St. Peter’s Rectory

St. Peter’s Rectory was built in 1870-72 to serve as the Bishop’s Palace of the Roman Catholic Diocese of London. Designed by London City Engineer, William Robinson, it was a handsome, white brick building with a Mansard roof, and the classical proportions of the Second French Empire style combined with Gothic window and door details.37 Its construction was supervised by John Walsh, Bishop of London from 1869 to 1889 and Archbishop of Toronto from 1889 to 1898, who also directed the building of the present St. Peter’s Cathedral (1880-1885). From 1873 until 1913, St. Peter’s Rectory was the residence of four bishops: John Walsh, Dennis O’Connor, Fergus McEvay, and Michael Francis Fallon.

St. Peter’s Seminary was established in the rectory in 1912, and the Bishop and his staff moved to a new residence, Blackfriar’s, a Neo-Georgian mansion overlooking the Thames River and Blackfriar’s Bridge. The rectory then housed the cathedral priests, the seminary’s seven professors, and 31 students. In 1917, the cathedral priests moved to a house on Talbot Street, and then to one on Kent Street. They returned to the rectory in 1921 when the philosophy (pre-theological) students moved to the old Labatt home on Queens Avenue. The professors and theological students remained at the rectory until 1926 when the present St. Peter’s Seminary was built on Waterloo Street.

Over the years many have contributed to the maintenance and restoration of the rectory. In 1948-49 Monsignor J. Feeney restored and elegantly redecorated the interior. Feeney and Bishop John C. Cody also completed St. Peter’s Cathedral in 1958-59 by adding tops to the towers. The rectory was demolished in 2004. A new parish centre is planned for the site.


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St. Peter’s Rectory
196 Dufferin Avenue
London, ON
42° 59' 11.9832" N, 81° 15' 3.708" W