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Church of the Annunciation, Willowdale

To accommodate post-war housing growth in the Lansing and Willowdale communities, a new Anglican parish was planted near Yonge Street between St. George’s, Willowdale (to the north) and St. John’s, York Mills (to the south). The Reverend D.S. Gausby was appointed to oversee the new congregation and it held its first service in Cameron Avenue School on November 13, 1949.

Planting a new congregation was decidedly uncomplicated in this time. All that was needed was to canvass the area for Anglicans and let them know where to show up for church. When the school was not available, this nascent community met at the R.S. Kane Funeral home and, for Christmas 1950 and Easter 1951, in the cafteria of the Maclean-Hunter building.

 

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The Church Extension Board of the diocese gave the congregation a budget of $40,000 for the new building, even though estimates exceeded that amount by almost twice. The result was a bare bones building which met budget, thanks to a lot of volunteer labour. It was dedicated on May 10, 1951.

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Growth was (typically for this era) rapid, and Annunciation had three hundred families on the rolls by the mid-1950s. With the mortgage being discharged in 1957, and having achieved status as a self-sufficient parish, a decision was taken to add to the facilities. This construction, completed in 1961, included a new chancel and narthex and parish hall.

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A major event in the life of the parish was fire in October 1973. It started during the night in the basement but was, fortunately, detected in time for the building to be saved.

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After being restored, the building was consecrated by Bishop Lewis Garnsworthy on December 21, 1975.

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In February 2005, the Church of the Annunciation amalgamated with All Souls’, Lansing (to the east). The amalgamated parish assumed a new name, the Church of the Incarnation, and the former All Souls’ Building. ┬áThe building was deconsecrated in December 2014 and sold. It has since be demolished and construction is currently ongoing to build housing on the site.

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