The Archives of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Toronto (ARCAT) serves the needs of the Archdiocese of Toronto in collecting and preserving its official and historical records. These records reflect the work of the Church in the Archdiocese, and are available to its own offices and personnel for purposes related to its ministry.
Through our holdings, the Archives seeks to promote an accurate understanding of the origins, aims and goals of the Archdiocese by preserving the documentary heritage of its offices, agencies, parishes and institutions. Our holdings can be generally grouped into four parts:
- Bishops' Papers: Administrative records of the Bishops, Archbishops and Auxiliary Bishops of Toronto documenting their ecclesiastical challenges and daily activities. This includes papers of Bishop Alexander Macdonell, who was the first bishop of the Diocese of Kingston, which from 1826-1840 included the territory of the current Archdiocese of Toronto. The papers are described at the file or item level up to the end of Archbishop Pocock's episcopate. Finding aids, including item level descriptions, are available for research use up to 1961, which marks the end of Archbishop James C. Cardinal McGuigan's active episcopate.
- Administrative Records of the Chancery and Archdiocesan Offices: Corporate records that document the responsibilities and activities of the Chancery and the offices, agencies and ministries that are run by the Archdiocese of Toronto.
- Special Collections: Collections of non-textual material that were originally arranged together by format, to facilitate preservation and access. Special collections – including photographs, rare books, artwork, textiles, and artifacts - enrich the administrative records and particularly enhance evangelization through exhibits and displays.
- Parish Records: Under Canon Law, parishes are required to keep their own archives. However, the Archives holds reference copies of parish histories and ephemera, as well as architectural drawings.
The Archives is always happy to consider donations of historical papers and artifacts that fit within our collecting mandate. We encourage parishes, clergy and Catholic organizations to contact us when disposing of these items.