There is only two Catholic church in Oshawa, one of them is St. Gregory’s Catholic Church, that is located around Simcoe St. N. and Adelaide Ave. It is now located approximately six blocks from the Oshawa Central Cemetery, now owned by the Canadian National Railways.
The origin of the parish can be traced to the 1840s when the first church was constructed. Samuel Pedlar and Dr. Henry Kaiser both trace the origins of the parish to this time period. The Catholic population of the area used to pray in McGrigor’s School House or with traveling priests in parishioners’ homes before the church was built.
Many community members contributed to the construction of St. Gregory’s Catholic Church, including Patrick Wall, Daniel Leonard, Denis Duella, Michael Curtin, Sir Arthur Santry, Richard Supple, John O’Regan Sr., and Captain Dunn. Over the years, the parish expanded, and improvements were made, including church enlargements, the construction of separate schools, presbyteries, and stables, as well as aesthetic improvements.
In nearly 50 years since the construction of the first church building, the parish saw the need for expansion and the need to raise funds. On June 15, 1895, the new building was dedicated after the cornerstone was laid in 1894. There were two men at the dedications of both churches, half a century apart, James Daley and Patrick Wall.
McCausland & Sons made the windows of the church, Post & Homes drafted the structure’s plans, and RS Williams built most of the rear oak woodwork, such as the pulpit, pews, and organ. Romanesque architecture and a seating capacity of 500-600 worshippers make it an ideal place for religious pilgrimage. Father JJ McCann acquired approximately four acres of land at the cemetery’s present location in 1876. This move was necessary to allow for the building expansion. This cemetery received new trees in 1878, as a gift from M. Glen, the MP. The trees are now much more mature.
During the first half of the nineteenth century, Father MJ Jeffcott contacted the relatives of those buried at the original cemetery and coordinated the reburial of bodies and headstones in the ‘new’ cemetery. After the move of the last burial in 1927, the original cemetery’s bodies and headstones were removed.
Until the construction of the Holy Cross in the 1930s, there was only one Catholic Church in the city of Oshawa, namely St. Gregory’s Catholic Church. Ontario County’s growing population required the construction of a new cemetery in 1964, and Resurrection Cemetery opened in Whitby. The Toronto Catholic Cemetery Association administers both St. Gregory’s Cemetery and Resurrection Cemetery. The records for St. Gregory’s Cemetery are available at Resurrection Cemetery.
More To Read: Ontario Regiment Museum