Timeline

1600s to 1800s | 1900s | 2000s

Here are important dates in the history of th​e Archdiocese of Toronto, as well as contemporary events that affected the development of the local Catholic Church​​ from the 1600s to 1800s.

1615

First Mass in Huronia is held on the southern shores of Georgian Bay.

1640s

Jesuit priests are martyred in Huronia.

1767

First Catho​lic parish in Ontario for Europeans is established in Windsor.

1780s

Catholics from Scotland settle in Stormont and Glengarry counties.

1790s

Right Reverend Edmund Burke, Vicar-General for Upper Canada, purchases parcels of land for future sites of Catholic churches and institutions.

1793

York is founded with the arrival of John Graves Simcoe.

1806

Catholic settlers in Ontario number about 170.*

* ARCAT, Bishop Macdonell Fonds, M CG01.02, letter from Rev. Alexander Macdonell to Bishop Plessis, May 10, 1806.

1812-15

War of 1812

1822

St. Paul's Church, the first Roman Catholic parish in Toronto, is established.

1826

Upper Canada is transferred from the jurisdiction of the Bishop of Québec to the new Bishop of Kingston, Alexander Macdonell.

Read the Reminiscences of the Late Hon. and Right Rev. Alexander Macdonell...

1837-38

Upper and Lower Canada Rebellions

1841

 

December 17: The Diocese of Toronto is created, encompassing the western half of Upper Canada. Michael Power is appointed its first bishop.

1842

June 26: Bishop Power is installed at St. Paul's Church in Toronto.

October 6-9: First Toronto diocesan synod is held to establish the policies and regulations to govern the new diocese and its 25,000 Catholics.*

* From Censuses of Canada, 1665-1871, vol. 4 of Census of Canada, 1870-1871 (Ottawa: I.B. Taylor, 1876) and Documentary History of Education in Upper Canada, ed. J.G. Hodgins (Toronto: L.K. Cameron, 1900). See Appendix 3 of Mark G. McGowan's Michael Power: The Struggle to Build the Catholic Church on the Canadian Frontier (Montreal and Kingston: McGill-Queen's University Press, 2005).

1845

March 29: The Diocese of Toronto is incorporated as the Roman Catholic Episcopal Corporation for the Diocese of Toronto, in Canada.*

Statutes of the Province of Canada, 1845. An Act to Incorporate the Roman Catholic Bishops of Toronto and Kingston, in Canada, in each Diocese (pp. 499-502).

May 8: Bishop Power lays the cornerstone of St. Michael's Cathedral.

1846

December 7: St. Michael's Palace (Episcopal Residence, Chancery Office and Cathedral Rectory) is blessed.

1847

October 1: Bishop Power dies and is buried beneath the unfinished cathedral.

1848

September 29: St. Michael's Cathedral is consecrated by Bishop Bourget of Montréal.

The Catholic population reaches 50,000.*

* From Censuses of Canada, 1665-1871, vol. 4 of Census of Canada, 1870-1871 (Ottawa: I.B. Taylor, 1876) and Documentary History of Education in Upper Canada, ed. J.G. Hodgins (Toronto: L.K. Cameron, 1900). See Appendix 3 of Mark G. McGowan's Michael Power: The Struggle to Build the Catholic Church on the Canadian Frontier (Montreal and Kingston: McGill-Queen's University Press, 2005).​

1850

September 22: Bishop Armand-François-Marie de Charbonnel is installed as the second bishop of Toronto. He uses his personal estate to pay off debt on St. Michael's Cathedral.

1852

St. Michael's College is founded at the University of Toronto.

1855

St. Michael's Cemetery is founded to serve all of the downtown parishes in York.

1856

The Diocese of Toronto is divided by the erection of the dioceses of Hamilton and London.

1857

House of Providence opens.

St. Paul's Church Cemetery is officially closed. The cemetery filled up quickly with the burials of Irish immigrants who had succumbed to typhoid fever following their escape from the Great Famine.

1858

Bishop de Charbonnel imports St. Michael's Cathedral's three east windows and the Stations of the Cross from France.

1859

August 16: Bishop John J. Lynch is appointed coadjutor to Bishop de Charbonnel.

1860

April 29: Bishop de Charbonnel resigns and returns to France. Bishop Lynch becomes the third Bishop of Toronto.

1863

Bishop Lynch holds a diocesan synod to solidify the regulations governing the 40,000 Catholics in his care.*

* The Metropolitan Catholic Almanac and Laity's Directory for the United States, Canada, and the British Provinces (Baltimore: John Murphy and Co., 1861), p. 246.

1867

July 1: The Dominion of Canada is established through the British North America Act.

1870

March 18: Pope Pius IX raises Toronto to an Archdiocese during Vatican Council I, making Bishop Lynch an Archbishop.

1873

St. Michael's Cathedral is completed with the addition of the tower, steeple, sacristy, bells and fence.

1875

The Jubilee Riots in Toronto

September: Archbishop Lynch leads the first Roman Catholic Provincial Council of Toronto.

1876

Sacred Heart Orphanage, also known as "Sunnyside", is established on the site of today's St. Joseph's Health Care Centre.

1877

Archbishop Lynch establishes a seminary in St. John's Grove (located on the property of Our Lady of Lourdes Parish).

1879

Auxiliary Bishop Timothy O'Mah​ony is appointed to the Archdiocese of Toronto and takes up residence at St. Paul's Parish.

1886

Catholic population is 57,000.*

* ARCAT, Letterbooks, LB05.043, Statistical Report, October 16, 1886.

1887

October 9: Cornerstone of the new St. Paul's Church is laid.

1888

May 12: Archbishop Lynch dies and is buried in the garden of St. Michael's Cathedral.

1889

November: Archbishop John Walsh is installed in Toronto.

1891

Bishop de Charbonnel dies a Capuchin friar in France.

June 7: Archbishop Walsh blesses St. John's Chapel, an addition to St. Michael's Cathedral.

1892

St. Michael's Hospital is founded by the Sisters of St. Joseph

1893

The Catholic Register newspaper is launched in the Archdiocese of Toronto.

1898

July 30: Archbishop Walsh dies and is buried in front of the altar of the Blessed Virgin Mary in St. Michael's Cathedral.

1899

Catholic population is 65,000, served by 85 parishes and missions.*

* Hoffmann's Catholic Directory (Milwaukee: Hoffman Company, 1899), p. 43.

May 3: Archbishop Denis T. O'Connor is installed in Toronto.


Next: 1900s