Toronto’s architectural gems–Bishop’s Palace on Church Street


The yellow-brick building at 200 Church Street, a short distance north of Shuter Street, is one of the oldest residences in the city. The building is often referred to as “The Bishop’s Palace” or “St Michael’s  Palace, but it is actually the rectory for St. Michael’s Cathedral on Bond Street. The rectory was erected in 1845, the same year that construction began on the Cathedral, and was built as the residence for the Catholic Bishops and Archbishops of Toronto. The architect was William Thomas (1799-1860), one of Toronto’s finest architects. He designed the Don Jail and the St. Lawrence Hall. In Niagara-on-the-Lake, he was the architect of the Court House, which now houses one of the theatres of the Shaw Festival. Thomas also designed the Brock Monument at Queenston Heights.

The rectory is Gothic in style, and originally consisted of a single two-storey building. It was blessed by Bishop Michael Power, the first bishop of Toronto on 27 December 1846.  He did not reside in the residence for long, as he died  of cholera the following year at age 43, and was buried beneath the crypt in the unfinished St. Michael’s Cathedral. A three-story addition was added to the north side of the residence in 1852 . The enlarged premises accommodated the fledgling St. Michael’s College, which relocated to its present-day site near the University of Toronto in 1856. Around the year 1900, a third-story was added to the original building. In 1981, the building was extensively renovated and restored. Today, it remains as an outstanding example mid-nineteenth-century Victorian domestic Gothic architecture.


The  east facade of the residence. The central gable, which contains the main entrance, displays Thomas’ mastery of the Gothic style.  The yellow-grey Toronto bricks and stone trim add to the appeal of this building.


                 The doorway of the rectory, with its Gothic designs.

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The carvings on either side of the doorway, the one on the left said to be Bishop Michael Power, and on the right, the architect, William Thomas. I have doubts about this, as the Bishop was only 43 when he died, and the carving appears to be a much older man. As well, the carving depicting Thomas, is not very flattering.


The episcopal arms carved in stone by John Cochrane, in the pediment of the gable.


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To view other posts about the history of Toronto and its buildings:

The Ed Mirvish (Pantages, Imperial, Canon) Theatre, a true architectural gem on Toronto’s Yonge Street

The Waverly Hotel on Spadina near College Street.

The Art Deco Bank of Commerce building on King Street West.

The Postal Delivery Building, now the Air Canada Centre (ACC)

The Bellevue Fire Station on College Street

The Bank of Nova Scotia at King and Bay Streets

Toronto’s old Sunnyside Beach

Toronto’s architectural gems—the Runnymede Library

Spadina Avenue – sinful, spicy and diverse

The Reading Building, a warehouse loft on Spadina Avenue

The Darling Building on Spadina Avenue

The amazing Fashion Building on Spadina Avenue

Toronto’s architectural gems – the Tower Building at Spadina and Adelaide Street

The Balfour Building at 119 Spadina Avenue

The Robertson Building at 215 Spadina that houses the Dark Horse Espresso Bar

An architectural gem – Grossman’s Tavern at Spadina and Cecil Streets

History of the house that contains the Paul Magder Fur Shop at 202 Spadina

An important historic building that disappeared from the northeast corner of Spadina and College

Historic bank building on northeast corner of Spadina and Queen West

History of the Backpackers’ Hotel at King and Spadina

Hamburger corner – Spadina and Queen Streets

Lord Lansdowne Public School on Spadina Crescent

The Victory Burlesque Theatre at Dundas and Spadina

The Dragon City Mall on the southwest corner of Dundas and Spadina

Buildings on the west side of Spadina a short distance north of Queen Street.

History of the site of the Mcdonalds on northwest corner of Queen and Spadina

A former mansion at 235 Spadina that is now almost hidden from view.


Military hero of the War of 1812 lived near corner of Spadina and Queen West.

To view other posts about Toronto’s past and its historic buildings:

The Art Deco bus terminal at Bay and Dundas Streets.

Photos of the surroundings of the CN Tower and and the St. Lawrence Market in 1977

The old Dominion Bank Building at King and Yonge Street

The Canada Life Building on University and Queen Street West.

Campbell House at the corner of Queen Street West and University Avenue

A study of Osgoode Hall

Toronto’s first City Hall, now a part of the St. Lawrence Market

Toronto’s Draper Street, a time-tunnel into the 19th century

The Black Bull Tavern at Queen and Soho Streets, established in 1822

History of the 1867 fence around Osgoode Hall on Queen Street West at York Street

Gathering around the radio as a child in the 1940s

The opening of the University Theatre on Bloor Street, west of Bay St.

122 persons perish in the Noronic Disaster on Toronto’s waterfront in 1949

Historic Victoria Memorial Square where Toronto’s first cemetery was located, now hidden amid the Entertainment District

Visiting one of Toronto’s best preserved 19th-century streets-Willcocks Avenue

The 1930s Water Maintenance Building on Brant Street, north of St. Andrew’s Park

Toronto’s architectural gems-photos of the Old City from a book published by the city in 1912

Toronto’s architectural gems in 1912

Toronto’s architectural gems – the bank on the northeast corner of Queen West and Spadina

Photos of the surroundings of the CN Tower and and the St. Lawrence Market in 1977

The St. Lawrence Hall on King Street

Toronto’s streetcars through the past decades

History of Trinity Bellwoods Park

A history of Toronto’s famous ferry boats to the Toronto Islands

Toronto’s Old City Hall at Bay and Queen Streets

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