Anglican Diocese of Toronto

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Diocese of Toronto
Ecclesiastical provinceOntario
DenominationAnglican Church of Canada
CathedralCathedral Church of St. James, Toronto
Current leadership
BishopColin Johnson
CoadjutorAndrew Asbil[2]

The Diocese of Toronto is an administrative division of the Anglican Church of Canada covering the central part of southern Ontario. It was founded in 1839 and is the oldest of the seven dioceses comprising the Ecclesiastical Province of Ontario. It has the most members of any Anglican diocese in Canada.[1] It is also one of the biggest Anglican dioceses in the Americas in terms of numbers of parishioners, clergy and parishes.[citation needed] As of 2018, the diocese has around 230 congregations and ministries in 183 parishes, with approximately 54,000 Anglicans identified on parish rolls.[1]

In 1839, the area of the current Diocese of Toronto made up a fifth of what was then known as the Diocese of Upper Canada, which also comprised the current Dioceses of Huron, Ontario, Algoma and Niagara, which were respectively set apart in 1857, 1861, 1873 and 1875.[3]

The Cathedral Church of St. James in Toronto is the centre of the Diocese of Toronto. The church originated as The English Church when it was first erected in 1803. It later became the seat of the Anglican bishop and was reconsecrated as the Cathedral Church of St. James in 1830. The church remained under the direction of John Strachan for most of the nineteenth century, who was later buried on the cathedral grounds in 1867.[4]


The diocese's first bishop was John Strachan, who became the Bishop of Toronto in 1839, after being ordained in the Anglican Church in 1803 and becoming the Archdeacon of York in 1827.[5]

The current Archbishop of Toronto is the Most Reverend Colin Johnson, who is assisted by four suffragan bishops, styled "area bishops", each with oversight of a geographical region of the diocese. The episcopal areas and their respective suffragan/area bishops are:

Each episcopal area has its own bishop and some have an archdeacon, although all function with delegated authority of the diocesan bishop, who retains jurisdiction for the whole diocese.

Linda Nicholls was elected Suffragan Bishop of Toronto on the third ballot at an electoral synod on November 17, 2007, at St. Paul's Bloor Street. She was consecrated on February 2, 2008, at the Cathedral Church of St. James, becoming the third female Anglican bishop in the Diocese of Toronto and the fourth in the Anglican Church in Canada.

The first two women consecrated as bishops in the Anglican Church of Canada also served as suffragan bishops of Toronto: first, Victoria Matthews, elected in 1994, translated to the Diocese of Edmonton as diocesan bishop in 1997 (and then became Bishop of Christchurch, New Zealand until April 2018); and second, Ann Tottenham, elected in 1997, retired in 2005, and later served as an assistant bishop in the Diocese of Niagara.

In September 2016, three new suffragan bishops were elected. Bishop Shaw is Métis, and Bishop Robertson is the first openly gay and partnered bishop to be elected in Canada. The three new bishops were consecrated on January 7, 2017.[6]


As of 2018, the Diocese of Toronto has around 230 congregations and ministries in 183 parishes.[1] A few of these include:

The cathedral of the diocese is the Cathedral Church of St. James in Toronto.

Educational institutions[edit]

List of Bishops of Toronto[edit]

  1. John Strachan, 1839–1867
  2. Alexander Bethune, 1867–1879
  3. Arthur Sweatman, 1879–1909 (Metropolitan of Canada and Primate of All Canada, 1907–1909)
  4. James Sweeny, 1909–1932 (Metropolitan of Ontario, 1932–1932)
  5. Derwyn Owen, 1932–1947 (Primate of All Canada, 1934–1947)
  6. Ray Beverley, 1947–1955
  7. Frederick Wilkinson, 1955–1966
  8. George Snell, 1966–1972
  9. Lewis Garnsworthy, 1972–1989 (Metropolitan of Ontario, 1979–1985)
  10. Terence Finlay, 1989–2004 (Metropolitan of Ontario, 2000–2004)
  11. Colin Johnson, 2004–2018 (Metropolitan of Ontario, 2009–2018)
  12. Bishop-designate: Andrew Asbil (will become Bishop of Toronto on January 1, 2019)[2]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d "Profile of the Diocese". The Diocese of Toronto. Retrieved 2018-10-14.
  2. ^ a b Mann, Stuart (29 September 2018). "Bishop Andrew Asbil consecrated in uplifting service". The Diocese of Toronto. Anglican Church of Canada. Retrieved 10 October 2018. His service of installation as the 12th Bishop of Toronto will take place in January
  3. ^ Anglican Church of Canada. Dioceses. Toronto, Henry Scadding, John George Hodgins. "Jubilee of the diocese of Toronto, 1839-1889: Record of proceedings connected with the celebration of the jubilee November 21st to the 28th, 1889, inclusive". Page 129. Harvard University. 23 October 2008. Google Book Search. 24 October 2011. <>
  4. ^ Bell, Bruce. Penn, Elan. "Toronto: A Pictoral Celebration" Page 44. Sterling Publishing Company, Inc., 2006. New York. Google Book Search. 24 October 2011.
  5. ^ William Westfall "Strachan, John" The Oxford Companion to Canadian History. Ed. Gerald Hallowell. Oxford University Press, 2004. Oxford Reference Online. Oxford University Press. York University. 24 October 2011 <>
  6. ^ "Diocese elects three new suffragan bishops". The Diocese of Toronto. Retrieved 2016-09-19.

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 44°18′00″N 79°12′00″W / 44.300°N 79.200°W / 44.300; -79.200