October 19, 2020

A St George's Cathedral Timeline

The first rector of St. George's, John Stuart, was born in Pennsylvania. He was the son of a Presbyterian from County Tyrone in Ireland.

Fort Frontenac, a French fort located at the eastern end of Lake Ontario (where Kingston now stands), was taken by the English. Ransacked and abandoned, it remained unoccupied for the next 25 years.

John Stuart was ordained in England and installed at Fort Hunter, N.Y. as Garrison Chaplain and as missionary to the Indians, working with the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel in Foreign Parts. 

The American Revolution began.

John Stuart's property, like that of the other Loyalists, was plundered and his church looted.

John Stuart was exchanged for a colonial army officer held by the British; he and his family set out for St. Jean, near Sorel, Quebec.

Michael Grass led a party of Loyalists to settle at the confluence of Lake Ontario, the St. Lawrence River and the Cataraqui River. Stuart visited the new village of Cataraqui (now Kingston) and decided to settle here.

John Stuart conducted the first regular services of the Church of England in Upper Canada, held in the barracks of Tête du Pont.

The first St. George's church was built, a wooden structure across from the present Kingston Market Square. (see the plaque on the former Whig-Standard Building.) John Stuart, "Father of the Anglican Church in Upper Canada", was the Rector. On July 8th, Lieutenant Governor John Simcoe, standing on the steps of St. George's Church, took "the required oaths" of office and read the Royal Commissions, thus connecting St. George's with the beginnings of provincial government in Ontario.

John Stuart died. He was succeeded as Rector of Kingston by his son George Okill Stuart, then Garrison Chaplain at York (Toronto).

The Kingston Patriotic Society gave the church its first organ.

Construction of a new building on the present site began. It was a rectangular stone structure designed by Thomas Rogers. The walls of this church form the nave of the present Cathedral from the main entrance to the dome.

The new St. George's Church was consecrated.

A cholera epidemic struck Kingston, killing 300 out of a population of 5,000.

The church was enlarged and the portico with its Doric columns was added. In 1838 Kingston was incorporated as a town.

Lord Sydenham, first Governor General of British North America, died after falling from his horse. He was buried in a vault under the nave (near the brass plaque in the centre aisle floor).

The Right Reverend John Travers Lewis became the first Bishop of the newly-established Diocese of Ontario, with St. George’s church as its cathedral.  George Okill Stuart became the first Dean of the Cathedral

St. George's Hall, designed by the architect John Power, was built.

John Power’s son Joseph designed the extended chancel, the dome and the galleried transepts for the enlargement of the church.

On the bitterly cold morning of New Year's Day the Cathedral was destroyed by fire.

The Cathedral was rebuilt in essentially its 1890s form in only eighteen months.

The debts on the church building were paid off and the re-consecration of the Cathedral took place.

The Cathedral was renovated by the architect Neil MacLennan.

The Nave Altar Precinct was built in response to the needs of the new liturgy.  At this time the present Lady Chapel was created to MacLennan’s design.

The first woman priest to serve at the Cathedral, the Reverend Margaret Rogers, was appointed Assistant Curate.

The Cathedral received its coat-of-arms from the Canadian Heraldic Authority.  The parish celebrated the 200th anniversary of its foundation as a parish.

Dean Michael Bedford-Jones was elected Bishop in the Diocese of Toronto.

Dean George Bruce was elected Bishop in the Diocese of Ontario.

The Reverend Mary Irwin-Gibson was appointed the first female Dean in the Diocese of Ontario.

The Right Reverend Michael Douglas Oulton was installed as the 12th Bishop of the Diocese of Ontario.

Reverend Donald Angus Davidson was installed as Dean of Ontario and Rector of the Cathedral Church of St. George