St. Joseph's College School

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St. Joseph's College School
SJCS Wellesley Logo.svg
St Josephs College School.jpg
74 Wellesley Street West
Discovery District, Toronto, Ontario, M5C 1C4
Coordinates 43°39′52″N 79°23′20″W / 43.664357°N 79.388838°W / 43.664357; -79.388838Coordinates: 43°39′52″N 79°23′20″W / 43.664357°N 79.388838°W / 43.664357; -79.388838
School type Catholic High school
Motto Congregavit nos in unum Christi amor
(The love of Christ has gathered us together into one)
Religious affiliation(s) Roman Catholic
(Sisters of St. Joseph)
Established 1854
School board Toronto Catholic District School Board
Superintendent John Shanahan
Area 6
Area trustee Jo-Ann Davis
Ward 9
School number 514 / 814954
Principal Helen Lesniak
Faculty 50
Enrolment 827 (2016-17)
Campus Urban
Colour(s) Gold and Brown         
Mascot Bear
Team name St. Joseph Bears
Parish St. Basil's
Specialist High Skills Major Health and Wellness
(awaiting approval from the board)
Program Focus Gifted

St. Joseph's College School (St. Joseph's College, SJCS, or St. Joe's College, more colloquially known as St. Joseph's, Wellesley) is a girls' Catholic high school in downtown Toronto, Ontario, Canada operated by the Toronto Catholic District School Board. It turned 150 years old in the school year 2004-2005. In the year 2010-2011, the Fraser Institute ranked St. Joseph's College amongst the top 5% of Ontario schools.[1]

History and tradition[edit]

St. Joseph’s College School was founded by the Sisters of St. Joseph of Toronto in 1854, three years after the first nuns from the order came to the city. Originally called “St. Joseph’s Academy for Young Ladies,” the name was changed to “St. Joseph’s College School, a Residential and Day School for the Higher and Primary Education of Young Ladies and Little Girls” when the school moved to Bay and St. Alban’s Street in 1863. In 1927, the school was renamed “St. Joseph’s College School” when it was moved to a building separate from the convent.

St. Joseph’s College has a history of promoting girls’ and women’s education. In 1911, the school requested to be affiliated with the University of Toronto--a request the then-president of the university, Sir Robert Falconer, granted. St. Joseph’s was officially tied to St. Michael’s College, the Roman Catholic college of the University of Toronto, in 1912. This resulted in women being able to take courses at St. Michael’s College for the first time. In 1928, the Academy was renamed St. Joseph’s College School.

When the Ontario government purchased the convent property to construct four office towers, the Sisters of St. Joseph relocated the College School across the street at its present location. Students helped with the move, carrying furniture across Wellesley Street. St. Joseph’s College School at 74 Wellesley Street West opened on September 3, 1961. In 1967, it entered an agreement with the Metropolitan Separate School Board (now The Toronto Catholic District School Board) where Grades 9 and 10 were placed into the publicly funded system, while later grades continued to pay tuition. In 1984, the Ontario government expanded funding in Grades 11-13, the College School became entirely publicly funded in 1987 as it was ceased as a private school, at which time the Sisters leased the school to the Metropolitan Separate School Board. The last Sister of St. Joseph to serve as principal retired in June 1996.

The Toronto Catholic District School Board bought the College School property from the Sisters of St. Joseph in December 2007.


St. Joseph’s College School offers a full-time Extended French program, a variety of Advanced Placement and enriched courses, and a wide range of classes in the sciences and the humanities. Additionally, the Arts Department offers drama, visual arts, music, and new media arts programming. Drama students, for example, have taken part in the Sears Ontario Drama Festival[2][not in citation given]. St. Joseph's regularly scores within the top 10% of schools on the Education Quality and Accountability Office's standarised tests.[3]

The school also has a Gifted education program and an Enriched program. Through these, students are able to take part in a number of activities, including Encounters With Canada, the University of Toronto Mentorship Program, model United Nations conferences, the Queen’s University Enrichment Studies Unit, the University of Toronto Gifted Conference, Canadian Open Mathematics Challenge, and the University of Waterloo's various mathematics competitions.

A graduation ceremony at St. Joseph's College School


The Chaplaincy program at St. Joseph’s College School provides all staff and students experiences of prayer, the sacraments, social action and Catholic leadership. The school chaplaincy team leader and the student chaplaincy team organize the student retreat program, plan all aspects of school liturgies, contribute to the annual Remembrance Day assembly, and facilitate many other school projects.


Students at St. Joseph's wear a uniform, which includes a Dress Gordon plaid kilt, a white blouse with the school insignia, and navy blazers, cardigans, and sweater vests embroidered with the school crest.

Notable alumnae[edit]

See also[edit]


External links[edit]