Oldest synagogues in Canada

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The designation of the Oldest synagogue in Canada requires careful use of definitions, and must be divided into two parts, the oldest in the sense of oldest surviving building, and the oldest in the sense of oldest congregation. Even here, there is the distinction between old synagogue buildings that have been in continuous use as synagogues, and those that have been converted to other purposes, between buildings that have been in continuous use as synagogues and those, such as the Touro, that were shuttered for many decades, and between early established congregations that have been in continuous existence and early congregations that ceased to exist.

Oldest congregations[edit]

Oldest buildings[edit]

By province[edit]


Nova Scotia[edit]

1901 building of Sons of Israel of Glace Bay.
  • The 1901 building of Congregation Sons of Israel of Glace Bay is the oldest synagogue building in Nova Scotia.


  • Temple Anshe Sholom (Hamilton): In 1853, the Hebrew Benevolent Society Anshe-Sholom of Hamilton was formed. Religious services began in 1856 and in the next year, a half-acre plot was purchased as a cemetery site. On May 5, 1863, a “Body Corporate and Politic under the name of the Jewish Congregation Anshe-Sholom of Hamilton” was formed listing 19 founding members.
  • Toronto Hebrew Congregation - Holy Blossom, formed in 1856, was the first Jewish congregation in Canada west of Montreal. Its current building dates to 1938.
  • Knesseth Israel was founded in 1909 and its shul, completed in 1913, in Toronto's Junction neighbourhood is the city's oldest synagogue building still in operation.
  • United Brothers Jewish Synagogue, designed by Cecil Burgess, Rideau Street near Chapel Street, Ottawa 1912; demolished c. 1960.[2]
  • The First Russian Congregation of Rodfei Sholem Anshei Kiev was founded in 1914 and its Kiever Synagogue was built in 1927 on the edge of Toronto's Kensington Market.
  • Beth Israel Anshei Minsk congregation was founded in 1912 in Toronto's Kensington Market. Its shul was completed in 1930.
  • The First Narayever Congregation was founded in 1914. Its current shul on Brunswick Avenue was acquired in 1940.
  • The Beach Hebrew Institute in Toronto's east end was founded in 1919. Its shul was originally constructed in 1895 as a Baptist church and was acquired by the congregation in 1919. In 1926, alterations were made to the interior and exterior of the building, including the construction of a new facade.
  • Machzikey Hadas Jewish Synagogue, designed by Werner Edgar Noffke, King Edward Avenue at Murray Street, Ottawa 1926-27 [3]


The original Shaar Hashomayim shul at 59 McGill College Avenue, circa 1910.
  • The Spanish and Portuguese Synagogue of Montreal, dating from 1760 and formally established in 1768, is the oldest Congregation in Canada and therefore Quebec. The Congregation is now housed in its fourth premises in the Snowdon-Cotes des Neiges area of Montreal since 1947.
  • Congregation Shaar Hashomayim was founded in 1846. It is the oldest and largest traditional Ashkenazi Congregation in Canada. The current synagogue building, situated in Westmount, close to downtown Montreal, was dedicated in 1922.[4]
  • The Bagg Street Shul is the oldest congregation that is still operating in its original building. Formed in 1906, the Congregation has been at the corner of Clark Street and Bagg since 1921.
  • Beth Israel Ohev Sholom is the oldest synagogue in Québec City, founded in 1852.


By movement[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Calgary synagogue honours Montefiore settlers", Calgary Herald, June 29, 2009
  2. ^ "Dictionary of Architects in Canada". Retrieved November 16, 2011. 
  3. ^ "Dictionary of Architects in Canada". Retrieved November 16, 2011. 
  4. ^ Further information, including a detailed historical timeline can be found at http://www.shaarhashomayim.org