St. Theresa Parish History
In 1928, a group of Catholics living in the eastern section of St. Patrick Parish petitioned the archbishop for a new parish that would better serve them. On November 6, 1928 Archbishop Forbes decreed the new parish and dedicated it to St. Theresa of the Child Jesus, canonized in 1925, who was commonly known under the title Little Flower. In fact the Archbishop went further, declaring on July 2, 1929 that the church would be “a Diocesan Shrine of the popular and powerful Carmelite Virgin, Saint Theresa” and the main altar would be dedicated to her.
The church was designed by leading Ottawa architect W.E. Noffke and built on land near the Rideau Canal. The existing house on the site, known as Seybold's Castle, was torn down, but the cut red granite from which it was built was used for trim on the church building, attractively accenting the dark red brick exterior. The church fronts on Cartier Street with the rectory around to the side on Somerset Street and the parish hall in the basement. The church was blessed by Archbishop Forbes on August 10, 1930.
From its inception, St. Theresa has been a downtown parish. The last eighty years has seen it change from a family parish to one dominated by high-rise apartments, condominiums and businesses. With few children in the parish, St. Theresa School was closed in the 1960s. Today many parishioners are retired, younger ones are transient apartment dwellers and many are single.