The most celebrated of these was the Huron mission, which was reopened by the Jesuits in 1634 and came to an end in 1649-50 when the Iroquois destroyed the Huron Confederacy and killed Jean de BRÉBEUF and several other missionaries (see STE MARIE AMONG THE HURONS).
The British Conquest of 1759-60 cut off the supply of recruits to French agencies, and Protestants were slow to show interest in Indian missions. The first successful effort, that of Methodists among the Mississauga of Upper Canada from 1823, was made possible by the emergence of a corps of native missionaries among whom Peter JONES (Kahkewaquonaby) and John SUNDAY (Shah-wun-dais) were most prominent. Anglicans and MORAVIANS were also active, and in 1843 the Jesuits re-entered the province.
In western Canada the leading agencies have been the Church Missionary Society (Anglican) from 1820, the Wesleyan (later Canadian) Methodists from 1840, the Oblates of Mary Immaculate (Roman Catholic) from 1845, the Presbyterians from 1866 and the United Church of Canada from 1925. Among the Inuit the Moravians, in Labrador from 1771, have been followed by the CMS and the Oblates. While a large measure of paternalism has marked all of these missions, emphasis now is on encouraging the active participation of native Christians. In recent years many new missions have been opened, most conspicuously by Pentecostals and other conservative evangelicals.
Providing religious services to white settlers also called for missionary effort. The French orders and societies that worked among the Indians also served the colonists of New France. Some leading Protestant organizations were the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel (Anglican), the Glasgow Colonial Society (Church of Scotland), the Colonial Missionary Society (Congregational) and the American Home Missionary Society (Congregational/Presbyterian). American preachers founded Methodist and Baptist churches in central Canada, while the Methodists of the Atlantic provinces received missionaries mainly from England. Roman Catholic missions, both white and Indian, were generously subsidized by the Society for the Propagation of the Faith, founded at Lyon in 1822.
Before the middle of the 19th century, Canadian churches were sponsoring missionaries overseas. In 1845 Richard Burpee went to India with support from Maritime Baptists, and in 1846 the tiny Presbyterian Church of Nova Scotia agreed to send John Geddie to the New Hebrides. By the end of the century practically all Canadian Protestant churches supported missions overseas; that of the Methodists in west China grew to be the largest Protestant mission anywhere. The Sudan Interior Mission, a nondenominational faith mission officially organized at Toronto in 1898, was probably the largest of all Protestant missionary organizations at the time of its merger with the Andes Evangelical Mission to form the Society of International Missionaries. Since WWII Roman Catholics and conservative evangelicals have overtaken the larger Protestant churches in the scale of their missionary operations. Meanwhile the latter have moved to a relation of equal partnership with overseas churches, and much of their work is carried on in co-operation with such international agencies as the World Council of Churches.
Author JOHN WEBSTER GRANT
Alvyn Austin, Saving China: Canadian Missionaries in the Middle Kingdom 1888-1959 (1986); Ruth Complon Brouwer, New Women for God: Canadian Presbyterian Women and India Missions, 1876-1914 (1990); Robert Choquette, The Oblate Assault on Canada's Northwest (1995); Raymond Huel, Proclaiming the Gospel to the Indians and Métis (1996); Martha McCarthy, From the Great River to the Ends of the Earth: Oblate Missions to the Dene, 1847-1921 (1995); Robert Wright, A World Mission: Canadian Protestantism and the Quest for a New International Order, 1918-1939 (1992).
Links to Other Sites
The website for the Historica-Dominion Institute, parent organization of The Canadian Encyclopedia and the Encyclopedia of Music in Canada. Check out their extensive online feature about the War of 1812, the "Heritage Minutes" video collection, and many other interactive resources concerning Canadian history, culture, and heritage.
View the Heritage Minute about humanitarian and visionary Lucille Teasdale, one of Canada's first female surgeons. From the Historica-Dominion Institute. See also related online learning resources.
The Bishop Who Ate His Boots
This site profiles the exploits of Bishop Isaac O. Stringer and other missionaries who journeyed to the harsh regions of Canada’s Far North. From the Virtual Museum of Canada.
The Archive of the Jesuits in Canada
The website for The Archive of the Jesuits in Canada. This organization preserves the historical memory of Canadian Jesuits through its collection of documents, rare books, works of art, and related artefacts. Click on "Useful Links" on the left side of the page to access online documents.
Besides hockey and the maple leaf, there is little as symbolically Canadian as the CBC – the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. It grew out of a developing nation's need to express its identity and find its voice.