Two tidbits — St. Luke’s, Bay Street & St. John the Evangelist, Portland Street

I’m very grateful to Chris Ambidge, who has been an enthusiastic reader of this blog, for his interest and for his leads.

Two tidbits that he’s recently passed along.

This 1946 photo of St. John the Evanglist, Portland Street (the Garrison Church). I have it already in my blog, but it is a photograph of a photograph included in the historical display in the park where the church was located. This is a much clearer version and, as Chris points out, the signs in the background are mostly readable.

Garrison picture

Chris also pointed me to existence of St. Luke Lane, located near Bay & Wellesley, where St. Luke’s Bay Street sat. The lineway name is the only lasting pointer to the existence of St. Luke’s, which was located at Bay & St. Joseph Streets until 1930.


I’m always grateful for leads like this. Thanks, Chris!

  1. Barbara Putnam nee Cruise said:

    The man in the photo is Major the Rev. J. T. Robbins, my uncle. Thrilled to see it. I attended this church every Sunday as a child and will never forget (when I was 5) watching the soldiers march from Stanley Barracks. They filled the Church and to this day, I can hear the church filled with those male voices singing the hymns. Major Robbins and his wife also had a clinic at the Church every Sat. (No OHIP in those days). They charged 35 cents so that people could keep their dignity. In return they were examined by some of the best doctors in Toronto who volunteered their services. Many were from Sick Kids hospital. There was a pharmacy, an x ray machine an optometrist etc. – all for 35 cents! He also gave a Sunday radio programme called Moment of Meditation. It was a very poor neighbourhood and he worked tirelessly on people’s behalf. He went to businesses and factories all over the city asking for donations for bazaars they held. I assisted and was amazed that people could buy things like brand new baby layettes (seconds) for 10 cents. So very many received help at that time!
    It was heartbreaking to hear that the diocese decided to demolish the Church with so much history all because the congregation dwindled and the land was valuable!,
    !One young man in the Church at that time was inspired to become a minister, Rev. Matted of Holy Trinity Church – one church that resisted the wrecking ball!

    • margaret said:

      Hello Barbara do you know when the church was torn down?
      Thank you in advance for your reply

      • Barbara Putnam nee Cruise said:

        I believe it was in 1962 – a very sad day, indeed!!

  2. Rose said:

    I am doing some genealogy research. My parents were married at St. John’s Garrison Church in May of 1955. Do you know how or where I could find those records? Thanks very much.

    • RGPGeog said:

      I couldn’t figure out how to write above the line. The picture is of Major the Rev. J.T. Robbins (my uncle).He was still alive in 1955 so probably performed the wedding ceremony.Hopefully, the Diocese kept the records when they tore down the Church (such a shame to see that beautiful old Church levelled.) I remember in 1942 when it was full of the men who had marched  from Stanley Barracks for Sunday service. Their male voices sent shivers up my spine as they sang “Eternal Father strong to save….” My uncle was the Chaplin.Rev.Robbins’ daughter, Molly Robbins is still alive and might be able to give you more info. She is a member of the Church of the Redeemer on Bloor St. Her e mail is I know she has pictures.Hope this helped a bit.Barb Putnam ( from my Galaxy Tab® A

      • Rose said:

        Hello. Thank you so much for replying. That is a wonderful picture and the woman reminds me of my mother, but I think the timing is off. I spoke to the Diocese this afternoon. You are correct, your uncles name is on the marriage certificate. They did locate the hand written version. They were also able to tell me that my sister was baptized there because they found a scrap of paper about her. However, the actual book for that period is nowhere to be found so they don’t have a proper document. Do you think Molly could help?

        Thankfully, Rose

  3. David Harrison said:

    These records will be in the archives of the Anglican Diocese of Toronto, located at 135 Adelaide Street East. 416 363 6021. Good luck!

    • Rose said:

      I thought as much – already called them. Thank you!

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