First Anglican Bishops in Ontario

The 19th century growth of the Church of England in the Province of Ontario can be traced through the biographies of its first bishops.

When the Diocese of Quebec was formed in 1793 it included Upper Canada (Ontario). In 1800 Upper Canada had just 3 Anglican clergymen John Langhorn in Bath, John Stuart in Kingston and Robert Addison in Niagara.

John Strachan , first Bishop of Toronto
The number of clergy in Upper Canada had grown to about 100 when the Diocese of Toronto was formed in 1839. John Strachan was born in Aberdeen, Scotland and came to Canada at age 21 to start a school.   Before becoming bishop Dr Strachan was actively involved in governing Upper Canada and became the centre of political-religious controversy as he defended the Anglican monopoly of the Clergy Reserves.

During Bishop Strachan's episcopate the see was subdivided to the dioceses of Huron and Ontario.

Benjamin Cronyn , first Bishop of Huron
Southwestern Ontario was separated from the Diocese of Toronto in 1857 to form the Diocese of Huron.   Its first bishop, Rev. Benjamin Cronyn, was born in Ireland and came to Canada at the age of 30. He was the first Synodically elected Bishop in the Anglican world.   Dr. Cronyn was strongly evangelical in his theology compared with the Tractarian Bishop Strachan.

Benjamin Cronyn was the rector of the original St. Paul's Church, London, Ontario when it was destroyed by fire on Ash Wednesday 1844.   The church was rebuilt from the design of Canadian architect William Thomas and opened in February 1846.   It was made the cathedral when the Diocese of Huron was created in 1857.

The building, as shown above, was enlarged with the addition of transepts and an extended chancel in the 1890s.

John T. Lewis , first Bishop of Ontario
In 1861 the eastern part of Upper Canada was separated from the Diocese of Toronto to form the Diocese of Ontario.   The consecration of the bishop marked the first time the ceremony had taken place in Canada.   Rev. J. T. Lewis became Bishop of Ontario at the age of 37 and remained Bishop until 1900.

John Horden , first Bishop of Moosonee
The Diocese of Moosonee was created in 1872 and at the time was the largest diocese geographically in the world.   Along with Rupert's Land, Saskatchewan and Athabasca it formed the ecclesiasticial province of Rupert's Land.   John Horden had been born in Exeter, England and had been a missionary in the area for twenty years.

In 1872 the Provincial Synod elected as first Bishop of Algoma, John Philip DuMoulin, later the third Bishop of Niagara, who turned down the post.

Frederick Dawson Fauquier , first Bishop of Algoma
The following year Frederick Dawson Fauquier, Archdeacon in the Diocese of Huron, was elected as Algoma's first bishop. Fauquier had been born in Malta and had come to Canada at age 19 to be a farmer.

Thomas B. Fuller , first Bishop of Niagara
The Diocese of Toronto was further sub-divided in 1875 when the Diocese of Niagara was formed with its see city in Hamilton.   Thomas Fuller was born in Kingston, Ontario descended from Archbishop Loftus, one of the founders of Trinity College, Dublin.   His wife's wealth allowed him to work gratuitously for many years.   It was his wife who made the first contribution to the endowment to establish the Diocese of Niagara.

The General Synod of the Church of England in Canada was formed in 1893.   Robert Machray, Archbishop of Rupert's Land, became the first Primate of All Canada.

Charles Hamilton , first Bishop of Ottawa
When the Diocese of Ottawa was separated from the Diocese of Ontario in 1896, The Right Rev. Charles Hamilton was chosen as its first Bishop. At the time, Bishop Hamilton had been the second Bishop of Niagara for almost 11 years.   He had been born at Hawkesbury on the Ottawa River and had been educated at Oxford University, England.

The ecclesiastical province of Ontario was formed in 1912 when the dioceses of Algoma, Huron, Niagara, Ontario, Ottawa and Toronto separated from the ecclesiastical Province of Canada and the Diocese of Moosonee separated from the ecclesiastical Province of Rupert's Land.   It stretches from the northwest of Ontario, through the civil province, and into the northeastern part of Quebec.

Ecclesiastical Provinces of Canada The Anglican Church of Canada is now organized into 4 ecclesiastical provinces: Canada; Ontario; Rupert's Land; British Columbia and Yukon.

The ecclesiastical Province of Ontario has 7 dioceses:   Toronto (est. 1839);   Huron (1857); Ontario (1861);   Moosonee (1872);   Algoma (1873);   Niagara (1875);   Ottawa (1896).

Ecclesiastical Province of Ontario
The name of the Church of England in Canada was changed to the Anglican Church of Canada in 1955.
Ontario's Anglican Bishops in 2006   at the Provincial Synod held in   Stratford, Ontario.
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