Thistletown is a community in northern Etobicoke, near the intersection of Albion and Islington. Its roots date back to 1847. Its original name was “St. Andrew’s”, but this name was eventually abandoned because of confusion with St. Andrew’s, New Brunswick. Instead, the name Thistletown was adopted, in honour of Dr.William Thistle (d. 1856), a prominent Anglican layman who is buried in the cemetery of St. Philip’s, Etobicoke.
When an Anglican presence began in Thistletown, it was decided to name the parish St. Andrew’s, in recognition of the original village name. The first services in Thistletown were held in 1920, but the Anglican presence in the area dates back as far as 1838, under the auspices of one of the oldest parishes in the diocese, St. Philip’s. The St. Andrew’s mission started under the leadership of the Reverend Frederick Robertson of St. Philip’s, with services being held in the Village Hall.
A site on Riverdale Drive, near Albion Road was donated and the first St. Andrew’s was built through the efforts of a multi-faceted building campaign which included door-to-door canvassing, bazaars, concerts, and solicitations of the home towns of the British settlers. The new building was dedicated on September 11, 1921.
Photographs below, taken in 1957, show that the village-style church was, in the post-war years, busting at its seams.
St. Andrew’s was associated with St. Philip’s until 1950, and then with Christ Church, Woodbridge until 1952, when it finally received its first full-time rector, the Reverend Geoffrey Parke-Taylor, who later taught at Wycliffe College and served as a Suffragan Bishop in both the dioceses of Huron and Toronto.
With the post-war population expansion, St. Andrew’s needed more space and a site at the corner of Barkwin and Wardlaw was secured. (The original St. Andrew’s was destroyed by fire in October 1983; at the time it was boarded up and not in use.).
The cornerstone was laid on September 21, 1960, and the new St. Andrew’s was dedicated by Bishop Hunt on St. Andrew’s Day, November 30, 1960.
In 1991, St Andrew’s became a two-point parish, pairedd with St. Timothy’s-by-the-Humber. The parish was closed and deconsecrated on St. Andrew’s Day, November 30, 2003, having served the community of Thistletown for eighty-three years.
The building has been torn down and is,today, the site of a handful of houses.