Administrative History:

The office of the Primate was created in 1893 at the first session of the General Synod of the Church of England in Canada. The Primate is the President of the General Synod and the senior Metropolitan of the Anglican Church of Canada.  At the beginning, the Primate was the President of General Synod, the Metropolitan of his Ecclesiastical Province and Archbishop of his diocese.  The Primate was elected from the Metropolitans by the House of Bishops until 1931 when  it was changed to election by the members of General Synod.  In 1969, a new Commission on the Primacy recommended that  Canon III regarding the Primate be amended to require the Primate to maintain an office at the national headquarters of the Church, with a pastoral relationship to the whole Church, but no fixed Primatial See.  The first Primate to work from the national office was the Most Rev. Howard Hewlett Clark.

The Primate exercises a multi-faceted ministry within the Anglican Church of Canada. Overall, he is responsible for leading the church in discerning and pursuing the mission of God.  The Primate’s sacramental role includes participating in the consecration of new bishops and presiding at liturgical events of General Synod. He participates in ordinations and confirmations at the invitation of the local diocesan bishop.

On an administrative level, the Primate serves as president of the General Synod, chair of the Council of General Synod, and chair of the House of Bishops. He also serves as chief executive officer of General Synod staff, most of whom work at the national office in Toronto.  The Primates who have served the church from the General Synod Church House are: Howard Hewlett Clark, 1959-1970; Edward Walter Scott, 1971-1986; Michael Geoffrey Peers, 1986-2004; Andrew Sandford Hutchison, 2004-2007; Frederick James Hiltz, 2007- .

Scope and Content:

Fonds consists of appointment calendars, addresses, correspondence, subject files, graphic materials, and audiovisual materials created by or accumulated by the following Primates:

  • Walter Foster Barfoot, 1951-1958
  • Derwyn Trevor Owen, 1934-1947
  • Howard Hewlett Clark, 1959-1970
  • Edward Walter Scott, 1971-1986
  • Michael Geoffrey Peers, 1986-2004
  • David Perry Crawley, February-June, 2004
  • Andrew Sandford Hutchison, 2004-2007
  • Frederick James Hiltz, 2007-


Associated material:

  • Walter Foster Barfoot, 1951-1958 – Diocese of Edmonton Archives and Diocese of Rupert’s Land Archives
  • Derwyn Trevor Owen, 1934-1947 – Diocese of Niagara Archives and Diocese of Toronto Archives
  • Howard Hewlett Clark, 1959-1970 – Diocese of Ottawa Archives


Anglican Church of Canada. General Synod Archives.

Personal Names:

  • Barfoot, Walter Foster, 1893-1978
  • Clark, Howard Hewlett, 1903-1983
  • Hiltz, Frederick James, 1953-
  • Hutchison, Andrew Sandford, 1938-
  • Owen, Derwyn Trevor, 1876-1947
  • Peers, Michael Geoffrey, 1934-
  • Scott, Edward Walter, 1919-2004