The Catholic Register has compiled a list of 150 people and places of faith to mark Canada's 150th anniversary. Photos courtesy Catholic News Service, Catholic Register files, Archives of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Toronto, Wikimedia Commons.

Canada 150: From sea to sea, people and places of faith

By 
  • June 30, 2017

Canadians from coast to coast have reason to be proud of this country as it marks its 150th birthday, and the Catholic population — about 12.8 million — can be especially proud. Long before Canada was even a country, Catholics were putting their stamp on the history of this land.

To mark this special birthday, we’ve put together a list of people, places and events — all Catholic, naturally — who and which have helped shape this country and are reasons to stand proudly as both Canadian and Catholic. In honour of the number of candles, we’ve kept the list to 150, which was a challenge in itself.

A few caveats before you read on. Items are numbered for convenience, but it’s not a ranking. Also, we’ve tried to gather items from various categories, from saints and churches to sports and comedy, so it is more eclectic than exhaustive. Omissions are entirely without malice. If there is something or someone you think should be part of this list, send us a letter at editor@catholicregister. rg.

It’ll help us get started on our list for Canada’s 200th birthday.

1. Pope John Paul II visits Canada in 1984.

2. St. François de Laval (1623-1708), first Bishop of Québec.

3. Fr. Albert Lacombe (1827-1916), Alberta’s peacemaker between Cree and Blackfoot First Nations.

4. Jean Vanier, founder of L’Arche for people with intellectual disabilities.

5. St. Michael’s Boys Choir, Toronto.

6. Marc and Craig Kielburger, activists for children’s rights and We Day founders.

7. National Canadian Martyrs Shrine, Midland, Ont.

8. St. Joseph’s Oratory, Montreal, the largest shrine in the world dedicated to St. Joseph.

9. Basilica of St. Frederic, Drummondville, Que., burned and replaced three times in 195-year history, and home to famous Casavant pipe organ.

10. St. Mary’s Church, Red Deer, Alta., designed by Metis architect Douglas Cardinal in 1969, every surface is curved.

11. John Candy (1950-1994), actor and original cast member of Second City Television.

12. Catholic Women’s League, Canada’s largest women’s organization.

13. St. Michael’s Basilica, Miramichi, N.B., built in 1839 and one of the largest churches in the Maritimes.

14. Georges Vezina (1887-1926), devout Catholic and Montreal Canadiens’ goaltender enshrined in Hockey Hall of Fame.

15. St. Jean de Brébeuf (1593–1649), martyr.

16. Blessed Catherine de Saint-Augustin (1632-1668). Founder of the Hôtel-Dieu de Québec hospital.

17. Margaret Somerville, founding director of Montreal’s McGill Centre for Medicine, Ethics and the Law.

18. Catholic Missions In Canada, bringing the faith to remote and poor regions of Canada.

19. Canada consecrated to Mary at Marian Congress in Ottawa, June 1947.

20. Rose Prince (1915-1949), B.C. woman whose gravesite has become a destination for pilgrimage.

21. Susan Hookong-Taylor, musician, composer.

22. Blessed Dina Belanger (1897-1929), musician, beatified in 1993.

23. Henry Somerville (1889-1953), a leader in Church social teaching and longest serving editor of The Catholic Register (1933-53).

24. Shirley Dysart (1928-2016), first female Liberal elected to Legislative Assembly of New Brunswick.

25. Sr. Sue Moran (1938-2016), co-founder of Out of the Cold program for homeless.

26. John S. Macdonald (1812-1872), first premier of Ontario.

27. Leahy, folk music family from Lakefield, Ont.

28. Good Shepherd Ministries, aiding the poor and vulnerable.

29. Loretto Sisters, pioneers in education in Ontario after arriving from Ireland in 1847.

30. Chalice, Nova Scotia-based organization for child sponsorship worldwide.

31. John Thompson (1845-1894), Canada’s fourth prime minister and first Catholic PM.

32. Morley Callaghan (1903-1990), prolific author whose work is aligned with his Catholic sensibilities.

33. Cathedral-Basilica of Notre-Dame de Quebec, Quebec City

34. St. René Goupil (1607–1642), martyr.

35. March for Life, annual pro-life event since 1997.

37. Blessed André Grasset de Saint-Sauveur (1758-792). Montreal-born, martyred during the French Revolution.

38. Irma Levasseur (1877-1964), first French Canadian female doctor.

39. Henri Bourassa (1868-1952), Quebec publisher and French Canadian nationalist.

40. Serra Canada, lay organization dedicated to promoting and fostering religious vocations.

41. Gaetano Gagliano (1917-2016), founder of St. Joseph Communications and Salt + Light Television.

42. St. Gabriel Lalemant (1610–1649), martyr.

43. Élisabeth Bruyere (1818-1876), founder of the Sisters of Charity of Bytown (Ottawa).

44. Cathedral Basilica of St. Boniface, Winnipeg, historic parish where Louis Riel is buried.

45. Providence Healthcare, founded by Sisters of St. Joseph.

46. Matt Maher, Christian singer and songwriter.

47. St. Marie de l’Incarnation (1599-1672), founder of Ursulines Sisters in Québec.

48. Andrew Archibald Macdonald (1829-1912), Prince Edward Island politician who was a Father of Confederation.

49. Robert Munsch, children’s author.

50. Gabrielle Roy (1901-1983), French Canadian novelist.

Canada spread2Graphic by David Chen

51. Canadian Catholic Organization for Development and Peace, working since 1967 to help the poor and disadvantaged.

52. St. Marguerite Bourgeoys (1620-1700), founder of the Congregation of Notre Dame.

53. Our Lady of Victory (aka the “Igloo Church”), Inuvik, N.W.T., iconic church of the north.

54. Refugee Sponsorship Program, aiding resettlement.

55. Canadian Catholic Bioethics Institute, promoting human dignity through research in health care and life sciences.

56. Marianna O’Gallagher (1929-2010), historian who founded Irish Heritage Quebec.

57. Michael Power (1804-1847), first bishop of Toronto, builder of St. Michael’s Cathedral, proposed for sainthood.

58. Blessed Frédéric Janssoone, (1838-1916), Franciscan who re-established Order of Friars Minor in Canada.

59. Quebec Act of 1774, establishing freedom of religion.

60. Rose of Sharon, charity supporting young mothers.

61. Canadian Catholic Historical Association.

62. Cardinal Marc Ouellet, prefect of the Congregation of Bishops and the highest ranking Canadian in the Vatican.

63. Jean Beliveau (1931-2014), legendary Montreal Canadiens’ captain.

64. St. Noel Chabanel (1613–1649), martyr.

65. Cathedral Basilica of St. Dunstan, P.E.I., historic site and only cathedral in the province.

66. Blessed Vasyl Velychkovsky, Bishop of Ukrainian Greek-Catholic Church and martyr (1903-1973).

67. Fr. David Bauer (1924-1988), coach and GM for Canada’s Olympic hockey team during 1960s.

68. Our Lady of Good Counsel, Nanaimo, B.C., historic site built entirely with volunteer labour in 1938.

69. Joseph J. Barnicke (1923-2015), real estate mogul and philanthropist.

70. Anne Murray, singer. 71. St. Michael’s Cathedral Basilica, Toronto, centrepiece church in country’s largest archdiocese.

72. Mary Travers-Bolduc (1894-1941), Quebec musician crowned Queen of Canadian folksingers in 1930s.

73. Henri Nouwen (1932-1996), priest and spiritual author who spent last 10 years of his life working north of Toronto in L’Arche Daybreak community for intellectually disabled adults.

74. Michael Burgess (1945-2015), St. Michael’s Choir School grad, actor, tenor and renowned singer of O Canada.

75. Jean Augustine, first African Canadian woman elected to House of Commons.

76. St. Vital Church, Battleford, Sask., log church built in 1883 and preserved as burial place for its first priest.

77. Paul-Émile Borduas (1905-1960), founder of Automatistes art movement in Quebec.

78. St. André Bessette (1845-1937), Holy Cross Brother credited with thousands of healings.

79. Frank Patrick O’Connor (1885-1939), philanthropist and founder of Laura Secord Chocolates in 1913.

80. Jacques Cartier (1491-1557), Canadian explorer.

81. Douglas Roche, Edmonton author, former MP and UN ambassador.

82. Oblates, missionaries whose Canadian roots stretch to 1841.

83. Sr. Nuala Kenny, renown ethicist and Sister of Charity.

84. Marie Rollet (1580-1649), first Canadian female settler.

85. Msgr. Athol Murray (1892-75), founder of Notre Dame of the Prairies high school in 1927 and the driving force behind famous Notre Dame Hounds hockey team.

86. Scarboro Missions, dedicated to evangelization in Canada and around world since 1918.

87. Cardinal Paul-Emile Leger (1904-1991), Archbishop of Montreal and key architect at Vatican II.

88. King Clancy (1903-1986), beloved Maple Leaf and Irish Catholic.

89. St. Kateri Tekakwitha (1656-1680), first aboriginal saint in North America.

90. Mark Carney, governor of Bank of England and former head of Bank of Canada.

91. Canada’s Knights of Columbus, part of the world-wide lay Catholic fraternal service organization since 1897.

92. Sisters of St. Joseph, under Mother Delphine Fontbonne, arrive in Canada in 1851 to minister to poor and sick.

93. Jeanne Sauvé, first woman Governor-General.

94. Joseph Connolly (1840–1904), Irish Canadian architect designed more than 30 Catholic churches in Ontario.

95. St. Marguerite d’Youville (1701-1771), founder of the Grey Nuns.

96. St. Laurent Shrine, Duck Lake, Sask., site of many reported miracles since 1884.

97. Larry Henderson (1917-2006), former CBC news anchor and editor of The Catholic Register.

98. St. Charles Garnier (1605–1649), martyr.

99. Calixa Lavallée (1842-1891), composer of O Canada.

100. Church of the Holy Cross in Skatin, B.C., a national historic site built by Stl’atl’imx First Nation in 1905.

Canada spread3 webGraphic by David Chen

101. Angus Reid, Canadian pollster.

102. Dr. Robert Walley, founder of MaterCare International for maternal health care.

103. Blessed Louis-Zéphirin Moreau (1824-1901), bishop of Saint Hyacinthe, Que.

104. Cindy Nicholas (1957-2016), long distance swimmer, conquering English Channel and Lake Ontario.

105. William Kurelek (1927-1977), artist whose faith and conversion to Catholicism influenced his work.

106. Church of Our Lady of Good Hope, Fort Good Hope, N.W.T., pioneer mission church built by Oblates.

107. Grotto of Our Lady of Lourdes, Flatrock, N.L.

118. Bishop Edmund Burke (1754-1820), Irish priest who became first Vicar Apostolic of Nova Scotia.

108. Bellelle Guerin (1849-1929), first president of Catholic Women’s League of Canada.

109. St. Anthony Daniel (1601–1648), martyr.

110. Canada Catholic Near East Welfare Association (CNEWA), providing aid to the suffering throughout the Middle East, Northeast Africa, India and Eastern Europe.

111. St. Vincent de Paul Society, serving the poor since 1946.

112. Eglise Sainte-Marie, Church Point, N.S., the largest wooden church in North America.

113. Maurice Richard (1921-2000), Montreal Canadiens’ icon named one of top 100 players in NHL history.

114. Basilica of Our Lady Immaculate, Guelph, Ont., considered finest work of Irish architect Joseph Connolly.

115. Jeanne Mance (1606-1672), co-founder of Montreal and Hôtel-Dieu de Montreal, the first hospital in North America.

116. Récollets, a branch of the Franciscan order that established mission in New France in 1615.

117. St. Jean de Lalande (d. 1646), martyr.

119. Blessed Émilie Tavernier-Gamelin (1800-1851), founder of the Sisters of Providence.

120. Notre-Dame Basilica, Montreal, first Gothic Revival style church built in Canada.

121. The Flying Fathers, raising money for charity through exhibition hockey across Canada.

122. St. Andrew’s Cathedral, Victoria, B.C., national historic site, built in medieval style.

123. Tomas Bata (1914-2008), “shoemaker to the world.”

124. Fr. Frédéric-Louis Colin (1835-1902), established Laval University.

125. Blessed Nykyta Budka (1877-1949), first bishop for Ukrainian Catholics.

126. Louis Riel (1844-1885), founder of Manitoba and leader of the Métis.

127. Thomas D’Arcy McGee (1825-1868), politician and a Father of Confederation.

128. Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops, since 1943.

129. Bernard Lonergan (1904-1984), philosopher, theologian.

130. Notre-Dame-du-Cap Shrine, Cap-de-la-Madeleine, Que., site of two miracles after prayers to Virgin Mary.

131. Covenant House, a shelter for homeless youth.

132. Blessed Marie-Léonie Paradis (1840-1912), founder of the Little Sisters of the Holy Family.

133. Toronto hosts World Youth Day in 2002, attended by Pope John Paul II.

134. St. Paul’s Basilica, oldest parish in Toronto (1822).

135. Catholic Children’s Aid Society

136. Aid to the Church in Need Canada, helping the “suffering and persecuted faithful worldwide.”

137. Charles Taylor, philosopher.

138. Marshall McLuhan (1911-1980), a convert who brought faith to his scholarly work.

139. Blessed Marie-Anne Blondin (1809-1890), founder of the Sisters of Saint Anne.

140. Natalie MacMaster, fiddler extraordinaire.

141. St. Isaac Jogues (1602–1646), martyr.

142. Catholic Organization for Life and Family (COLF).

143. St. Augustine’s Church, South Rustico, P.E.I.

144. Georges (1888-1967) and Pauline Vanier (1898-1991), Canada’s 19th Governor-General and his wife are candidates for beatification for humanitarian work.

145. Nelly Furtado, singer and songwriter.

146. John Allan Cameron (1938-2006), folk singer.

147. Blessed Marie-Élisabeth Turgeon (1840-1881). foundress of the Sisters of Our Lady of the Holy Rosary.

148. Blessed Marie-Rose Durocher (1811-1849), founder of the Sisters of the Holy Names of Jesus and Mary.

149. St. Anne de Beaupre Basilica in Quebec, destination shrine for hundreds of thousands of pilgrims each year.

150. Basilica-Cathedral of St. John the Baptist, St. John’s, NL, second largest church in Canada behind St. Joseph Oratory.

(Photos courtesy Catholic News Service, Catholic Register files, Archives of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Toronto, Wikimedia Commons.)

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