At inception, the Pentecostal Assemblies of Canada (PAOC) recognized the need for a systematic program to train their future leaders. The first national three-year bible school, the Canadian Pentecostal Bible School, was established under the leadership of Dr. J.E. Purdie in Winnipeg by a directive from the PAOC General Conference in 1925.
In 1930 that college moved to Toronto, but the challenges of operating during the depression took their toll, and the college closed in 1932. By 1938, pastors in Ontario expressed their growing desire for a bible college in Eastern Canada. The Ontario District Conferences appointed “The Standing Committee of Bible Schools for Eastern Canada” and recommended to the PAOC General Conference in June 1938 that three bible schools be established, geographically dispersed across the country. As a result, Ontario Pentecostal Bible College opened its doors in Toronto on October 3, 1939, with 45 students registered for the term. They selected “The Pioneers” for their class name. The Maritime District became part of the supporting constituency in 1948 (with Newfoundland and Labrador soon after), and the college was renamed Eastern Pentecostal Bible College to best reflect the expanding constituency.
During its first decade of operation, the college expanded from forty-five students to two-hundred-forty, and quickly outgrew its church-hosted accommodations. In May 1951, the Nicholls Hospital building on Argyle Street in Peterborough was purchased, providing the college with classrooms and a residence. Substantial additions were made over the years, including the C.B. Smith Memorial Building (1963), the Charles Ratz Education Building (1974), the Emma Hann and Bronson Halls, which replaced Blair Hall, and a Library/cafeteria extension. During its peak period in the 1980s/1990s the school hosted in excess of five-hundred full time students on the Argyle grounds.
In April 1999, district executives met to discuss the future of Pentecostal training for Eastern Canada. As a result, two reports were tabled: “Education for the Next Generation,” and “Final Proposal for the New Institute.” These initiatives set the groundwork for the present Master’s College and Seminary. The proposal brought Eastern Pentecostal Bible College together with Canadian Pentecostal Seminary-East (which had been formed in 1996 in cooperation with Tyndale Seminary).
In June of 2003, Master’s College and Seminary relocated to a facility at Yonge and Lawrence in Toronto. The Toronto location was to serve as both a non-residential central campus for students attending classes in the city, and as a hub from which to administer the network of online and church-based theological education envisioned as the future. Despite good intentions, enrolment and financial support for the new initiatives did not materialize. Rather, the college confronted serious financial duress as well as a disaffected constituency.
Over the period 2007-2008, the College underwent a rebuild phase that included a strategy to reconnect with its supporting constituencies. Under the gifted leadership of President Dr. William Morrow, the College was guided through an interim stay at a church-based campus (Willowdale) in Toronto, which resulted in a return to the Argyle Street campus, Peterborough, in the fall of 2010. Enrolment has since increased to the point where we humbly give thanks for an average of two-hundred full-time students, any given semester.
Master’s continues to build upon the heritage of the kingdom-minded who simply said ‘yes’ seventy-five years ago. The leadership, faculty, and staff are proud to promote the legacy of the thousands of alumni who have served, or are currently serving, in vocational and lay ministry in Canada and around the world.