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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.