Torbay has 2 churches, and up until 1986, a convent as well. Read more below.
Torbay was once home to St. Michael's Convent - the home of the Congregation of the Sister's of Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary. The first convent was opened on October 18, 1865. This building was torn down in 1889 and construction of a new building commenced. The new structure, which was made of wood, stood for 97 years.
The Presentation Sisters were established in 1776 in Cork, Ireland. They were brought to Newfoundland by Bishop Michael Anthony Fleming. Their purpose was to provide Christian education to the children of those days.
In 1866, the Sisters in the Torbay area opened the first school for Catholic girls. The basement of the Convent was used as St. Michael's School and continued as an all-grade school until 1956. It was during this time a new Holy Trinity School was opened and some of the grades were transferred there. However, the Presentation Sisters continued to teach for many years afterwards.
On July 31, 1986 an era of education and fellowship was completed. St. Michael's Convent closed its doors forever. There was a diminishing number of sisters entering into the convent and the town council was not in the financial position to provide the money that was needed to do restoration and preservation of the Convent at that time. Many attempts were made, unsuccessfully, to find a new owner for this building. Unfortunately, in August of 1987 the building was demolished.
Today some of the convent is preserved at the Torbay Museum. There is a nine-piece chesterfield set dating to 1880, 2 stained glass doors and 2 stained glass windows. These items were the first artifacts of the Torbay Museum.
Holy Trinity Church has served as the place for Roman Catholic residents to practice their faith. The denomination has long been established in the town and is still practiced here today.
The town of Torbay has seen more than one church called 'Holy Trinity'. The first church was a small wooden one, and was built on the south side around 1830, where the old RC graveyard is.
The building of the second Holy Trinity Church began in 1859. It was a stone church built under the leadership of Reverend Edward Troy. Today, there is a trail along the bay cliffs of Torbay named after him. The cornerstone of the church was laid by Bishop J.T. Mullock on October 9, 1859. The church was consecrated on October 12, 1863.
The next church was built in 1919. It was a much large church than the second one and had a seating capacity of 660 people. During the construction of this church, the remains of Father Troy, who had passed away in 1872, was buried in a vault underneath the alter. The cornerstone of the third church was laid on August 8, 1919 by Archbishop E.P. Roche.
The wooden church was used until 1988 when it was finally closed because of structural concerns. The present church was consecrated on June 21, 1992. It is a 9000 square feet building and can seat 440 in its main body and another 300 in its overflow areas. During the time of construction of this final church, mass and other celebrations took place at Holy Trinity Elementary cafeteria. When this church was constructed, the remains of Father Troy were placed back in the graveyard where he was originally buried.
St. Nicholas Anglican Church has a 177 year old history in Torbay.
The construction of the first St. Nicholas Church started in 1819 by members of the local congregation - a job that took 8 years to complete. Finally, on July 10, 1827, the church and its graveyard, located behind the church, were consecrated by Bishop John Inglis. The Church served the people of Torbay for 99 years, until May 16, 1926, when plans for a new church had already began.
The corner stone for the new church was laid in place on September 14, 1924 by Sir Joseph Outerbridge. The supplies used for construction of the church were shipped by supply boat to Torbay, from Trinity Bay. Once the lumber arrived it was taken from the boats and placed in small trapping boats to be taken ashore. Consecration of the second and current church occurred on June 14, 1926 by the late Bishop Edward White.
Another remarkable milestone that occurred was in 1923 when Pouch Cove, a small community nearby, and Torbay joined together to form the parish of Pouch Cove and Torbay. The reason for this merger was to help finance the cleric and the rectory. It wasn't until 1969 that a new rectory was built for their joint clergyman.