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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November 23, 2020

Dear Holy Rosary Church Parishioners,

Sincerest thanks to you for your ongoing support during this time of uncertainty. It has been wonderful to see so many of you at Mass since we re-opened in June.  We are especially grateful to the volunteers who have helped to ensure that our church is a safe place to gather! 

As you are aware, the number of new COVID-19 cases in the Greater Toronto Area has increased significantly in recent days and, at present, Toronto and Peel Regions have entered into the “Lockdown Stage” as identified by the Province of Ontario.

For this reason, as of  Monday, November 23rd 2020, we must restrict attendance inside the church to 10 people, including priests hearing confessions or a staff member/volunteer to monitor capacity restrictions. Unfortunately, owing to these measures,  public Masses must be temporarily cancelled. Priests will continue to celebrate private Mass daily for the intentions of parishioners and for those suffering from Covid-19.

Our Church will remain open for private prayer Monday to Saturday from 11:00 am-1:00 pm and for the faithful to receive the Sacrament of Reconciliation.  On Sunday, the Church will remain open for private prayer from 9:00 am-1:00 pm. 

Weddings, funerals and baptisms will be restricted to 10 persons, including those who are involved in ministry (priest, cantor, etc.). First Holy Communions and Confirmations will be postponed at this time.

Until we are able to gather again to celebrate the Mass together in our church, I would encourage you to view our weekly Mass online here or any of the livestream/ televised Masses available at

I would like to take this opportunity to thank all of you for your continued prayers and support. During these unprecedented times we continue to rely upon your help to continue to carry out our mission and to support our community outreach.

The 2021 Sunday Collection Envelopes are available for pick up by appointment only, please contact Angeli directly to make arrangements.

Despite these new restrictions, we will make every effort to continue our outreach to you. We also ask that you find opportunities to assist those who are vulnerable or alone among us.

We will continue to update you as the situation evolves right here on our website.

We pray that you and your loved ones remain safe and healthy. May God continue to bless you now and always!

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

Pax Christi,

Msgr. Robert Nusca