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Our School Name: Bishop Macdonell

Please watch this video, created by one of our students, to learn more about our namesake.


Bishop Macdonell Catholic Elementary School is named after Bishop Alexander Macdonell, the first Roman Catholic Bishop of Kingston, Upper Canada. Now, a National Historic Person of Canada, he served in the Glengarry Fencibles as a military chaplain in Great Britain during the Napoleonic War and in Canada during the War of 1812.  ​

Alexander Macdonell came to Canada (from Scotland) in 1804, and was named Vicar General of Upper Canada in 1807. He was elevated to Bishop in 1820 (known by the people as first Bishop of Upper Canada).​

In 1815, Macdonell successfully petitioned the government of Great Britain for grants/subsidies to support Catholic education in Upper Canada as well as his seminary in St. Raphael's (College of Iona). He started the College with his own resources in 1817, relying on temporary staff until a permanent rector/staff were installed in 1826.  Funds from the British government finally came in 1826 when the diocese of Kingston was created. By 1840, he had established many churches and schools throughout Ontario.​

Reference: Rev. Laurier Rivet thesis, Université de Montréal, 1970.