The original church was a small wooden building on William Street (renamed St. Patrick Street in 1918). It was burnt down on June 22, 1865. Father J.M. Laurent, the first resident pastor appointed in 1867, built the fine Gothic Church in 1869 and was completed in 1870. The new church was consecrated by Archbishop Lynch of Toronto on Sunday, November 20, 1870.
The Redemptorists were given charge of the church on January 15, 1881. Due to the expanded Irish and German population in Toronto, a bigger St. Patrick Church was built on McCaul Street in 1908. The vacant church was given to the Italian Catholic Community in 1908 and was named "Our Lady of Mount Carmel Church". The Italian Catholic Community stayed until 1967 and the church was assigned to the Portuguese community from 1965 to 1969.
Realizing the need of a Chinese Catholic Parish in Toronto, Father Louis Tchang of Montreal came to Toronto in January 1967. With approximately 80 parishioners, Father Tchang celebrated the first Holy Mass in the Chinese language on Sunday, February 12, 1967 (it was also the fourth day of the Lunar Chinese New Year) at Our Lady of Mount Carmel Church which was used by the Portuguese community.
Subsequent masses were celebrated at St. Patrick Church on McCaul Street until we purchased a former Jewish synagogue on Cecil Street in Spadina Chinatown on September 1967. As the Chinese Catholic population grew, the Archdiocese of Toronto granted Our Lady of Mount Carmel Church to the Chinese Catholic community in the fall of 1969. This becomes the first church in Metropolitan Toronto for the Chinese Catholic community. During the 1970's, the church was also shared with the Korean community.
In 1972, Father John B. Mak was appointed to Our Lady of Mount Carmel as the second resident pastor of the first Chinese Parish in Toronto in Toronto. His legacy stretched the span of 29 years from 1972 to 2001.
After the passing of Father Mak in July 2001, Fr. Peter Chin, C.Ss.R. our third resident pastor and administrator, was appointed on November 1, and installed a month later, December 1, 2011.
Over the past 45 years, Chinese Catholic has been celebrating the Holy Eucharist under the rich tapestry of Our Lady of Mount Carmel. Today Our Lady of Mount Carmel Church is a welcoming home for our latest immigrants from mainland China. Fr. Peter Chin, C.Ss.R. together with the pastoral staff have offered various programs (volunteering program, general repair training, and English language programs etc.) to the recently arrived, thus helping them in their transition to their new environment and making Canada their new home, as well as helping them to integrate into the Catholic culture of the Archdiocese of Toronto.
The church is 145 years old. Like all old buildings, it required extensive maintenance and repair. The church's foundational structure was reinforced and the leaky slate roof replaced, while the structural works are basically done. In 2007, Fr. Peter undertook an extensive restoration work for the interior of the church.
The scaffolds went up in mid-January of the year. During the removal of the old paint on the walls, the restoration workers discovered that there were original sacred paintings as well as sacred designs and patterns throughout the main body of the church. They also uncovered two ceilings – the outer tin ceiling and the original ornate plaster and lath ceiling. The inner ceiling is adorned with extensive sacred designs and patterns. These hidden treasures had been painted over and hidden for over a hundred years and no living person today could remember their beauty and glory.
It was a most challenging and intensive restoration work ever undertaken. The church is full of history of various ethnic groups. It took the working crews almost three weeks in January just to uncover the history from various designs and motifs.
A long forgotten sculpture of Our Lady of Mount Carmel was uncovered and the sculpture of Our Lady of Mount Carmel is now placed in a newly built shrine in a niche by the sanctuary.
Other restorations were original sacred arts, motifs and patterns, refurbished stained glass windows, and antique sacred vassals, precious statuettes and holy banners and vestments. The consecrated objects became a highlight in a newly created little museum for display and connection to a rich historical heritage.
Today, Our Lady of Mount Carmel is restored to its original beauty and elegance worthy of her name – Our Lady of Mount Carmel. To all of us, true devotees of Our Lady, this is a time of celebration and thanksgiving.
The soul is immortal, human death is separation of soul and body, the body returns to earth , the soul returns to heaven ----- soul is in the image of God. In this, our ancestors are still alive, their spirits are not dead and their merits are still here. Descendants tend to hold on to something to enable them to remember their ancestors. In filial piety and due diligence of the forth commandment --- "honor your father and mother" in the life after death, Memorial Chapel is a place which may be use it as a shrine to remember our ancestors. In each Sunday's mass, we will pray for them. "Memorial Chapel" regularly holds masses for the ancestors which is a great benefit for their souls. For inquiry to set up a memorial plaque for your ancestors in the Memorial Chapel, please contact Fr. Peter Chin for details.
In your kindness, please remember our parish in your bequests. Please contact Fr. Peter Chin, Pastor for detail.