COSMOPOLITAN TORONTO FIRST LEG OF JOHN PAUL II'S TRIP
VATICAN CITY, JUL 23, 2002 (VIS) - On the occasion of John Paul II's apostolic trip to Toronto,
we offer in continuation information about the city and its civil and ecclesiastical situation.
Toronto, founded in 1703, almost a century and a half after Montreal, was an administrative city until
the arrival of the train in the middle of the 19th century. It has a 2,500,000 inhabitants, a third of which
live within a 160 kilometer radius of the city. It is a cosmopolitan city; more than half of those who
reside in Toronto were born abroad and a third speak a second language other than English.
Toronto's economic development has been extraordinary, especially after World War II, due to its
proximity to the United States border and access to the Atlantic through the St. Lawrence River.
Presently, it is the financial and decision-making center of Canada.
The city is known as "North Hollywood" for its television production industry and is the third world
center of theater in the English language, after London and New York. It has the largest underground
pedestrian walkway in North America.
The archdiocese of Toronto has 5,360,000 inhabitants, of which 1,847,000 are Catholics (35% of the
population). It consists of 222 parishes, 5 churches or missionary stations, 385 diocesan and 501
religious priests, 613 male, non-priest religious and 738 nuns. There are 549 educational institutions and
46 charitable centers. Their archbishop is Cardinal Aloysius Matthew Ambrozic, born in
Forty-one thousand and ten Catholics belong to the diocese of Toronto of the Ukrainians. There are 78
parishes, 85 diocesan priests, 15 religious priests, 17 male, non-priest religious and 36 female religious.
There are 7 educational institutions and their bishop is Cornelius John Pasichny,
The apostolic nuncio in Canada, as of June 2001, is Archbishop Luigi Ventura.
Upon his arrival, the Pope will be received by Prime Minister Jean Chretien, Governor David Young
of Ontario, and Mayor Mel Lastman of Toronto. Representatives of the diplomatic corp and political
and civil authorities will be present. Cardinal Ambrozic, archbishop of Toronto, Bishop Jacques
Berthelet, C.S.V., president of the Episcopal Conference of Canada, Cardinal Jean-Claude
Turcotte, archbishop of Montreal, and different religious leaders will also receive John Paul II, as well as 72
young people who represent the 72 dioceses of Canada and 5 youths from the five continents.
The Holy Father will then go to Strawberry Island where he will stay during his time in Canada. The
island, which derives its name from its strawberry shape, belongs to the Basilian Congregation which
uses it as a summer residence. It is located in Lake Simcoe, 95 kilometers north of Toronto, and is
easily accessible by car or boat.
The religious of the Congregation of St. Basil, founded in France in the 19th century, who devote
themselves to the education of young people, moved to Canada around 1852 at the request of the
bishop of Toronto, a former student of the order. At present, they run 15 schools and universities in the
country as well as others in the United States, and are present in Colombia, Mexico and Australia.