Bishop John Strachan In Old Age First Bishop of Toronto

Early Years

Clergy in 1820

Clergy Reserves

Clergy in 1844

1842 - 1865

In Old Age


From
The Bishops of the Church of England in Canada and Newfoundland

by
Charles Henry Mockridge
published in 1896





Alexander Bethune
2nd Bishop
of Toronto



Arthur Sweatman
3rd Bishop
of Toronto
St James Cathedral TorontoBy the subdivision of the diocese into Huron, on the west, in 1857, and Ontario, on the east, in 1861, Bishop Strachan, in his old age, found himself responsible for a much smaller territory than had hitherto fallen to his lot. But his strength was visibly beginning to fail. In 1865 the Synod made provision for the election of a coadjutor bishop. A school for boys, under Rev. C. H. Badgley, was also established at Weston. In that year the Bishop sustained a great loss in the death of Mrs. Strachan, who, for fifty-eight years, had been his valuable assistant in all his work.

The synod of 1866 elected the Venerable Archdeacon A. N. Bethune coadjutor, with the title of Bishop of Niagara. Bishop Strachan, to his great grief, was obliged to decline the invitation to attend the Pan-Anglican conference of bishops, which, for the first time, was appointed to be held on the 24th September, 1867, at Lambeth. He did this on account of his failing strength - he was just entering upon his ninetieth year.

He had the satisfaction of seeing a Church school for girls started about this time in Toronto, and was pleased to give his permission that it should be called "The Bishop Strachan School." It has continued an efficient school for girls ever since.

Bishop Strachan died on All Saints' Day, November 1st, 1867. His little town of York had become a great city. and was known as the "Queen City of the West," and its inhabitants turned out in great force to pay the last marks of respect to him whose name had been connected with the history of Upper Canada from its earliest days.

He was buried in a vault expressly constructed for the purpose, beneath the chancel of St. James' Cathedral.

The good Bishop was short in stature; his face wore that resolute expression which was but an index to his character; he was one on whom men would instinctively rely in any time of anxiety or danger; he knew nothing but duty; when lumbering over rough roads, sometimes he would not stop, after confirmation service, even for dinner, if by doing so he would be late for the next appointment. The rector's wife and daughters might have ready their very best dinner, the savory odors whereof might float ever so temptingly into the room. "Na, na! - we must move on," was the inexorable order, and his hungry and disappointed chaplain, or chaplains, had to forego the expected repast for several hours more rough shakings on the country road. winding its way in and out of the woods, because "the Bishop must not be late.''

The Bishop, though apparently stern in manner, was kind at heart. Nor was he without a sense of humour. When a number of gentlemen who had been his pupils at school gave a dinner to their aged Bishop - they themselves at the time being well advanced in life - they instinctively, yet laughingly, came to order when his lordship, in his old schoolmaster-voice, said, on coming to the table, "Boys, tak' your places!"

Many anecdotes are told of his life and dealings with men, but upon these we cannot dwell. Our space has permitted us to do little else than speak of his active life and work, and that only in a condensed form; but many monuments of Church work throughout Ontario still remain to mark the devoted spirit and heroic soul of the first Bishop of Toronto.