St. James Cathedral is Toronto’s longest running Anglican congression in the city. With construction beginning in 1850, opening for services on June 19, 1853, was one of the largest buildings in the Toronto at this time. The women’s congregation baked many scons and brewed fresh tea for the opening ceremonies. The men’s congregation contributed fine whiskey from the well known Gooderham & Worts Distillery.
The church was designed by Frederick William Cumberland depicting Gothic Revival architecture. The church’s spire stands at 305 feet (92.9 meters) and was the tallest structure in Canada at the time. It remains the tallest church in Canada and 2nd tallest in North America – after St. Patrick’s Cathedral in New York.
The church’s exterior is made of Ohio sandstone and white bricks made in the Don Valley brickyards. The church’s design kept in mind the balance between horizontal and vertical elements observed throughout the interior and outer structure.
The interior is divided into six bays and is reflected on the exterior by the buttresses along the east and west sides of the building. The tall ceilings and stained glass windows allow considerable natural light to flood the interior of the church.
Some notable funerals have been held here for public figures including Ted Rogers, founder of Rogers Communications (2008), Jim Flaherty, provincial and federal politician (2014), and Rob Ford, former Mayor of Toronto (2016).
The church has lovely gardens which are enjoyed by wildlife and vagrants. Flower gardens and fountains adorn the landscape.
The garden is a safe haven for birds to cool off in the hot summer months. The cathedral is located at the corner of King and Church streets.