Today, St. Andrew-by-the-Lake is a unique congregation within the diocese, being the only Anglican church on the Toronto Islands. There have been, however, three island churches over the history of the diocese — St. Nicholas, Fisherman’s Island and Emmanuel Church, Hanlan’s Point being the others.
In 1895, the Brotherhood of St. Andrew decided to hold services for cottagers and campers resident at Hanlan’s Point, at the western end of the Toronto Islands. (This is, presumably, the same organization that was behind the establishment of St. Andrew’s, Todmorden.) At first, services were held in the parlour of Hanlan’s Hotel. When the congregation outgrew the parlour, they were moved to a pavillion, and then to a roof garden over the old ferry shelter. When this structure burned down in 1903, it was decided to raise money for a church building.
The architect chosen was Arthur R. Dennison, who was also the architect of St. Andrew’s (which was built in 1884). Indeed, Emmanuel had a very similar architectural style.
Photograph from Toronto Public Library’s online collection.
The first services were held on July 8, 1906. Canon Cody of St. Paul’s officiated at the morning service and Archdeacon Sweeney (who could a few years later become bishop of Toronto) officiated in the evening. These photographs of Emmanuel Church (housed in the Diocese of Toronto archives) show the building from a number of different angles.
For most of its history, Emmanuel Church operated in the summer months, typically drawing on students and faculty from the theological colleges to lead services. Among those who took their turn were George Frederick Kingston, who would later become Primate of the Anglican Church of Canada, and Donald Coggan (sometime professor at Wycliffe College) who would go on to become Archbishop of Canterbury.
In the 1930s work began to develop an airport at Hanlan’s Point. This photograph shows the beginning of the work, with Emmanuel Church in the background.
PC 1/4/10B-22: 6 October 1937: Outfall from dredge’s pipeline during reclamation of lagoon between Western Sandbar and Hanlan’s Point to create land for the Toronto Island Airport. Church can be seen nearly centre, just above the pipe outfall. Reprinted with the permission of the Toronto Port Authority.
The last service at Emmanuel, Hanlan’s Point was held on June 21, 1959. Most of the furnishings were removed to a new Emmanuel Church, now known as Emmanuel, Richvale (in Richmond Hill). One window went to St. Margaret’s, Burnaby Road. (In the same year, St. Andrew-by-the-Lake was moved from its original location to where it currently stands.)