The Shrine at Marylake represents over 50 years of Marian Devotion.
A Heritage of Sanctity, Scholarship & Spirituality
In the early 1900's, Sir Henry Pellatt acquired a property in King City and named it after his wife Mary. Sir Henry was the founder of The Toronto Electric Light Company in 1883, and also built Casa Loma in 1914.
In the 1940s, when Archbishop McGuigan heard about the work a group of Augustinians were doing in Nova Scotia. He had been interested in opening a spiritual center within the archdiocese, and so he invited the order to start a foundation in King City.
The Augustinians took over an 814 acre estate located on the north-west corner of Keele Street and 15th Sideroad in King City that was originally developed by Sir Henry Pellatt (of Casa Loma fame). The lake on the site, known as Lake Marie, was renamed as Marylake, and the property was dedicated to Our Lady of Grace. The buildings were converted to become a monastery and retreat center. In addition, the Order operated a dairy farm.
On August 15, 1943, 12,000 people attended the dedication of the chapel and blessing of the statue of Our Lady of Grace. On November 11, 1961, the Augustinians were given the care of Sacred Heart Parish in King City. In 1964, a new monastery and shrine were dedicated.
On June 7, 1964 at 3 o'clock in the afternoon his Eminence James Cardinal McGuigan performed the ceremony of laying the cornerstone of Our Lady of Grace Shrine Church at Marylake. King City, Ontario. Under threatening skies and with two thousand visitors in attendance, the Cardinal stated "finally after twenty years here is a dream come to fruition."
In 1978, Archbishop of Toronto Emmett Cardinal Carter re-dedicates the shrine building, declaring it to be a delightful and inspiring experience, and again on our 50th Anniversary in 2014.
The 1928 choir organ (with over 3000 pipes) in the new chapel was constructed from a combination of two organs: one from the Seagram House in Toronto, and the other from the Eaton Estate.
Over the years, the Shrine of Our Lady of Grace at Marylake has drawn thousands of pilgrims, as well as retreatants, not only from the Archdiocese of Toronto, but from all over Ontario and Canada, and indeed from every continent. In a little over 50 years, the grace and spirituality that has been dispensed from Marylake to people of different creeds, races and tongues has been incalculable.
In 1999, St. Thomas of Villanova College was opened on the property.
Historical chronology of the Province of St. Joseph in North America (later, the Province of St. Joseph in Canada).
1933: New York, New York.
1934: Racine, Wisconsin founded.
1938: Monastery, Nova Scotia, founded.
1944: Delta, British Columbia, founded.
1945: Marylake, Ontario, first mass of first Canadian Augustinian.
1947: Richmond, British Columbia.
1953: Ottawa, Ontario.
November 11, 1961: Philip Pocock - Coadjutar Bishop of Toronto, officially established the Parish of Sacred Heart, King, entrusting it to the care of the Augustinians at Marylake. The parish was formerly a mission territory of Saint Patrick's Parish, Schomberg. Father Reinhard Burchhardt was the first pastor.
November 15, 1965: The provincial headquarters of the Canadian Augustinians was transferred from New York to Marylake.
July 8 - 12, 1968: The first provincial chapter of the Augustinians - Province of Saint Joseph in Canada - was held at Marylake.
1962: A Marylake chapter of the secular Augustinians for men was founded.
1973: After many years of preparation and work, the great choir organ played for the first time.
1978: Archbishop of Toronto Emmett Cardinal Carter re-dedicated the shrine building.
1979: First Gordon Taylor Memorial Lecture was given by Mr. Malcolm Muggeridge who spoke about “St Augustine: His relevance for the modern world.”
1981: 38,000 seedlings were planted on the property to preserve the woodland and pastoral settings.
1982: A Marylake chapter of the secular Augustinians for women was founded.
1999: Villanova College opened its doors to Catholic students.
2010: The Augustinians created a new Board of Directors.
Sept 6, 2014: Ground was broken for The Rosary Path at Marylake.
2014: Fr. Joseph Farrell, OSA, Vicar General re-dedicated the shrine building.
2016: The Great Crucifix at the start of The Rosary Path at Marylake was completed.