Toronto school board aims to buy Loretto Abbey

By 
  • April 9, 2010
{mosimage}TORONTO - Putting to rest rumours that Loretto Abbey is going to close, the Toronto Catholic District School Board says it plans to buy the Catholic high school property from the Loretto Sisters.

Angelo Sangiorgio, the board’s associate director of planning and facilities, told The Catholic Register that the board’s lease with the Loretto Sisters, also known as the Institute of the Blessed Virgin Mary, expires in 2013.

“We’re negotiating with the Sisters to acquire the property. There are no plans to close it,” he said.

Loretto Abbey has a long history of educating female students in Toronto. The Loretto Sisters first came to Toronto in 1847 at the invitation of Toronto’s first bishop, Michael Power, and became among the first religious teachers in the newly formed diocese. By 1860, 1,500 students were attending the Abbey.

Sr. Evanne Hunter, the Loretto’s provincial leader, said the Sisters were approached by the school board about a possible sale of the property located near Yonge Street and Wilson Avenue. Talks have been ongoing for the past two years but no deal has yet been reached, she said.

“We’re in negotiation with the board. The writing is on the wall that we can’t stay here forever,” Hunter said, noting a decline in the number of sisters.

With about 1,000 students in one wing of the Abbey property, Hunter said the school is in great need of space. The potential sale to the school board, Hunter said, would help preserve one of the oldest Catholic schools in Canada.

If a deal is reached with the board, the Sisters’ infirmary will remain on site, she added.

Before it became part of the Toronto Catholic District School Board in 1986, the Abbey had been a private grammar and finishing school run by the Loretto Sisters.

Meanwhile, Tyndale University College & Seminary says it plans to expand its campus on the Morrow Park property it purchased from the Sisters of St. Joseph of Toronto in 2006. The site includes St. Joseph’s Morrow Park Catholic High School, which the Catholic board has leased from Tyndale until 2013, with an option to extend the lease by up to three years.

According to the agreement, the property sale will be implemented in stages over a period of up to 10 years.

This will accommodate the relocation of the Sisters of St. Joseph to their future home.

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