St. Crispin’s, Scarborough

The early 1920s ushered in a boom in church planting in the Diocese of Toronto. Between 1920 and 1925, thirteen new congregations were formed. One of them was St. Crispins’, near the Scarborough Bluffs. A mission of the Church of the Epiphany, Anglicans originally met at a ratepayers hall on Craiglee Drive, and at a January 1922 meeting decided on the name St. Stephen’s. This name did not last long. In May, Mabel Cartwright (Diocesan President of the Women’s Auxiliary) suggested St. Crispin’s because there was no other church in the province bearing that name. Her proposal was accepted. On St. Crispin’s Day 1922 (October 25th), Bishop W.B. Reeve turned the sod. (I have not been able to discover who Bishop Reeve was.) At least at one point in the early history of St. Crispin’s (1928-1931), it was led by the rector of the Church of the Epiphany, Henry Roche.

IMG_6696In 1932, a chancel and apse from Brantford were added to the building. This was followed in 1935 by the addition of choir rooms and a Sunday School hall. In 1953, a basement was dug. Before further renovations in 1962, this was what St. Crispin’s looked like.¬†IMG_6699In 1963, a new narthex was added, and the old frame building was surrounded with brick and mortar. (The structure had become unsound and the only alternative was to tear the building down. The sketch below showed that the plans at the time included the addition of a new liturgical space on the north, but this was never built.

IMG_6695IMG_6701St Crispins Scarborough 2 St Crispins Scarborough 1St. Crispin’s was located near to Lake Ontario, and to the original site proposed for St. George’s. This created tension and controversy in the 1950s, but was resolved when the location of St George’s moved north to St. Clair Avenue East.

In 2011, St. Crispin’s voted to amalgate with three other parishes to form a new parish. Today, the building is St. Nicholas Orthodox Cathedral.
IMG_8309IMG_8314“St. Crispin’s Anglican Church” is just visible.
IMG_8315This memorial plaque, and the parking sign, are visible reminders of the building’s Anglican heritage.

IMG_8321IMG_8312Furnishing from St. Crispin’s feature prominently in the new Grace Church, Scarborough, including the altar and the pews.IMG_8284IMG_8286

  1. William Day Reeve was assistant bishop in the Diocese of Toronto 1907-24. There should be some material about him in the Diocesan Archives.

  2. Thank you, William, for solving that. My handwritten notes say W.B. Reeve, which sent me off in the wrong direction.

  3. William. I’d like to ask you about an unrelated historical topic of which you might know quite a lot about, but I don’t have your email address. Might you email me at so that I could ask you privately?

  4. Ryan said:

    The altar and pews that are at Grace Church, Scarborough are actually from St. Giles, not St. Crispin

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