Anglican Diocese of Toronto

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Diocese of Toronto
Ecclesiastical province Ontario
Parishes 257
Rite Anglican
Cathedral Cathedral Church of St. James, Toronto
Current leadership
Bishop Colin Johnson
Suffragans 4

The Diocese of Toronto is an administrative division of the Anglican Church of Canada covering the central part of southern Ontario. It has the most members of any Anglican diocese in Canada. It is also one of the biggest Anglican dioceses in the Americas in terms of numbers of parishioners, clergy and parishes.[citation needed] Presently there are 257 parishes in the diocese and over 80,000 Anglicans identified on parish rolls. The oldest of the seven dioceses comprising the Ecclesiastical Province of Ontario, it was founded in 1839.

In 1839, the area of the current Diocese of Toronto made up a fifth of what was then (also) known as the Diocese of Upper Canada, which comprised the current Dioceses of Huron, Ontario, Algoma, and Niagara, which were respectively set apart in 1857, 1861, 1873, and 1875.[1]

The Cathedral Church of St. James is the centre of the Anglican 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.[2]


Its first bishop was John Strachan who became the bishop of Toronto in 1839, after being ordained in the Anglican Church in 1803 and later becoming the archdeacon of York in 1827.[3]

The current Archbishop of Toronto (and Metropolitan of the Ecclesiastical Province of Ontario) 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:

  • Bishop of York-Simcoe – Peter Fenty
  • Bishop of Trent-Durham – Riscylla Walsh Shaw
  • Bishop of York-Scarborough – Kevin Robertson
  • Bishop of York-Credit Valley – Jenny Andison

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 (Toronto), 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 to replace those soon to be retiring or moving. They were Riscylla Walsh Shaw, Kevin Robertson, and Jenny Andison. Walsh Shaw is Métis and Robertson is the first openly gay and partnered bishop to be elected in Canada. The three new bishops were consecrated on January 7, 2017.[4]


The Diocese of Toronto contains 272 churches in 217 parishes. A few of these include:

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

Educational institutions[edit]

Bishops of Toronto[edit]

  1. John Strachan, 1839–1867
  2. Alexander Bethune, 1867–1879
  3. Arthur Sweatman, 1879–1909 (Metropolitan of Canada, 1932–1932; 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–present (Metropolitan of Ontario, 2009–present)

See also[edit]


  1. ^ 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. <>
  2. ^ Bell, Bruce. Penn, Elan. "Toronto: A Pictoral Celebration" Page 44. Sterling Publishing Company, Inc., 2006. New York. Google Book Search. 24 October 2011.
  3. ^ 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 <>
  4. ^ "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