Welcome to St. James Cathedral.
Thank you for visiting our website. We hope that you find here a sense of the varied ministries of this majestic Cathedral. In the heart of Toronto, St. James provides a holy space and welcome to those who come to pray; who come to find quiet in a busy metropolitan city; who come to be fed through uplifting sermons, lectures, and worship; who come to be met by the God who loves them.
The Cathedral is open 365 days of the year with worship and prayer offered every day. As the Cathedral church of the Diocese of Toronto, St. James is the mother church to Anglican Christians in this area and the seat of the Bishop of Toronto. The Cathedral is also a place of ministry and mission. Hungry neighbours are fed, the homeless and hard to house are offered fellowship, support is given to new refugees. Seeds of faith are sown and questions about God explored through numerous educational opportunities and programs. Organ recitals, concerts and exceptional choral music give witness to the Cathedral’s ministry of beauty and support of the arts. Lay pastoral visitors, and specialized pastoral care provide deep compassionate listening to those in need, transition and isolation.
The Cathedral has been shaped by the community around it since the very beginnings of Toronto (then York); Huron for “meeting place”. Since 1797, we have continued to be a place of prayer, care and community. We invite you to join us in whatever ways fit your life.
We hope that you feel welcome here. We pray that you will find a home with us.
In Christ’s service,
Rector & Dean
The Cathedral Church of St. James
Toronto’s Anglican Cathedral
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
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’s Mission
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 Very 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
More details on the Cathedral’s history are available here or by contacting the Archives & Museum.