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Christianity in Canada


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First brought to what is now Canada by Norse colonists from Greenland c.1001, Christianity took permanent root with the arrival of French settlers in Acadia in 1605. They soon set about evangelizing the aboriginal people; Franciscan Recollects, Jesuits, the Society of Saint-Sulpice, and the Society of Foreign Missions in Paris all took part in different areas. After the British conquest (formalized in 1763), Anglicans, Methodists, and Jesuits were prominent in eastern Canada, while from the 1840s the CMS and the RC Oblate Order of Mary Immaculate maintained the largest enterprises in the north and west. The Moravians began work in Labrador in 1771. Quebec was a strictly RC colony until American and then British immigration brought religious variety. The SPG and other missionary societies provided clergy. Frontier revivalism appealed to many, leading to the prominence of Methodists in Ontario and Baptists in the maritime provinces. An impulse towards union culminated in 1925 in the formation of the United Church of Canada by Methodists, Congregationalists, and most Presbyterians. Since the 1960s there have been a large number of new liturgies, and the main Protestant (and Anglican) Churches ordain women. According to the 1991 census (the latest to include denominational affiliation), 45 per cent of the population was then RC, 36 per cent divided, in descending order, among United, Anglican, Baptist, Lutheran, Pentecostal, and Orthodox. Conservative Protestant Churches are growing.

Subjects: Christianity.


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