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Timeline

​​​​​​​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: ​​​​

1615First Mass in Huronia is held on the southern shores of Georgian Bay.
1640sJesuit priests are martyred in Huronia.
1767First Catho​lic parish in Ontario for Europeans is established in Windsor.
1780sCatholics from Scotland settle in Stormont and Glengarry counties.
1790sRight Reverend Edmund Burke, Vicar-General for Upper Canada, purchases parcels of land for future sites of Catholic churches and institutions.
1793York 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.

1812-15War of 1812
1822St. 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...

1837-38Upper and Lower Canada Rebellions
1841December 17: The Diocese of Toronto is created, encompassing the western half of Upper Canada. Michael Power is appointed its first bishop.
1842June 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, 1845An 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.
1846December 7: St. Michael's Palace (Episcopal Residence, Chancery Office and Cathedral Rectory) is blessed.
1847October 1: Bishop Power dies and is buried beneath the unfinished cathedral.
1848September 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).
1850September 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.
1852St. Michael's College is founded at the University of Toronto. 
1855St. Michael's Cemetery is founded to serve all of the downtown parishes in York. 
1856The Diocese of Toronto is divided by the erection of the dioceses of Hamilton and London.
1857House 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.
1858Bishop de Charbonnel imports St. Michael's Cathedral's three east windows and the Stations of the Cross from France.
1859August 16: Bishop John J. Lynch is appointed coadjutor to Bishop de Charbonnel.
1860April 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.

1867July 1: The Dominion of Canada is established through the British North America Act.
1870March 18: Pope Pius IX raises Toronto to an Archdiocese during Vatican Council I, making Bishop Lynch an Archbishop. 
1873St. Michael's Cathedral is completed with the addition of the tower, steeple, sacristy, bells and fence.
1875 The Jubilee Riots in Toronto
1876Sacred 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).

1879Auxiliary 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.

1887October 9: Cornerstone of the new St. Paul's Church is laid.
1888May 12: Archbishop Lynch dies and is buried in the garden of St. Michael's Cathedral.
1889November: Archbishop John Walsh is installed in Toronto.
1891Bishop 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.

1893The Catholic Register newspaper is launched in the Archdiocese of Toronto.
1898July 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.
1900Mount Hope Cemetery is opened.
1908April 13: Bishop Fergus Patrick McEvay is appointed Archbishop of Toronto.
 May 4: Archbishop O'Connor resigns.
 Canadian Catholic Church Extension Society is founded [name changes to Catholic Missions in Canada in 1999].
1910October 23: Cornerstone of St. Augustine's Seminary is laid.
1911

Catholic population is 70,000 and Archbishop McEvay has created seven new parishes, bringing the total number of churches to 92; he has also built 10 church buildings and a new archiepiscopal residence.*

*Catholic Directory, Almanac and Clergy List (Milwaukee: Wiltzius Company, 1911), p. 55.

 May 10: Archbishop McEvay  dies and is buried in Regina Cleri Cemetery at St. Augustine's Seminary
 June 30: Archbishop O'Connor dies and is buried at Mount Hope Cemetery.
1912December 22: Archbishop Neil ​McNeil arrives in the Archdiocese of Toronto.
1913Catholic Charities Office is formed [name changes: Federation of Catholic Charities (1927); Council of Catholic Charities (1946); Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Toronto (1981)].
 August 28: Opening of St. Augustine's Seminary.
1914June 28: Outbreak of World War I
1917

Catholic population is 75,000, served by 100 parishes and missions.*

*The Ontario Catholic Year Book and Directory (Toronto: Newman Club Toronto, 1918), p. 40.

1918 November 11: Armistice is signed ending World War I.
1924China Mission Seminary is established next to St. Augustine's Seminary, later becoming the Scarborough Foreign Mission Society.
1929

Catholic population is 125,000, served by 119 parishes and missions.*

*The Official Catholic Directory Anno Domini 1929 (New York: P.J. Kennedy and Sons, 1929), p. 61.

 September: Foundation of the Institute of Mediaeval Studies [is created a Pontifical Institute in October 1939].
 October 29: Stock market crashes marking the beginning of Great Depression
1934May 25: Archbishop McNeil dies and is buried at St. Augustine's Seminary.

 

Catholic population is 165,000* and the number of parishes and missions has grown to 126.** 

*The Official Catholic Directory Anno Domini 1935 (New York: P.J. Kennedy and Sons, 1935), p. 47.  **Hoffmann's Catholic Directory (Milwaukee: Hoffman Company, 1899), p. 43.

1935Mar 20: Archbishop James C. McGuigan is installed in Toronto. Under his administration, the following Auxiliary Bishops are appointed: Benjamin (1946-1954); Francis Allen (1954-1977); Francis Marroc​co (1955-1968).
1937St. Michael's Choir School is founded.
1939-45World War II: Archbishop McGuigan releases priests to serve as chaplains in the armed forces and forms a unit of ninety women's societies sending parcels overseas, providing chapels and reading rooms in military camps and serving meals.
 Archbishop McGuigan's administration conducts many successful fund-raising campaigns, including ones for St. Augustine's Seminary and for Catholic education.
1946February 18: Archbishop McGuigan is elevated to the Sacred College of Cardinals, becoming the first English-speaking Cardinal in Canada.
1947June 18-22: Marian Congress in Ottawa is presided over by Cardinal McGuigan as the special representative of Pope Pius XII.
1949

Catholic population is 197,000, served by 158 parishes and missions.*

*Le Canada Ecclésiastique: Annuaire du Clergé 1949 (Montréal: Librairie Beauchemin, 1949) p. 388.

1954Opening of Holy Cross Cemetery in Thornhill.
1958November:  Establishment of the Diocese of St. Catharines.
1959

Catholic population is 365,000, served by 153 parishes and missions.* 

*ARCAT, Diocesan Quinquennial Reports, 1959.

1961February 18: Archbishop Philip F. Pocock is named Coadjutor to the Archbishop of Toronto and takes over the administration of the Archdiocese. Under his administration, the following Auxiliary Bishops are appointed: Thomas Fulton (1968-1978); Aloysius​ Ambrozic (1976-1990).
1966Senate of Priests is established.
1969January: Archdiocesan Pastoral Council is established.
1970April: Toronto School of Theology is incorporated.
1971Cardinal McGuigan resigns.
1973

The Second Vatican Council, or Vatican II, is held.

Catholic population is 750,000, served by 203 parishes and missions.*                          

*ARCAT, Diocesan Quinquennial Reports, 1973.​

1974April 8: Cardinal McGuigan dies and is buried at St. Augustine's Seminary.
 May-June: The first 26 Permanent Deacons of the Archdiocese of Toronto are ordained in five separate ceremonies by Archbishop Pocock.
1976ShareLife is established when Archbishop Pocock withdraws the Council of Catholic Charities from the United Way.
1978

By 1978 the Catholic population is 900,000 and 45 new parishes had been built for a total of 210 parishes ​and missions.*

*Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops Directory 1979 (Ottawa: Concacan Inc., 1979), p. 78.

 April 29: Archbishop Pocock resigns.
 June 5: Bishop Gerald Emmett Carter is installed as Archbishop of Toronto. Under his administration, the following Auxiliary Bishops are appointed: Robert Clune (1979-1997); M. Pearse Lacey (1979-1993); Le​onard Wall (1979-1992).
1979May 26: Archbishop Carter is elevated to the Sacred College of Cardinals.
1981Cardinal Carter begins the annual Cardinal's Dinner.
1982Covenant House is established in downtown Toronto.
1984

Catholic population is 1,214,000, served by 214 parishes, missions and chapels.*

*Canadian Catholic Church Directory 1985-1986 (Montréal: B.M. Advertising Inc., 1985), p. 218.

 September 6: Archbishop Pocock dies and is buried at Holy Cross Cemetery, Thornhill.
 September 14-15: Pope John Paul II visits various parts of the archdiocese as part of a pastoral visit to Canada.
1986May 22: Bishop Ambrozic is appointed Coadjutor Archbishop. 
1987Ontario Government passes legislation providing full funding to Catholic high schools.
 

Cardinal Carter celebrates a triple anniversary: 75th birthday; 50th year as a priest; and 25th year as a bishop. ​

1990March 17: Cardinal Carter resigns, making Archbishop Ambrozic the new ordinary of the Archdiocese of Toronto. Under Archbishop Ambrozic's administration, the following Auxiliary Bishops are appointed: Nicola De Angelis, C.F.I.C.(1992- 2003); John Knight (1992-2001);Terrence Prendergast S.J. (1995-1998); R. Anthony Meagher (1997-2002); John Boissonneau​ (2001- Present); Richard Grecco (2002-2009); Daniel B​ohan (2003-2005); Peter J. Hundt (2006-2011).
1991April: Archbishop Ambrozic announces the creation of an office of youth ministry [now called Office of Catholic Youth].
1992

Catholic population is 1,337,000,* served by 233 parishes, missions and chapels.**

*Canadian Catholic Church Directory 1985-1986 (Montréal: B.M. Advertising Inc., 1985), p. 218.​ **ARCAT, Diocesan Quinquennial Reports, 1992.

1998February 21: Archbishop Ambrozic is elevated to the Sacred College of Cardinals.
2000Year of the Great Jubilee celebrating the third Christian millennium.
 November 5: Official Blessing of St. Paul's Church as a Minor Basilica.
2002July 23-28: World Youth Day in Toronto, presided over by Pope John Paul II.
 November 16: Canadian Catholic Bioethics Institute (CCBI) is officially opened.
2003April 6: Cardinal Carter dies and is buried at Holy Cross Cemetery, Thornhill.
2005April: Cardinal Ambrozic attends the conclave which elects Pope Benedict XVI.
2006December 16: Pope Benedict XVI accepts the resignation of Cardinal Ambrozic and appoints Archbishop Thomas C​hristopher Collins as the tenth Archbishop of Toronto. Under his administration, the following Auxiliary Bishops are appointed: William McGratt​an (2010-2014);Vincent Nguyen (2010-Present); Wayne Kirkpatrick​ (2012-Present)
2012February 18: Archbishop Collins is elevated to the Sacred College of Cardinals.
2013February: Pope Benedict XVI announces his resignation for the end of the month, becoming the first pope to resign since 1415.​
Today​The Archdiocese of Toronto is Canada’s largest diocese, stretching from Toronto north to Georgian Bay and from Oshawa to Mississauga. Serving the Archdiocese of Toronto’s Catholic population of over 1.9 million are: 225 parishes, 19 missions and various chaplaincies; 399 diocesan priests; 129 permanent deacons; as well as 91 religious orders comprised of 434 priests, 55 brothers and 538 sisters.*​​

 
*Statistics on number of parishes, missions, priests, permanent deacons and religious order personnel compiled from internal Chancery Information System (CIS) database reports. Catholic population compiled from: Statistics Canada. National Household Survey (NHS) Profile. 2011 National Household Survey​​​ (accessed August 26, 2013).

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