University History 1940s

World War Two continues and Santamarians play their part. Meanwhile, there are big changes on campus as the Jesuits take over administration of the college. Enrollment grows and Saint Mary's gets ready for a move.

Look at covers of Saint Mary's publications from this time period. Visit the for many 
more copies of the Journal as well as other university publications...


October, 1940

Febuary 2, 1944

March 21, 1946



The Irish Christian Brothers relinquish the running of Saint Mary's to the Archdiocese and withdraw from Halifax due to irreconcilable differences.

September, 1940

The Upper Canada Province of the Society of Jesus [the Jesuits] take over the administration of the College.


Faculty photos appear in yearbook for the first time.


The land of the Gorsebrook Golf Club, formerly the estate of Halifax merchant and privateer Enos Collins, is purchased by the Archdiocese for the construction of a new campus.


The first Students' Union is formed.


The High School began operating its own Library.

February 1944

The Campus was flooded and frozen in sudden weather shifts, turning the entire property into a giant skating rink. Legend says that even the Jesuit Fathers got their skates out.


A Journalism program is established in conjunction with Mount Saint Vincent University.


The College welcomed the safe return of 28 students who had been serving in the Armed Forces during WW2.


Construction begins on McNally Building at Robie and Inglis Streets. The Building is named for Archbishop McNally.

November 1949

The College Assembly Hall becomes an additional classroom due to the growing population at the Windsor Street campus. A blackboard replaces the College crest behind the stage curtain.

200th Anniversary Oral History Interviews

Subject: Honourable Alan Abraham
Interviewer: Kathleen Lingley
File Size: 523k
Time: 2 minutes 14 seconds

Click here to begin

(note: audio player may open in new window)

Saint Mary's High School

"There was a very social distinction between high school student and the college students. The high schoolf students did not in fact walk in the front doors, at that, high school students, when we arrived in the morning, were directed to a little door in the north side of the building that led to the, you'd call it a basement now a days, but it was really a cellar, the college was heated by coal, and this was down underground, and it was dark and it was dank, but there was a big room down there where all the high school students would assemble prior to classes. And from there when the bell rang, or buzzer went or whatever, we would go up three floors from the basement, past the first floor, past the second floor, to the third floor, which was not quite an attic, but it didn't have the same ambience as the first and second floor where the college students went. And the college student area was sort of sanctum, sanctimonium, as far as the high school students were concerned. The only time you could go into the college areas was after you graduated from high school and actually earned your way in there."

(Honourable Alan Abraham, student at Saint Mary's High Scool grade 10 and 11, 1944-46. Recorded as part of the 200th Anniversary Oral History Interviews, June 18, 2002. Archives Record )

Student Life in 1943

"The ranks of our student body had been badly depleted by the war. Pat O'Neil and Matt Coady were among the missing, but another group had yet to make their appearance: Heenan, Wallace, Levy and MacLean had arrived from St. Pats and many more had come in from the High School. The Camera Club founded by Charlie Miller attracted many and Fr. George's "Arsenic and Old Lace" was a great triumph; Finlay, Philips and Mackey all contributed. Father O'Donnell's Debating Society became compulsory that year and "Cicero" Levy was quick to snatch the bait.

"On the football field "Slim" MacLean proved that he was not to be taken lightly. "Rosy" O'Neill commenced his scouting expeditions and used Russell's as his headquarters. Frank Wallace amazed all with his celerity on parade. Never was there a better soldier. It became evident that he, along with Connolly, longed for demotion to Lance-Corporal."

(from the 1946 Collegian yearbook, an account of how the class of '46 spent their sophomore year, author uncredited)

Share: Page Feedback