Ready to discover our school's history?
Located within the LLC, the Celtic Archives are a treasure trove of yearbooks, photographs, film reels, slides, uniforms, attendance and award records, graduation memories, newspaper articles, film equipment and more dating back decades. Take a journey back in time to peruse old photos, school uniforms and graduation memories.
BM Alumni, families and students are encouraged to visit the archives. Contact [email protected] to schedule a time to explore our past.
SCHOOL HISTORY 1856-2004
Bishop Macdonell Catholic High School was originally located in downtown Guelph at the intersection of Cork and Norfolk Street, next to the Church of our Lady Immaculate.
The school's roots begin when the Loretto Sisters, also known as the Institute of the Blessed Virgin Mary, arrived from Toronto and opened a school for girls in 1856 (housed in the convent, the last remaining structure that is standing as part of the original school). The enrollment quickly increased, requiring that an addition be constructed in 1872. In 1883, it was decided that the younger grades would be moved to two other sites on the original property (St. Agnes school for girls - which is still standing and St. Stanislaus School for boys - which was rebuilt in 1977). The convent school would continue to house the high school students. By 1926, with increased enrolment, the new Loretto Academy was built immediately next door to the convent school. The all-girls school continuied to be operated by the Loretto sisters.
In 1953, the co-educational Notre Dame High School was established with laypeople joining the Sisters as part of the teaching staff. This building provided facilities for grades 9 and 10 and was infamous for its gymnasium and its "caged gallery". Loretto Academy also became co-educational and housed students in grades 11-13. In 1962, Loretto Academy and Notre Dame were renamed Bishop Macdonell Catholic High School, after Bishop Alexander Macdonell (1762–1840), a well-respected Catholic leader in his own time, and a few years later in 1966-1967, the two schools were officially joined by an addition.
In 1992, a report highlighting the needs of the Catholic community through a Board-School-Church committee, recommended the closure of the original high school and a recommendation of a school of the same name to be built in the future. Despite a long and hard-fought battle with support from many members of the community, the school was closed in June 1995 and the three buildings, with the exception of the original 1856 convent building, were demolished in 2004.
In September 2003, the recommendation of the committee finally came forth as the existing school on Clair Road West opened starting with grades 9 -11. Grade 12 was added in 2004, thereby enabling full granting status of the Ontario Secondary School Diploma, continuing the tradition of the Loretto Sisters and Celtic Pride in Guelph.
A section of blackboard from the original school now sits in the chapel of the current, as a memorial to all those who helped seed Catholic Education firmly in lives of so many fortunate young people.
Bishop Macdonell continues to be a safe, inclusive and great place to learn and grow. With continued expansion in the south end of Guelph, the future remaoins bright for our CELTIC traditions to continue...
PAST SCHOOL YEARBOOK COVERS
Click the buttons below for past CELTIC achievements, contributions and experiences.