The Carmelites, a Roman Catholic Religious Order, came to the Falls in 1875. The first residence for the Carmelites was a simple farm house on the side of the escarpment across from the Shrine of Our Lady of Peace, overlooking Niagara Falls. This building was demolished around 1935 to make way for Portage Road. Construction on the present Monastery building began in 1894. The original purpose was to serve as a hospice and retreat centre. In 1920, because of a decrease in interest for the hospice and an increase in vocations to the Carmelites, the building became known as Mount Carmel College Seminary. In 1926, the Chapel, the present building and gymnasium were added. A convent was built in 1933 to house the Carmelite Sisters who worked in the seminary. This building is presently called Avila Hall and is used for small group retreats. In 1966, the Gervase Toelle Memorial Library building was erected. This building housed an expanded library for the seminary and four additional classrooms. In November of 1967 a disastrous fire destroyed the north wing as well as a good portion of the Chapel roof and interior ceiling. As a result, the north wing was modified and the Chapel restored to its present condition. In June of 1979 the seminary was closed and the Monastery returned to its original purpose as a retreat house. It is now called Mount Carmel Spiritual Centre and serves the spiritual needs of the people of the Niagara Region and beyond.