Religion [Lat, religio, "respect for what is sacred"] may be defined as the relationship between human beings and their transcendent source of value. In practice it may involve various forms of communication with a higher power, such as prayers, rituals at critical stages in life, meditation or "possession" by spiritual agencies.
May 22, 1611
First Jesuits Arrive in New France
The first Jesuits to arrive in New France, Pierre Biard and Ennemond Massé, arrived at Port-Royal on May 22, 1611.
June 24, 1615
First Mass in New France
Father Denis Jamet performed the first mass ever celebrated in New France on the Île de Montréal.
January 06, 1642
Maisonneuve Plants Cross
Sieur de Maisonneuve planted a cross near Mont Royal on the Feast of the Epiphany.
March 16, 1649
Jesuit missionaries Jean de Brébeuf and Charles Lalemant were executed by the Iroquois.
June 16, 1659
Laval Arrives at Québec
Monseigneur de Laval arrived at Québec as Vicar-apostolic in New France. He became Bishop in 1674.
March 26, 1663
Laval Founds Seminary
Bishop Laval founded the Québec Seminary (Grand Séminaire) to train priests throughout the diocese.
May 01, 1688
Oldest Church in Canada
The first stone was laid for Nôtre-Dame-des-Victoires, the oldest surviving church in Canada, in Place Royal, Québec.
July 01, 1698
Marguerite Bourgeoys Establishes Congrégation
Marguerite Bourgeoys established the Congrégation de Nôtre-Dame at Montréal.On 1 July 1698 the secular sisters took simple vows and became a recognized noncloistered religious community.
January 12, 1700
Death of Marguerite Bourgeoys
Marguerite Bourgeoys, Canada's first woman saint, died at Montréal. She was canonized in 1982.
October 15, 1701
Birth of Marie d'Youville
Mére Marie-Marguerite d'Youville, who was founder of the Sisters of Charity of the Hôpital Général of Montréal and the first Canadian-born person to be beatified, was born at Varennes, Qué.
September 01, 1824
Cornerstone of Notre-Dame
The cornerstone of Notre-Dame Cathedral in Montréal was laid; it is the oldest surviving Gothic Revival church in Canada.
June 07, 1829
Notre-Dame Church in Montréal was dedicated.
June 05, 1832
Jews Receive Rights
A law giving Jews legal rights was passed in the Lower Canada Assembly. By 1768, the number of Jews in Montréal had grown, and the community established Canada's first synagogue, Shearith Israel. Jews had also settled in Québec City and other parts of Lower Canada. Ezekiel Hart had been elected to the legislature of Lower Canada in 1807 but was denied his seat on the basis of his religion.
October 18, 1840
First Cleric in Alberta
Robert Rundle arrived at Fort Edmonton, the first permanent cleric in what became Alberta.
November 25, 1851
Francis Grafton and James Clexton established the first North American chapter of the YMCA in Montréal.
July 02, 1865
Booth Founds Salvation Army
At a revivalist meeting at Whitechapel, London, England, William Booth formed the Salvation Army. The Army came to Canada in 1882.
September 16, 1870
Rome surrendered to the Italian troops who wanted to bring about Italian unification. Canadian Zouaves arrived too late to take part in the battle.
September 02, 1875
An attempt to bury Joseph Guibord in the Roman Catholic cemetery at Montréal failed. After the burial was accomplished under armed guard, Bishop Bourget deconsecrated the plot of ground where Guibord's body lay.
January 25, 1876
George McDougall Lost
Missionary George McDougall was lost in a prairie blizzard during a buffalo hunt and froze to death.
June 07, 1886
Taschereau Made First Cardinal
Elzéar-Alexandre Taschereau was created the first Canadian cardinal.
July 12, 1888
Jesuits' Estates Act
The Jesuits' Estates Act was passed by the Québec legislature, authorizing payment of $400 000 for property confiscated from the Jesuit Order.
April 25, 1903
Jewish Education Rights (Québec)
The Québec legislature adopted legislation requiring Jews to pay their taxes to the Protestant schools panel and granting them education rights equal to those of Protestants. In 1928, the Privy Council ruled that the 1903 Act was ultra vires (beyond legal authority).
June 10, 1925
First United Church Services
The first services of the United Church of Canada took place.
June 29, 1930
The eight Jesuit martyrs (including Father Brébeuf) killed by the Iroquois in the 1640s were canonized as the first North American saints.
December 23, 1945
McGuigan a Cardinal
Pope Pius XII named Archbishop James McGuigan of Toronto a cardinal.
March 07, 1965
First Masses in English
Roman Catholic churches in Canada celebrated mass in English and other vernacular languages for the first time.
June 22, 1980
Kateri Tekakwitha Beatified
Kateri Tekakwitha, a Mohawk, was the first North American Indian to be beatified.
May 23, 1982
Brother André Beatified
Brother André was formally beatified.
October 31, 1982
Marguerite Bourgeoys Canonized
Marguerite Bourgeoys, founder of the Congrégation de Notre-Dame de Montréal, was canonized (the first Canadian woman made a saint).
October 23, 1983
Dedication of Guan Yin Buddhist Temple
The Guan Yin Buddhist Temple in Richmond, BC, was dedicated. Designed by architect Vincent Kwan, it is the most architecturally authentic Chinese imperial-style Buddhist temple in North America.
February 28, 1985
Zündel Convicted of Intolerance
Ernst Zündel was convicted of publishing false news causing harm to racial tolerance by publishing his claims that the mass extermination of Jews in Nazi Germany never occurred. The conviction was later overturned on constitutional grounds.
April 24, 1985
Lord's Day Act Ruled Contrary
The Supreme Court of Canada found that the Lord's Day Act was contrary to the freedom of religion guaranteed in the Charter of Rights.
September 20, 1987
Pope Visits Fort Simpson
Pope John Paul II visited Fort Simpson, NWT.
October 05, 1994
Temple Murders and Suicides
Fifty-three members of the religious cult, the Order of the Solar Temple, were found dead in Switzerland and Canada, apparent victims of a series of murders and suicides.
July 26, 1996
Bishop Convicted of Sex Crimes
A BC court convicted Roman Catholic bishop Hubert O'Conner of sex crimes committed at St Joseph's Mission, near Williams Lake, in the late 1960s.
November 18, 1997
Constitution Act Amended
Parliament voted to amend the 1982 Constitution Act in order to allow Québec to replace its religion-based school system with one drawn along linguistic lines.
March 16, 1998
Vatican Apologizes to Jews
The Vatican issued a long-awaited statement apologizing for the Roman Catholic Church's failure to take action against Nazi Germany's killing of the Jews.
September 15, 1999
Church Refuses to Apologize
Québec's Roman Catholic Church refused to apologize to 3,000 orphans who claimed that they were sexually and physically abused in church-run institutions. The children had been declared mentally ill to qualify for federal subsidies.
February 07, 2000
Death of Wilfred Smith
Wilfred Cantwell Smith, the Canadian-born scholar of Islam, died in Toronto. He had established or directed centres for religious studies at McGill, Dalhousie, U of T and Harvard.
January 01, 2001
Religious Tolerance and the Kirpan
In 2001, the Supreme Court of Canada ruled that a Québec student had the right to wear a kirpan while in school. The Québec Court of Appeal struck down the decision in 2004, ruling that community safety was more important than wearing the ceremonial dagger, but in 2006 the Supreme Court again decided that religious tolerance was to be encouraged in Canadian society and that a total ban infringed on the guarantee of religious freedom under the Charter of Rights.
November 21, 2007
In an open letter to Québec newspapers, Cardinal Marc Ouellet issued an apology for errors committed by the Roman Catholic Church, asking Quebeckers to forgive the institution for its former attitudes toward anti-Semitism and racism, indifference to First Nations, and discrimination against homosexuals and women.
March 04, 2017
Death of Edna Rose Ritchings
Vancouver-born Edna Rose Ritchings, who led the International Peace Mission Movement and was also known as Mother Divine and Sweet Angel, died at the age of 92.