Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Walsh, John (1830-1898)

WALSH, JOHN (1830–1898), archbishop of Toronto, the son of James Walsh, by his wife Ellen (Macdonald), was born at Mooncoin, co. Kilkenny, on 23 May 1830. After education at St. John's College, Waterford, he emigrated to Canada (April 1852), entered the grand seminary at Montreal, and received the tonsure.

In 1855 he served on the Brock mission on Lake Simcoe; shortly after the consecration of Dr. Lynch as bishop of Toronto in 1859, he became rector of St. Michael's Cathedral in that city, and in 1862 was nominated vicar-general of the diocese. In 1864 he visited Rome and was nominated by Pius IX bishop-elect of Sandwich. Four years later he removed the episcopal residence from Sandwich to London, Ontario, to which city the see was transferred by a decree from the propaganda, dated 15 Nov. 1869. Great scope was now afforded to Walsh's administrative ability. Within three years he paid off a large debt. In 1876, when he again visited Rome, he reported twenty-eight new churches and seventeen presbyteries built within his diocese, in addition to a college, an orphanage, and the episcopal residence at Mount Hope. In May 1881 the corner-stone of the new cathedral in London was laid, and St. Peter's was dedicated by Walsh on 28 June 1885. By a brief dated 27 Aug. 1889 he was appointed archbishop of Toronto, and he died in that city on 27 July 1898. As a pulpit orator and a prudent organiser he enjoyed a great reputation in Canada. He was also very popular in Ireland, and took a leading part during the summer of 1896 in organising the Irish race convention in Dublin, by which it was hoped to reconcile the various sections of the nationalist party.

[Morgan's Canadian Men of the Time, Toronto, 1898, p. 1053; Tablet, 6 Aug. 1898; Tanguay's Répertoire du Clergé Canadien, Montreal, 1893; Rose's Cyclop. of Canadian Biography, Toronto, 1888.]

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