St. Paul's Basilica

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St. Paul's Basilica
St. Paul's Basilica.jpg
43°39′20″N 79°21′46″W / 43.65556°N 79.36278°W / 43.65556; -79.36278Coordinates: 43°39′20″N 79°21′46″W / 43.65556°N 79.36278°W / 43.65556; -79.36278
Location83 Power Street
Toronto, Ontario
DenominationRoman Catholic
StatusMinor basilica
ParishSt. Paul's
Priest(s)Father Edward Joseph Smith

St. Paul's Basilica is the oldest Roman Catholic congregation in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. It is located at 83 Power Street in the Corktown neighbourhood, just east of downtown near the intersection of Queen and Parliament streets.


The parish was established in 1822 by James Baby, when the Town of York was part of the Diocese of Kingston and was the only Roman Catholic parish between Kingston and Windsor. The original structure was constructed of red brick on the same site. To serve the expanding Irish immigrant community, a school opened soon after the church. When the Diocese of Toronto was separated from the Diocese of Kingston in 1842, St. Paul's served as the pro-cathedral until St. Michael's Cathedral was completed in 1848.

The church is housed in an Italianate structure designed by Joseph Connolly and built in 1889. It is based on the design of the Basilica of St. Paul Outside the Walls in Rome. The new building was necessary to house the growing congregation.[1]

Interior of St. Paul's Basilica

The first Catholic cemetery in Toronto opened east of the church in 1822. The large increase in the Catholic population caused by Irish immigration quickly filled the cemetery to capacity, and it was replaced by St. Michael's Cemetery in 1857.[2] The site of the old cemetery is now the parking lot and playground area for St. Paul's Catholic School.

It was designated a minor basilica by Pope John Paul II in 1999.[1]


Plaque erected at the front of the church
In 1822 St. Paul's was established as the first Roman Catholic Parish between Kingston and Windsor. The first church built of red brick, was opened on this site in 1824. The land to the east of the church was used as Toronto's first Catholic Cemetery.
On December 22, 1889, the present Italian Renaissance style church was dedicated. It was designed by architect Joseph Connelly, under the inspiration of the then Pastor, Bishop Timothy O'Mahoney. The beauty of the church enhances its importance as the mother church of the Toronto Archdiocese.
On August 3, 1999, Pope John Paul II elevated St. Paul's to Basilica status.

In popular culture[edit]

In Short Circuit 2, Johnny Five went into a church, which is rename as St Katherine's Church.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "St. Paul's Basilica". Retrieved November 15, 2010.
  2. ^ "City of Toronto Archives". Archived from the original on September 30, 2007.

Further reading[edit]

  • "Landmark restored:." Zosia Bielski. National Post. Apr 1, 2006. pg. A.16

External links[edit]