The history of the chapel dates from the founding of Massey College. Vincent Massey, Canada’s first Canadian-born Governor General and one of the founders of the College, insisted that it be included in the design, arguing that it would “symbolize the position that religion should have in a house of learning.” It was intended as a space for people of good will, of all faiths.
On National Indigenous Peoples’ Day, June 21, 2017, Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II bestowed a rare honour on St. Catherine’s Chapel at Massey College. She designated it a Chapel Royal in recognition of the sesquicentennial of Canada and the relationship between Massey College and the Mississaugas of the Credit First Nation.
In Anishinaabek, The Chapel Royal at Massey College is called Gi-Chi-Twaa Gimaa Kwe Mississauga Anishinaabek AName Amik (The Queen’s Anishinaabek Sacred Place), a name created by James Shawana, Anishinaabek language teacher at Lloyd S. King Elementary School in New Credit.
With its new designation, the Chapel Royal will be used to acknowledge the history of the Royal Proclamation of 1763 and its ratification through the 1764 Treaty of Niagara. The treaty, through its association with the Silver Covenant Chain of Friendship, represented a relationship of respect between Indigenous nations and the Crown in the Great Lakes Region.