The Catholic Church in Canada is part of the worldwide Catholic Church, under the spiritual leadership of the Pope and the Canadian Bishops Conference. It has the largest number of followers of a religion in Canada with 46% of Canadians (13,070,000 as of 2008) baptized as Catholics. There are 72 dioceses and about 8,000 priests in Canada. According to the 2001 census, Quebec was home to 6,022,000 Catholics, or nearly half of the total.
Catholicism arrived in Canada in 1534, when Jacques Cartier planted a cross at Gaspe. In 1608, Samuel de Champlain founded the first Catholic colony in Quebec City. Later, in 1611, he established a fur trading post on the Island of Montreal, which later became a Catholic colony for trade and missionary activity.
In 1620, George Calvert, 1st Baron Baltimore purchased a tract of land in Newfoundland from Sir William Vaughan and established a colony, calling it Avalon, after the legendary spot where Christianity was introduced to Britain. In 1627 Calvert brought two Roman Catholic priests to Avalon. This was the first continuous Roman Catholic ministry in British North America. Despite the severe religious conflicts of the period, Calvert secured the right of Catholics to practice their religion unimpeded in Newfoundland, and embraced the novel principle of religious tolerance, which he wrote into the Charter of Avalon and the later Charter of Maryland. The Colony of Avalon was thus the first North American jurisdiction to practice religious tolerance.
Within Canada the hierarchy consists of:
There is also a Ukrainianan Greek Catholic Archeparchy of Winnipeg, which has suffragan dioceses in Edmonton, New Westminster, Saskatoon, and Toronto.
There are also three other eparchies in Canada:
There is a Military Ordinariate of Canada for Canadian military personnel.
See also 
Further reading 
- Fay, Terence J. A History of Canadian Catholics: Gallicanism, Romanism, and Canadianism (2002) excerpt and text search
- Johnston, Angus Anthony. A History of the Catholic Church in Eastern Nova Scotia; Volume I: 1611- 1827 (1960)
- Lahey, Raymond J. The First Thousand Years: A Brief History of the Catholic Church in Canada (2002)
- Morice, A G. History Of The Catholic Church In Western Canada: From Lake Superior To The Pacific (1659-1895) (2 vol; reprint Nabu Press, 2010)
- Murphy, Terrence, and Gerald Stortz, eds, Creed and Culture: The Place of English-Speaking Catholics in Canadian Society, 1750 – 1930 (1993)