The Cornerstone of the Mission of St. Joseph’s Villa was established in 1879 when our founders, the Sisters of St. Joseph of Hamilton, pioneers of Canada’s health care system, opened the House of Providence to care for the elderly and disadvantaged. The Dundas House of Providence was built as a private residence by the late James Coleman, a wealthy Dundas merchant. Coleman’s Castle, as it was once known, towered above all other buildings in the district. As Mr. Coleman’s family became older, the home was sold to the Methodist Church and for a short period of time was a Wesleyan Seminary.
In 1879, the idea of the House of Providence came forth through the efforts of Rev. Father John McNulty, who wished to have a facility for the senior citizens of the region. Father McNulty purchased the property for $10,000, paying $8,000 in cash, which was attained through initial fundraising efforts. The first House of Providence Picnic was held in August 1879 to raise the additional $2,000. The Picnic tradition continued for 92 years and was the highlight of the Dundas Social season, attracting thousands of people from the immediate community and surrounding areas. On completing the sale on August 22, 1879, Father McNulty deeded the property to the Sisters of St. Joseph of Hamilton.
The Sisters of St. Joseph not only ran the House of Providence for the elderly but also took in orphan children and nursed those who suffered from a variety of illnesses. While a Catholic institution, the facility became a community resource, which served people of all faiths. The work and charity of the Sisters was complemented with generosity from the citizens of Dundas and area who continuously demonstrated a great working relationship between the House of Providence, civic leaders and local townspeople. The original building was practically destroyed by fire in 1900 and was reconstructed in just one year.
The House of Providence was replaced in 1970 with the construction of a new and modern building renamed St. Joseph’s Villa. The House of Providence, after a second fire, was demolished in 1971.
In 2002, St. Joseph’s Villa began a transformation with the construction of two new additions and renovations to the existing building to meet the overall needs of seniors coming to the Villa today and tomorrow. In 2005 the final move of residents to the new building was completed. Thanks to Margaret and Charles Juravinski and the Neil and Anne McArthur Family to new wings were made possible.