Page 4 Historic Churches of Toronto

Church of St. George the Martyr

St. George's Anglican Church - click to enlarge

The Church of St. George the Martyr, John Street, was built in 1844 by architect Henry Bowyer Lane on land given by Mr. and Mrs. D’Arcy Boulton Jr., for the first west end Anglican parish in Toronto. The Boulton family were prominent early residents of York, and their home, the Grange, stands just north of St. George’s Church. (see “Buildings” page for a profile of the Grange.) In 1955 a disasterous fire destroyed most of St. George’s Church, sparing only the tower, which stands alone today as a reminder of Toronto’s past.

St. Paul’s Basilica

St. Paul's Catholic Church - click to enlarge

St. Paul’s Power Street was the first Roman Catholic Church in Toronto. Located south of the present structure, it was built in 1822 and adjacent to it was Toronto’s first Roman Catholic Cemetery. Rev. Michael Power was appointed first bishop of the diocese of Toronto in 1842, prior to which time one bishop presided over the whole of Upper Canada. Power died in 1847 at the age of 42 while attending to the sick members of his flock, many of them recently arrived famine immigrants from Ireland who had contracted typhoid fever. The present church at the corner of Queen and Power Streets was built in 1887. Pope John Paul II conferred upon the church the status of a minor Basilica in 1999.

Old St. Paul’s Bloor St.

Old St. Paul's Bloor - click to enlarge

Located on the south side of Bloor Street between Church and Jarvis, this building was the second St. Paul’s on the site, replacing the original wooden church of 1842. The present building, designed by brothers Edward and George Radford, opened in 1860. In his book “Toronto: no mean city”, architectural historian Eric Arthur calls it “a charming little Gothic church that would be a matter of pride in any English village.” The congregation of St. Paul’s eventually outgrew the building and a larger church was erected to its east in 1913. Today it houses offices and meeting rooms for St. Paul’s, and is known as Maurice Cody Memorial Hall.

St. Paul’s Anglican, Bloor St.

St. Paul's Anglican - click to enlarge

St. Paul’s is the second oldest Anglican parish in Toronto after St. James’ Cathedral. The first church on the site was a wooden structure, erected in 1842. In 1860 this building was moved to Avenue Road and Bloor, where Church of the Redeemer now stands, and was replaced by a small stone church, profiled above. The present church, which stands just east of the 1860 building, was designed by architect E.J. Lennox and was completed in 1913. Lennox was the architect for many of Toronto’s best known buildings, including Old City Hall and Casa Loma. St. Paul’s is one of the largest churches in Canada with a normal seating capacity of 3000.

Timothy Eaton Memorial Church

Timothy Eaton Memorial Church - click to enlarge

Located on St. Clair Avenue West, the Timothy Eaton Memorial Church was built between 1909-14. The architects for the church were Wickson & Gregg, who also designed John Craig and Lady Eaton’s home, Ardwold, on Spadina Road. The church, originally called Eaton Methodist Church, was entirely funded by Timothy Eaton’s widow as a memorial to him after his death in 1907. Eaton opened his first dry-goods store in Toronto in 1869. Through various innovations such as offering merchandise at a fixed price, for cash, and his famous guarantee “goods satisfactory or money refunded”, he soon presided over a veritable retail empire. Timothy Eaton was a devoted Methodist in his lifetime, and would have been proud of the lovely church that bears his name. The church is now part of the United Church of Canada.