember to select Holy Rosary Parish from the drop-down menu.

Thank you so much!

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June 20, 2020

Dear Parishioners of Holy Rosary Church,

At present, government regulations and Archdiocesan policies permit Mass attendance of up to 30% capacity, which must also include allowances for physical distancing norms. Since space is limited, please call the parish office (416-923-8471) or send an e-mail to ( ahead of time in order to reserve a place at the Mass which you would like to attend.

It is also advised that you arrive at least 15 minutes prior to Mass.Please note that parishioners are being asked to enter and exit through the our north-east entrance, the wheel-chair access door on Tweedsmuir Ave. We have been asked to keep all other points of entry closed for the time being.

If you know a parishioner who does not use the internet, please share this update with them.

Finally, we ask for your patience as the parishes of the Archdiocese deal with these emergency measures. Please see the "Worship Safe Guidelines" issued by the Archdiocese of Toronto.

All in the assembly (with the exception of the priest and ministers) are strongly encouraged to wear a mask upon the recommendation of the Ontario Medical Officer of Health.

Msgr. Robert Nusca, Pastor

Holy Rosary Church
354 St. Clair Ave. West
Toronto, ON. M5P 1N4
Office: (416) 923 - 8471
Fax: (416) 923-8473