Plaques Celebrate Sisters’ Contribution at the House Of Providence
On Oct. 24, 2007, Providence Healthcare and Heritage Toronto held a "Heritage Plaque Presentation Ceremony" in the hall of St. Paul’s Basilica. Unveiled were two plaques celebrating the founding and operation of the original House of Providence 150 years ago by the Sisters of St. Joseph of Toronto. The plaques, which tell the story of the House through text and photos, will be located on the grounds near St. Paul’s.
Gathered to celebrate this event were (pictured left to right): Christian Bode, President, Société d'histoire de Toronto; Margaret Morneau, Chair of the Providence Healthcare Foundation; Sister Margaret Myatt CSJ, Congregational Leader; Josie Walsh, Vice President and Chief Nurse Executive, Providence Healthcare; Pam McConnell, City Councillor, Toronto Centre-Rosedale; Lorenzo Berardinetti, MPP, Scarborough Southwest and Robert Lachance, Board of Directors of Heritage Toronto.
Margaret Morneau thanked the donors who supported the cost of the plaques and said, "The Providence Healthcare Foundation is very proud to be able to continue the legacy established by the Sisters of St. Joseph, to raise urgently needed funds for those who are most vulnerable… "
"Cities are built by people who care," said Councillor Pam McConnell. "Absolutely amazing what we can do when we care enough, and are determined enough. The story of the House of Providence and that of Bishop Charbonnel and the Sisters of St. Joseph makes that very clear."
"Although the needs of the times and of society have changed dramatically, the Sisters carry on in their service to this city today," said Sr. Margaret. She referred to two ongoing ministries in which the CSJ Sisters have partnered with others to meet current needs: the WRP Neighbourhood Housing project spearheaded by 40 different women religious congregations who, with Habitat for Humanity, are building affordable houses in Toronto and the "Becoming Neighbours" program for newcomers to Canada.
Sr. Margaret thanked Providence Healthcare and Heritage Toronto for their efforts in commemorating the House of Providence’s history. She thanked the Société d’histoire de Toronto for their contribution in making possible bilingual plaques.
The House of Providence stood on Power Street, just south of St. Paul’s Basilica, for over 100 years. Here, the Sisters of St. Joseph cared for the poor, sick and unemployed, providing shelter to almost 30,000 people during its first 100 years.
In 1962, the House of Providence was demolished to make way for the Richmond Street exit from the Don Valley Parkway. Residents were moved to the new site at Warden and St. Clair Avenue. In 1998, the sponsorship for Providence Centre transferred from the Sisters of St. Joseph to the Catholic Health Corporation of Ontario. The work of the House of Providence evolved as needs changed over time from a dwelling open to all in need to present-day Providence Healthcare, a rehabilitation and complex continuing care hospital, the Cardinal Ambrozic Houses of Providence and Providence Community Centre.