Newman Centre, Toronto
|Former names||Matthews House|
|Type||Student Drop-in Centre and Residence|
|Architectural style||Romanesque revival|
|Location||University of Toronto|
|Town or city||Toronto|
|Owner||Archdiocese of Toronto|
|Material||Terra cotta red bricks|
Newman Centre is the Roman Catholic university chaplaincy for the University of Toronto. It is housed in what was the home of Wilmot Deloui Matthews. It is located at the corner of Hoskin Avenue and St. George Street, across from the Robarts Library on the University of Toronto campus. It is under the direction of the Archdiocese of Toronto and is associated with the neighbouring St. Thomas Aquinas Parish Church.
The structure was built in 1890-1891 by the Canadian businessman "The Barley King of Canada" Wilmot Deloui Matthews. It is constructed of red clay, terra-cotta bricks, plum-coloured Credit Valley sandstone and pressed terra-cotta decorative elements. In 1899, to celebrate his daughter’s wedding, Matthews hired architect George M. Miller and sculptor Gustav Hahn to design an Art Nouveau ballroom in the house. In 1900, a larger kitchen was added. Later expansions would see an upper floor and basement being converted to create more living space.
In 1919, Matthews died. In 1922, the house was sold to the Newman Foundation. The Newman Foundation was a body created to purchase a suitable site for the local Newman Club. The Newman Club's purpose is to support Roman Catholic students in secular universities. The Newman Foundation was able to raise the necessary funds because of donations from two major benefactors, one of whom was Frank Patrick O'Connor. This allowed the foundation to purchase the property for the sum of $100,000.
The Newman Centre is one of city's preserved examples of Romanesque Revival architecture. In 1977, it became one of the first buildings in Toronto to receive heritage status from the Ontario Heritage Trust. The cost of maintenance is met by the Archdiocese of Toronto. The site has been used for filming, including scenes from Spotlight, Suits, The Odd Squad and Storage Wars.
The students that live in the centre are known as Student Campus Ministers. This role was established by Fr. Thomas Rosica CSB in 1994. Until Fr Rosica's departure in 2000, the chaplaincy was administered by the Congregation of St. Basil. Originally, from 1913 to 1936 it was run by the Paulist Fathers. In 2000, the Basilians handed it over to the archdiocese who continue to serve the centre and parish. Today, ministry at the Newman Centre is delivered by the Pastoral Team, Student Campus Ministers, and the Newman Catholic Student Club.
- Newman Centre from HistoricPlaces.ca, retrieved 28 May 2014
- Our History from NewmanToronto.com, retrieved 28 May 2014
- Mission from NewmanToronto.com, retrieved 14 December 2014
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