St. James Cathedral is both a parish church ministering to the historic St. Lawrence neighbourhood and a cathedral (the church where the bishop’s chair or throne – the ‘cathedra’ – is located), making it the spiritual centre of the diocese and a focal point for the civic life of Toronto, one of Canada’s most prominent cultural and financial centres.
The Cathedral is open daily from 7:30am – 5:30pm (except Saturdays, 9:00am – 5:00pm). More information about worship times and arranging for baptisms, weddings and confession, is available here.
The Cathedral Shield combines various emblems of the patron, Saint James. The ship recalls the boat in which he was fishing when called by Jesus, and also the ships in which pilgrims from Britain and all Western Christendom journeyed to his shrine at Compostela during the Middle Ages. The pilgrims carried staffs like the one shown, and on their return wore scallop shells as proof that they had fulfilled their vows. The sword commemorates Saint James’ martyrdom (see Acts 12:1-2). The design can be found at several places in the Cathedral.
The Cathedral is a symbol of God’s presence and love in the city. It has a three-fold mission: to provide a spiritual sanctuary and a place of worship in the fullness of the liturgical tradition of the Anglican Church; to offer a welcoming hospitality to everyone, healing, hope, and opportunities to learn so that together we can build a community in a troubled world; and to provide, as the seat of the Diocesan Bishop, a focal point for his ministry in the life of the Anglican Diocese of Toronto.
A Brief History
1797 York Church established
1807 Wooden church built
1828 Church dedicated to St. James
1833 Stone church built
1839 St. James becomes a Cathedral
1849 Fire destroys the Cathedral
1865 Bells installed
1875 Spire completed
1910 Parish House opened
1997 Change-ringing bells installed
1997 Bicentenary celebrated
“Concepts of “Templar” and “Templarity” became … a synonym of help and protection, decency, dedication and chivalrous behavior.”