Christ Church, Mimico

The dates on this cornerstone (1832 – 1889 – 1956) tell, in brief, the story of Christ Church, Mimico, which served the community of Mimico for 179 years on what is now Royal York Road.

IMG_2057 (Medium)Today this is the site of Christ Church Mimico Memorial Garden, a cemetery and oasis on a busy road. Until two fires in 2006 destroyed the third Christ Church building, this was also the site of the parish church.

Christ Church was the eighth oldest parish in the Diocese of Toronto, dating its establishment to 1827 (although there may have been Anglican services held in Mimico as early as 1823). In the early 1820s, William J. Gamble (1805-1881) opened a sawmill on Mimico Creek and a community developed. Gamble was a driving force behind the establishment of an Anglican community in Mimico, and one story has it that part of his impetus was to provide spiritual activity to occupy his rowdy lumbermen. Among those who officiated on occasion in Mimico was John Strachan, later Bishop of Toronto.

The first Christ Church building was erected in 1832 on land donated by William Gamble. (I could find no indication of where services were held before 1832.) The images below capture this small frame building.

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Christ Church was served by the Reverend Thomas Phillips, who also served St. Phillp’s, Weston, which was founded in 1828. (Services were also held at an ‘intermediate point’ between the two, which was likely Islington, and which grew into St. George’s-on-the-Hill in 1847. By 1856, Christ Church and St. George’s were a two-point parish. In 1877, the first Christ Church building was enlarged with the addition of a chancel.

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In 1889 a decision was taken to build a new church, which was opened on June 9th of that year. The second Christ Church was a much larger and grander building.

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In 1892, Christ Church became a separate parish.

A remarkable aspect of the story of Christ Church is that it was led for a total of fifty-seven years by just two rectors, who were father and son. The Reverend Francis Tremayne became rector in 1877 until his death (in his ninetieth year) in 1919. His son, the Reverend H.O. (Herbert) Tremayne came to Christ Church in 1907 to assist his father, and served from his father’s death until his own death in 1934. Both are buried in the Christ Church cemetery.

In 1956, a decision was taken to demolish the second Christ Church and build again.

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It was this building which was seriously damaged in the 2006 fires, after which a decision was taken to demolish what remained. Until 2009, Christ Church worshipped with its daughter parish, St. James’, Humber Bay and, at the beginning of 2010, the new amalgamated parish of Christ Church St. James was established.

The parish’s bell is preserved in the cemetery, as well as other reminders of the long history of Christ Church, Mimico.

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13 comments
  1. Hi David,

    I was particularly happy to read this post as the Rev. Frances Tremayne is my great-great-grandfather. His son’s name is actually the Rev. Herbert Ogilvie Tremayne, brother of Frank Geddes Tremayne, pharmacist born in Milton but resident of Sutton West after he married Agnes Pearson Ritchie. This couple are my great-grandparents.

    Cheers,

    Lorna

    • Thank you very much for the correction, which I will make. I’m intrigued to know of the family connection.

  2. Doug Cowling said:

    The Rev. Thomas Phillips who also served St. Philip’s,, Etobicoke,, confused the mapmakers. The road in front of the church is called “St. Phillips Road”.

  3. Susan Wickert said:

    Hello David. I was very pleased to read your history of Christ Church Mimico. The Rev. Francis TREMAYNE is my great-great-grandfather on my Dad’s side. The Rev. TREMAYNE married Emily Jane Kelley GEDDES. One of their children, Emily Helen TREMAYNE married William Charles LYALL. This couple are my great-grandparents. After their marriage, they made their way west and ended up in Victoria and then a small town in British Columbia called Princeton. One of their children, Margaret Grace LYALL is my grandmother. As a point of interest, one of Margaret’s brothers was named George Geddes LYALL. He became the pharmacist in Princeton and was a Deacon in the Princeton Anglican Church. One of Margaret’s sisters was christened Doris Tremayne LYALL. So, names echo down through the generations. The Rev. Francis TREMAYNE’s father, also named Francis had a very active and interesting life himself as he served his church.

    Cheers,
    Susan.

    • Susan:

      Thank you for your interest and for pointing out the family connections. You are the second descendant of the Tremayne’s to have commented on the post!

    • Hi Susan:

      You’ll see below in the comments that a relative is interesting in being in touch with you.

  4. Cheryl Hendsbee said:

    Hi David
    I also have read this information and my husband is also related to the Tremayne. I would like to get in touch with Susan Wickert as her grandmother Margaret Grace is my husbands grandmothers sister. She was Edna and married L.E. marston.

  5. Hi Cheryl: Thank you for your interest, and another family connection. Unfortunately I don’t have any contact information for Susan Wickert — only the post that she made here. Perhaps she’ll see your comment and respond.

  6. Margot Trevelyan said:

    I have discovered in my basement a large photograph of a group of about 200 people assembled for this photo. At the bottom it says “Christ Church Mimico Annual Picnic at Wabasso Park July 1920.” Are there any archives that would like this photo? My father, Levi Maurice Trevelyan was, I expect, a member of this congregation although I can’t spot him in this photo but I did grow up in Mimico. He would have been 13 at this time and he was Anglican.

    • Cheryl Hendsbee said:

      Hi Margot, I I would like to get a copy of this photo. Rev Tremayne was our great great grandfather. Cheryl Hendsbee e-mail hendsbee@nethop.net. Thank you

  7. Fabulous to read about the Tremayne family, who have a distinguished history in Georgina Township and the Village of Sutton!

  8. Heather Grant Clarke said:

    Would there be any chance of finding out if Judy Hughes & Alexander James Grant were married in this Church February 17th 1966? I believe Judy’s Mother Alice Hughes was a long time member of the parish. Appreciate any information you can give me.

    • I’d recommend you be in touch with the Diocese of Toronto Archives, where the marriage records will be housed. You can reach the staff here: 416-363-6021 or 1-800-668-8932, ext. 218
      clevo@toronto.anglican.ca

      Good luck!

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