With three new posts, I’ve finished writing up all of the “lost Anglican churches” in the City of Toronto. So this is a wrap for this project, after almost four years. (I will update the blog as needed. For example, four parishes in the west end have recently amalgamated and there will be a couple of new posts in due course.)

Looking back, here is how I described the project when it started in February 2012:

On a different level, there are four things which coalesced to bring this project into focus. First, the church in which I was baptized, St. Jude’s on Roncesvalles. My grandfather, Fr. Warren Turner, was the rector of St. Jude’s, which closed in 1977. For many years it was used by other denominations. For awhile it sat derelict, and at one point many years ago I contacted the real estate agent who had it for sale and got a tour. For awhile the parish hall was used as a rehearsal studio for Mirvish Productions and, at another time, as a food market. A few years ago it was demolished. Second, a couple of years ago I received for Christmas a book published in 1985 about Spadina Avenue, not far from where we live, and in it I discovered that there used to be two Anglican churches on Spadina (St. Margaret’s and St. Philip’s) and that one of the buildings (St. Margaret’s) still exists as a retail centre. Third, in my last parish (St. Thomas’, Brooklin) we built a new church and incorporated furnishings from the former St. Clement’s, Riverdale.(In similar fashion, furnishings from St. Judes’, including the font in which I was baptized, found a new home at St. Judes’, Bramalea.) Finally, the parish I now serve (St. Mary Magdalene’s) itself was carved out of our mother parish, St. Matthias’, Bellwoods. In fact, this was what was happening in the late 1800′s and early 1900′s in Toronto: an explosion of church planting. SMM survives, but another carved out of St. Matthias’ (St. Barnabas on Halton Street) closed in the early 1970.
The blog has attracted over 30,000 views and over 10,000 visitors. It has been fascinating to hear from readers and the connections that the information presented has made. I hope that it has made a modest contribution to understanding the history of the Diocese of Toronto and, from a certain perspective, the history of the City of Toronto.
Some expressions of thanks are in order. To those who have read and offered comments, additional information and encouragement. (Two people in particular — Chris Ambidge and Dave Robinson — have been faithful and helpful readers, providing additional information and photographs.) To Mary-Anne Nicholls, the archivist for the Diocese of Toronto and her staff, who patiently put up with my presence in the reading room and were very helpful in making this project happen. To Patrick Cain, who created a much more attractive Google map with links with the blog posts. To Archbishop Colin Johnson and Elizabeth Hardy, the diocesan CAO, who have invited me on several occasions to present one of the “lost churches” to the Diocesan Council. And to my family who tolerated my research outings, sounded interested when I pointed out “that’s where St. So-and-So’s used to be”, and otherwise humoured me with encouragement and patience.

On the right hand side under “Categories” are links to the lost Anglican churches in the City of Toronto. Some have more than one entry. There are lots of photographs, and they are better seen by double-clicking on them.

Below is a google map which shows the places I’ve blogged about, as well as existing parishes in the diocese of Toronto.

Blue Place Marks indicate former parishes where the building exists.

Red Place Marks indicate former parishes where the building is gone.

Green Place Marks indicate existing parishes.

My thanks to Patrick Cain for providing a new format with links to the blog posts!

In 1950, six residents of the village of Weston began to discuss forming a new Sunday School, as an outgrowth of the parish of St. John’s, Weston. The next year a slightly larger group met with Bishop Wilkinson, who recommended a door-to-door canvass. The canvass identified 62 families, many who were attending St. John’s or the other nearby Anglican parish, St. Philip’s. Eventually the group grew to 265 families and a mission a parish was established under the Reverend John Roe from St. John’s, Weston. Weekly services were held in schools and basements.

In 1957, Canon T. Barnett was appointed the priest-in-charge of the mission. A rectory was purchased, and temporary chapel and office space constructed in the rectory basement. (In 1957, the Christmas Eve service was held in the rectory chapel; the Christmas Day service was held at a nearby United Church.)

In 1958 St. Timothy’s became a separate parish, and sod was turned for a new building at the corner of Weston Road and Flindon Road (just north of the 401). The new building was opened in 1959 and dedicated on November 2nd by Bishop Wilkinson. (A used set of pews from St. Agnes, Long Branch was procured for the new building.) In 1964 a narthex was added. (I have, courtesy of Fr Theo Ipema, the last priest-in-charge of St. Timothy’s, some extraordinary film of the ground-breaking and construction of the building and hope to figure out a way to post it here.)





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The story of St. Timothy’s is typical of many suburban parishes established after the second world war — demographic shifts resulting in decline. In 1971, “a  survey of home purchases and re-sales in teh parish area indicated that 85% of the new families were from ethnic groups, and that original Anglican families were being replaced by non-Anglicans.” In the mid-1970s a Presbyterian congregation began to use the space. During various period in the 1980s and 1990s it shared ministry with nearby Anglican parishes, and during the period 1996-1998, St. TImothy’s was led by a team of theological students from Trinity College. Despite these efforts, the reality of declining attendance and membership led to the disestablishment of the parish in 2010.

Today, the former St. Timothy’s is the home of the Apostolic Christian Church.

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This post picks up the story of St. Philip’s, Spadina, which was located on the south-west corner of what is now Spadina and Dundas.

In 1942, the congregation moved out of the building, and it was sold the following year for $23,000, along with a covenant that it would continue to be used as a church building. (See the post on St. Philip’s, Spadina for more details.) On November 2, 1975, through the kindness of  St. Elizabeth of Hungry Roman Catholic church, the congregation of the new St. Philip’s returned to their first building for a 100th anniversary evensong.

During the period 1940-42, St. Clement’s, Eglinton had begun a mission, named St. Margaret’s Mission (and sometimes also referred to in the archives as St. Andrew’s). This nascent community first met in a tent at the corner of Woodmount and Glencairn, and later in a simple, small building.



In 1943, St. Philip’s assumed occupancy of the building.


In 1946, the Reverend J.A. Robinson, who had been rector of St. Philip’s since 1920 and had overseen its move north, retired, and was succeeded by the Reverend David Clarke, who was to stay at St. Philip’s for thirty-six years and oversee its move to a new, permanent building.

After the war, land in the area was being developed and there was talk of enlarging the building. Instead, a lot was purchased on Caribou Road, just south of Lawrence and east of Bathurst. The new St. Philip’s opened in 1951 and was dedicated on March 25, 1952 by Bishop Beverley. In 1961 transepts and other meeting and office space was added.


IMG_1548I am sorry that there aren’t more photographs of the interior of St. Philip’s in the diocesan archives because it was a unique liturgical space, and very much ahead of its time. (If any readers have photos and care to send them to me, I will gladly add them!) Notably, the altar was free-standing (in a time when Anglican altars were all still against the wall), and located at the centre of what became (after the 1961 additions) a cruciform space. It was described this way: “The altar has been kept free from encumbrances in order that it may appear to be a Table set in the midst of the people and so that people all around it may see.” This arrangement very much anticipated the liturgical reforms of the 1960s and 1970s.

Another notable feature of the space was the reredos behind the altar, seen in this photograph. It was designed by noted Canadian artist Sylvia Hahn and featured autumn coloured leaves. (Note also the red maple leafs in the altar rail.) Above the altar hung a large cross of Christ, robed and crowned.


St. Philip’s came to represent a progressive and experimental approach not only in its architecture, but in its parish life as well. Religion writer Aubrey Wice, writing in the Telegraph in February 1960, noted this: “One of the most interesting things St. Philip’s is doing is their house church. This, literally, means taking the church to the people. What happens is this: Someone in the parish will invite his Anglican neighbors (sic) over for a service of holy Ccommunion. Maybe a dozen will turn up on a dark Friday morning at 6.30. Of course, the rector will be there, and if there are kiddies in the house, they’ll look in, too. The altar is the breakfast table, and after the service, everyone has a bite to eat before scurrying off to work.” In the 1970s, at a time when experiemental liturgies were being employed in the Anglican world, the parish wrote its own eucharistic liturgy (“The Caribou Liturgy”). (St. Philip’s was one of the parishes where I spent a lot of time as an itinerant organist in my late teens and twenties, and I recall quite clearly first being exposed to this rite, which was sharply different than any I had previously experienced.)

At one time, St. Philip’s had three Sunday morning services and a large congregation, but as the neighbourhood demographs changed in the 1960s (becoming a predominantly Jewish neighbourhood), St Philip’s became a smaller, “destination” parish for those attracted to is strongly progressive values and parish life.  The final service was held on May 30, 2010 and the parish was disestablished Among its legacies is a $100,000 gift to Trinity College establishing The David Clarke St. Philip’s Trust Fund for studies in urban ministry.

A new townhouse development is being completed on the site of the former St. Philip’s.





To accommodate post-war housing growth in the Lansing and Willowdale communities, a new Anglican parish was planted near Yonge Street between St. George’s, Willowdale (to the north) and St. John’s, York Mills (to the south). The Reverend D.S. Gausby was appointed to oversee the new congregation and it held its first service in Cameron Avenue School on November 13, 1949.

Planting a new congregation was decidedly uncomplicated in this time. All that was needed was to canvass the area for Anglicans and let them know where to show up for church. When the school was not available, this nascent community met at the R.S. Kane Funeral home and, for Christmas 1950 and Easter 1951, in the cafteria of the Maclean-Hunter building.


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The Church Extension Board of the diocese gave the congregation a budget of $40,000 for the new building, even though estimates exceeded that amount by almost twice. The result was a bare bones building which met budget, thanks to a lot of volunteer labour. It was dedicated on May 10, 1951.





Growth was (typically for this era) rapid, and Annunciation had three hundred families on the rolls by the mid-1950s. With the mortgage being discharged in 1957, and having achieved status as a self-sufficient parish, a decision was taken to add to the facilities. This construction, completed in 1961, included a new chancel and narthex and parish hall.




A major event in the life of the parish was fire in October 1973. It started during the night in the basement but was, fortunately, detected in time for the building to be saved.


After being restored, the building was consecrated by Bishop Lewis Garnsworthy on December 21, 1975.

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In February 2005, the Church of the Annunciation amalgamated with All Souls’, Lansing (to the east). The amalgamated parish assumed a new name, the Church of the Incarnation, and the former All Souls’ Building.  The building was deconsecrated in December 2014 and sold. It has since be demolished and construction is currently ongoing to build housing on the site.

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The early 1920s ushered in a boom in church planting in the Diocese of Toronto. Between 1920 and 1925, thirteen new congregations were formed. One of them was St. Crispins’, near the Scarborough Bluffs. A mission of the Church of the Epiphany, Anglicans originally met at a ratepayers hall on Craiglee Drive, and at a January 1922 meeting decided on the name St. Stephen’s. This name did not last long. In May, Mabel Cartwright (Diocesan President of the Women’s Auxiliary) suggested St. Crispin’s because there was no other church in the province bearing that name. Her proposal was accepted. On St. Crispin’s Day 1922 (October 25th), Bishop W.B. Reeve turned the sod. (I have not been able to discover who Bishop Reeve was.) At least at one point in the early history of St. Crispin’s (1928-1931), it was led by the rector of the Church of the Epiphany, Henry Roche.

IMG_6696In 1932, a chancel and apse from Brantford were added to the building. This was followed in 1935 by the addition of choir rooms and a Sunday School hall. In 1953, a basement was dug. Before further renovations in 1962, this was what St. Crispin’s looked like. IMG_6699In 1963, a new narthex was added, and the old frame building was surrounded with brick and mortar. (The structure had become unsound and the only alternative was to tear the building down. The sketch below showed that the plans at the time included the addition of a new liturgical space on the north, but this was never built.

IMG_6695IMG_6701St Crispins Scarborough 2 St Crispins Scarborough 1St. Crispin’s was located near to Lake Ontario, and to the original site proposed for St. George’s. This created tension and controversy in the 1950s, but was resolved when the location of St George’s moved north to St. Clair Avenue East.

In 2011, St. Crispin’s voted to amalgate with three other parishes to form a new parish. Today, the building is St. Nicholas Orthodox Cathedral.
IMG_8309IMG_8314“St. Crispin’s Anglican Church” is just visible.
IMG_8315This memorial plaque, and the parking sign, are visible reminders of the building’s Anglican heritage.

IMG_8321IMG_8312Furnishing from St. Crispin’s feature prominently in the new Grace Church, Scarborough, including the altar and the pews.IMG_8284IMG_8286

St. Giles’, Scarborough was a mission from St. Jude’s Church, Wexford, as a response to new subdivisions being built up in the 1950s in Scarborough (in particular, the neighbourhoods of Iondale Heights and Dorset Park). Approximately 700 Anglican families had moved into these neighbourhoods and they were in need of a more convenient location to worship. In 1956, as a temporary measure, St. Jude’s established the Iondale and Dorset Park Mission, meeting a General Crerar Public School. At first only Sunday School classes were held. Services were added in November 1956.

Shortly thereafter, a site for a new building was purchased on Kecala Drive. Beginning on Easter Day 1958, the congregation used an old dairy building located on the property. The photographs below show the congregation worshipping, including a newspaper photograph of Bishop George Snell administering the rite of confirmation. Furnishing were procured from other churches, including St. Barnabas, Chester

IMG_6680IMG_6686 IMG_6684In April 1958, a building campaign was launched. Construction began the next year, and the new St. Giles’s building was dedicated on September 22, 1959.IMG_6681IMG_6674 IMG_6676IMG_6692 IMG_6688 St Giles Scarborough 1In 2011, St. Giles’ voted to amalgamate with three other congregations to form a new parish. While the Church of the Epiphany was being renovated, the combined congregation met at St. Giles’.

The Gathering of the Community at the first service of Grace Church, Scarborough for The Amalgamated Parish of St. Crispin, Epiphany, St. George & St. Giles at 35 Kecala Road, October 2, 2011, Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Photo/Michael Hudson

The Gathering of the Community at the first service of Grace Church, Scarborough for The Amalgamated Parish of St. Crispin, Epiphany, St. George & St. Giles at 35 Kecala Road, October 2, 2011, Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Photo/Michael Hudson

The Recessional at the end of the first service of Grace Church, Scarborough for The Amalgamated Parish of St. Crispin, Epiphany, St. George & St. Giles at 35 Kecala Road, October 2, 2011, Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Photo/Michael Hudson

The Recessional at the end of the first service of Grace Church, Scarborough for The Amalgamated Parish of St. Crispin, Epiphany, St. George & St. Giles at 35 Kecala Road, October 2, 2011, Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Photo/Michael Hudson

The building is now occupied by The Truth Centre, but is subject to an application for re-development.IMG_8330IMG_8328IMG_8334IMG_8343IMG_8337IMG_8339The windows from St. Giles’ feature very prominently in the new Grace Church building.

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