The history of Canada’s two largest cities has always run on parallel tracks. Montreal is older and was, for many years, larger; originally considered Lower Canada and, of course, French-speaking. Toronto, originally in Upper Canada, is younger, now larger, with a heritage of English.
And the Cathedral at the center of this video segment from our series Anglican Communion Stories, to which you can link from this page, is an iconic example of the British Empire’s legacy of churches in the lands it colonized.
St. James Cathedral in Toronto dates from 1797, when this territory of Canada was wilderness. As the first established church of the Anglican faith, enjoying the blessing of the Crown, its history is deeply entwined with Toronto’s, as I learned from archivist Nancy Mallett.
What I found most impressive - the people of St. James do not rest on the Cathedral’s historical privilege. Rather, they seem to commit themselves to serving everybody, especially those who are pushed to the often unseen margins of society.
As you will see in the video, this historic church is not a museum but an active, breathing community of faith.