History of St John's College

St John's College is a small, Anglican College located on the University of Manitoba campus in Winnipeg, Canada . St John's College was officially opened by Bishop Robert Machray on November 1, 1866 but the College's roots lie in the early years of the Red River Settlement.

The first Anglican clergyman in the Northwest interior of Canada was Reverend John West who, in 1820, established the first Anglican school in the Red River Settlement. The growth of the Red River Settlement led to the creation of the Diocese of Rupert's Land in 1849. The first bishop of the diocese was David Anderson. When he arrived at Red River he established the first school to bear the name "St John's". For the school and the proposed theological college that would grow from it Anderson chose the motto which remains the College motto, "In Thy light we shall see light" (Psalm 36, verse 9). The new school provided both academic and missionary instruction to the people of the settlement and of the North. By 1859, declining enrolment and a lack of qualified teachers forced the Bishop to close the school.

Robert Machray became the Bishop of Rupert's Land in 1865 and arrived in the Red River Settlement later that same year. He recognized the need for an Anglican college and set about finding the necessary funds to re-open St John's. The buildings from Bishop Anderson's school were renovated and others acquired to house the boarders and faculty of the new school. The Reverend John Mclean came from London, Ontario to become the College's first warden. When the school was re-opened on All Saints Day,1866 it had nineteen boys attending as either boarders or day students and three students enrolled in theology courses.

In 1877 St John's College, St Boniface College and the Manitoba College became the founding colleges in the University of Manitoba; however, the College has maintained its strong connection to the Anglican Church.

St John's College: The Origins of Higher Education in Western Canada

As part of the celebrations for our 140th anniversary, St John's College and the University of Manitoba Press launched a new book of College history by historian and Senior Fellow Dr J. M. Bumsted. The launch party took place on November 1, 2006. Click here for more information

St John's College Chapel

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