Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Toronto

The Archdiocese of Toronto (Latin: Archidioecesis Torontina) is a Roman Catholic archdiocese that includes part of the Province of Ontario. Its archbishop is also the ecclesiastical provincial for the dioceses of Hamilton, London, Saint Catharines, and Thunder Bay. The Archbishop is Cardinal Thomas Christopher Collins (made Cardinal on February 18, 2012).

Archdiocese of Toronto

Archidioecesis Torontina
Coat of Arms of the Archdiocese of Toronto.jpg
The Coat of Arms of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Toronto
Country Canada
TerritorySouthern Ontario, Georgian Bay
Ecclesiastical provinceArchdiocese of Toronto
Coordinates43°40′56″N 79°23′29″W / 43.68224130°N 79.39130770°W / 43.68224130; -79.39130770Coordinates: 43°40′56″N 79°23′29″W / 43.68224130°N 79.39130770°W / 43.68224130; -79.39130770
Area13,000 km2 (5,000 sq mi)
- Total
- Catholics (including non-members)
(as of 2020[1])
2,061,600 (31.6%)
Churches2 missions
Sui iuris churchLatin Church
RiteRoman Rite
EstablishedDecember 17, 1841 (1841-12-17)
CathedralSt. Michael's Cathedral
Patron saintSt. Michael
Secular priests781
Current leadership
ArchbishopThomas Christopher Collins

Mass is celebrated within the Archdiocese of Toronto in 36 ethnic and linguistic communities every week making the Archdiocese one of the most ethnically diverse Catholic dioceses in the world.[citation needed]

Overall the Archdiocese of Toronto is the largest in Canada.[clarification needed]


The diocese was created on December 17, 1841 out of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Kingston and covered the western half of Upper Canada. Bishop Michael Power was appointed as the first Bishop. For a complete history, see the Archdiocese History website.

In the 1840s, the major challenge was the huge unexpected influx of very poor immigrants, mostly Irish escaping the Great Famine. The fear was that Protestants might use their material needs as a wedge for evangelization. In response the Church built a network of charitable institutions such as hospitals, schools, boarding homes, and orphanages, to meet the need and keep people inside the faith.[2] The church was less successful in dealing with tensions between the French and the Irish Catholic clergy; eventually the Irish took control.[3]

Irish Catholics arriving in Toronto faced widespread intolerance and severe discrimination, both social and legislative, leading to several large scale riots between Catholics and Protestants from 1858–1878, culminating in the Jubilee Riots of 1875. The Irish population essentially defined the Catholic population in Toronto until 1890, when German and French Catholics were welcomed to the city by the Irish, but the Irish proportion still remained 90% of the Catholic population. However, various powerful initiatives such as the foundation of St. Michael's College in 1852 (where Marshall McLuhan was to hold the chair of English until his death in 1980), three hospitals, and the most significant charitable organizations in the city (the Society of St. Vincent de Paul) and House of Providence created by Irish Catholic groups strengthened the Irish identity, transforming the Irish presence in the city into one of influence and power.

McGowan argues that between 1890 and 1920, the city's Catholics experienced major social, ideological, and economic changes that allowed them to integrate into Toronto society and shake off their second-class status. The Irish Catholics (in contrast to the French) strongly supported Canada's role in the First World War. They broke out of the ghetto and lived in all of Toronto's neighbourhoods. Starting as unskilled labourers, they used high levels of education to move up and were well represented among the lower middle class. Most dramatically, they intermarried with Protestants at an unprecedented rate.[4]

It was raised from a diocese to an archdiocese in 1898, which created the ecclesiastical province of Toronto, which included the suffragan dioceses of Hamilton, London, Saint Catharines, and Thunder Bay.[5]

As of 2015, the archdiocese has 221 parishes and 24 missions. 393 active diocesan priests and 405 religious priests serve 2,066,440 Catholics. There are also 43 brothers, 560 sisters and 136 permanent deacons.

The archdiocese's motto, Quis ut Deus?, means "Who is like God?" — the literal meaning of the name "Michael," the saint to whom the diocese's cathedral is dedicated.

On March 19, 2019, the Ontario Court of Appeal allowed a former altar boy to proceed with suing the Archdiocese of Toronto on grounds related to sex abuse.[6]


The Archdiocese of Toronto covers a geographic region of the Great Lakes area, which stretches from the shores of Lake Ontario north to Georgian Bay. The area is some 13,000 square kilometres, containing intensely urban and suburban regions and also small cities, towns and rural areas.

The Archdiocese of Toronto includes the City of Toronto, the most populous metropolis in the country and the growing regional municipalities of Peel, York and Durham that surround the City. As the regional municipalities expand, the northern section of the Archdiocese, Simcoe County, is also experiencing notable suburban growth.

The archdiocese is divided into four pastoral regions, each overseen by an auxiliary bishop, comprising 14 pastoral zones. The four pastoral regions which divide the Archdiocese are the Central, Northern, Eastern and Western Regions. The zones are made up of parishes within a geographical boundary.

Diocesan and other BishopsEdit

Auxiliary Bishops

  • Bishop John Boissonneau – responsible for the Northern Pastoral Region
  • Bishop Vincent Nguyen – responsible for the Eastern Pastoral Region
  • Bishop Robert Kasun – responsible for the Central Pastoral Region
  • Bishop Ivan Camilleri – responsible for the Western Pastoral Region

Coadjutor Bishops

Former Auxiliary Bishops

Other priests of this diocese who became Bishops


St. Michael's Cathedral at Sunset. The Cathedral church of the Archdiocese of Toronto was dedicated on September 29, 1845.




  • Assumption Catholic Cemetery, Mississauga
  • Christ the King Catholic Cemetery, Markham
  • Guardian Angels Catholic Cemetery, Brampton - Proposed
  • Holy Cross Catholic Cemetery, Markham
  • Holy Rosary Catholic Cemetery, Markham - Proposed
  • Mount Hope Catholic Cemetery, Toronto
  • Queen of Heaven Catholic Cemetery, Vaughan
  • Resurrection Catholic Cemetery, Whitby
  • St. Mary's Catholic Cemetery, Barrie
  • Unnamed Catholic Cemetery, Bradford - Proposed


  1. ^ "Archdiocese of Toronto". Retrieved 11 January 2022.
  2. ^ Murray Nicholson, "The Growth of Roman Catholic Institutions in the Archdiocese of Toronto, 1841-90," in Terrence Murphy and Gerald Stortz, eds, Creed and Culture: The Place of English-Speaking Catholics in Canadian Society, 1750 – 1930 (1993) pp 152-170
  3. ^ Paula Maurutto, Governing Charities: Church and State in Toronto: Catholic Archdiocese, 1850-1950 (McGill-Queen's University Press, 2001)
  4. ^ Mark G. McGowan, The Waning of the Green: Catholics, the Irish, and Identity in Toronto, 1887-1922 (1999)
  5. ^ Laverdure, Paul (1993). "The first vice-province of Toronto, 1898-1901". Spicilegium Historicum. Rome: Institutum Historicum Congregationis SSmi Redemptoris. 41 (2): 241–275.
  6. ^ Colin Perkel, The Canadian Press (March 19, 2019). "Toronto Catholic diocese on hook for $530K for priest abuse of altar boy". Retrieved December 16, 2020.


External linksEdit