James Charles McGuigan, was born at Hunter River, Prince Edward Island, on November 26, 1894. He was educated at St. Dunstan's University in Charlottetown and at Laval University in Quebec.
Ordained on May 26, 1918, he was at once appointed to the staff of St. Dunstan's as well as becoming secretary to the Bishop, Henry J. O'Leary. When the latter was named Archbishop of Edmonton in 1920, McGuigan accompanied him, becoming Chancellor, and later Vicar General of the Archdiocese of Edmonton.
As Rector of St. Joseph Seminary, since 1927, he was called on January 31, 1930 to become the second Archbishop of Regina. He was consecrated on May 15 at Edmonton, and installed in Regina on May 21.
His coming coincided with the arrival of the Great Depression, when drought and deprivation struck the province of Saskatchewan with unrelenting harshness. In addition, the new Archbishop found the diocese deeply in debt. He went on several "begging tours" to seek the support of Canada's Eastern provinces.
His initiatives in the Archdiocese were numerous and had lasting effects. He turned the episcopal palace over to the Franciscans for the foundation of the Regina Cleri Seminary, and launched the Religious Vacation School movement.
After little more than four years, he was appointed on December 24, 1934 to become Archbishop of Toronto. On March 16, 1935, he left Regina for Toronto where, on February 18, 1943, he was elevated to the College of Cardinals.
The above photographic portrait of Archbishop McGuigan hangs in Holy Rosary Cathedral, Regina.
The following series of 7 photographs were taken at an event in 1932 presided over by Archbishop McGuigan. For more information, click a photo.