House of Providence
Photos by Alan L Brown - Posted May, 2008
Photo Source - Toronto Public Library
Plaque coordinates: 43.655391 -79.362960
Once one of the city's largest centres of charity, the House of Providence stood nearby for over 100 years. It was initiated by Toronto's Roman Catholic Bishop, Armand-François-Marie de Charbonnel, in response to the plight of the desperately poor, including many Irish immigrants. To provide shelter and food for those most in need, de Charbonnel enlisted both the help of the Sisters of St. Joseph and the generosity of the surrounding community. Operated by the Sisters, the House of Providence opened in 1857.
Nearly always filled to capacity, the House of Providence would eventually quadruple in size to provide for about 700 residents, including the elderly, the unemployed, orphans, widows, and newcomers to Canada. Some stayed only a few days; others, for years. At its doors, daily meals were given out to the hungry, particularly during the Great Depression of the 1930s.
The House of Providence was demolished in 1962 to make way for the Richmond Street exit from the Don Valley Parkway. It was by then a home for the aged, and its residents moved with the sisters of St. Joseph to Providence Villa and Hospital, a new facility located at St. Clair and Warden Avenues, and known today as Providence Healthcare.
Posted March 25, 2013
I remember well the care and guidance given to me by the counsellors and nuns during my two year stay at Sacred Heart Children's Village. That period of my life was well spent; it altered my direction for the better and I have absolutely wonderful memories of my time there. The facility was torn down sometime around 1995 in favour of housing; a part of me felt great regret and sadness knowing that it (SHCV) no longer exists on that cliff overlooking the ravine across from Warden station. May God watch over each and every soul that ever worked there, that still exist in this life today, for their efforts to help those young ones that needed direction during a confusing and often overwhelming period in their lives.
Posted January 6, 2013
I feel that I have been searching forever for information on my Father George Arthur McCarthy born May 20th, 1901 to Elizabeth McCarthy who lived in the House of Providence back in the early 1900's. Mt Father was admitted to Sacred Heart Children's Village in Sunnyside Oct 31,1906 - 6 years old - discharged Aug 17,1907. Re-admitted April 10,1908 - discharged Sept 10, 1909 to his grandmother-name unknown. I believe his Father's name was Patrick Hallagan who also lived in the House of Providence. I feel that the people that I have contacted over the last 20 some years were not of any great help. I have decided to try again hopefully with more luck that last time.
Patricia Cardy email@example.com
Posted September 27, 2012
I remember the generosity and care given by the nuns and the staff to everyone who ever came to their doors or to their kitchens for help, not a soul was ever turned away.They gave love with every bowl of soup.
Posted September 26, 2012
A boy I went to school with but younger than me was sent to Sacred Heart which was across the street from Providence Villa. I thought it was for children with problems, not an orphanage. When I was in Grade 8, we had to bring gifts and we took them down to Power Street to the House of Providence - it may have been a nice building at one time but I remember it being dark and scary. I'm sure the St. Joe's nuns were happy to move to Warden and St. Clair. My Grandparents were among the first residents of Providence Villa as it was called in the '60s; now my mother is there...maybe I'll be next.
Posted January 31, 2011
I'm wasn't even born when it was demolished. It shocks me that a building like that was torn down in favour of street! I'm truly shocked that people would go and do that.
Posted November 30, 2010
I used to go to the House of Providence with my grandmother Maud Whibbs & parents when I was a little girl in the 1950's. We would go to visit Sister St. Lucien who not only taught my mother, but also taught me in grade one at St. Paul's RC School. My grandfather who was deceased 3 years before I was born, was from Indian River down by Peterborough. His family had a blacksmith business there. His parents were from County Cork, Ireland & they came from Ireland to the Peterborough area around 1832. My grandfather George Whibbs owned his own barber shop at 160 King St. Toronto. I lived with my grandmother & parents at 35 Seaton St. I sure wish her house was still there, but it was demolished decades ago in favour or a big apartment building.
Mostly sincerely, Sue C.
Posted April 24, 2010
There used to be a Boys' Orphanage across the street from the Providence Villa. I know that houses now exist on the property. At one point, Providence Villa owned all the land from Eglinton down to the Danforth, From Warden to just where Heron Dr, and the Jewish Cemetery are. My mother lived at Presley Ave and St. Clair E, right on the corner, and she used to raid their apple trees. My mother used to go visit with the people at the house over the street, just in front of the Orphanage. The man that lived there with his wife and son, used to do the maintenance on the grounds of both Providence Villa and the orphanage. I wonder how many boys remember the place, or want to.
Old Scarborough Resident.
Posted April 10, 2009
I worked at Providence Healthcare that is now located at Warden and St.Clair Ave East in Scarborough On, It truly is a great place with friendly and caring staff
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