Churches & Cathedrals, Toronto
The Bloor Street United Church is remarkable mainly because it is an old building among otherwise ugly modern structures that belong to the University of Toronto or are apartment buildings. The Church was built in 1890 as a Presbyterian church (in 1925 the Presbyterians merged with the Congregationalists and the Methodists to form the United Church). Its congregation was huge at times, and they had to rent concert halls for some services. Today the church is much more active in social justice causes.
The Bloor Street United Church is located at the corner of Bloor and Huron Streets, between Spadina and St. George stations.
It seems odd that the most impressive church in Greektown is Catholic, but you have to remember that the bulk of the Greek community arrived several decades after the building of Holy Name. Saint Irene is a small church located on a sidestreet (Gough Ave.) off of the Danforth, but it has some beautiful icons at the doors and inside the church as well. Unlike the small Orthodox church on College (Holy Trinity) there are numerous regular worshippers here, so if you'd like to visit the interior make sure you are respectful of those praying.
Holy Name was built around 1914 on the Danforth, the western extension of Bloor Street. Its an impressive Catholic church that you would think was transported directly from some Latin American capital, minus the colonial rot that ultra-humid weather causes. The masonry is beautiful and the contrast between the Holy Name Church and the surrounding low-rise buildings creates a nice setting for photographers.
Take the subway to Broadview Station, then walk west on Danforth.
The Little Church of the Holy Trinity is the oldest church in Toronto being built in 1843. It is an Anglican church and is seldom open for the public to visit. I explored it during the Open Doors Toronto event and to be honest, the interior is very disappointed. It is completely whitewashed and over-restored. The view of the church from the outside is more interesting as it looks like a Victorian era oasis in a 21st century city. The church is located a 425 King Street East which is near Parliament Street. The website posted below is not very informative especially when you consider the historical significance of the church.
St. Paul's Basilica is one of Toronto's most important churches historically and architecturally. This was the first Roman Catholic church in Toronto being originally built in 1822. The church's congregation is sort of emblematic of Toronto itself in that it has been historically very multicultural since it was first built. Initially the congregation was mostly Irish but eventually immigrants from Scotland and French Canada started using the church. By the late 19th century it became necessary to build a new church so as to accommodate the every growing congregation. The present church was built in 1889 in the Italian Renaissance manner. The interior of the church is covered with stunning frescos that are unlike any I have seen in Toronto or even Canada. They have been recently restored making the church interior very vibrant. Unfortunately St. Paul's is rarely open to the public. I visited durng the Toronto Open Doors events.
The church is located on 83 Power Street, in the Parliament Street and Queen Street East neighborhood.
Phone: (416) 364-7588
St. Geoge's Church is has one of the most striking interior of the Toronto's many churches. This is a Greek Orthodox church but it actually began its life as a synagogue when it was built in 1897. In 1937 it was turned into the parish of St. George. The building received a thorough renovation in the 1980's when the interior was repainted by two Pachomaioi monks, Theophilos and Chrysostomos of Mount Athos in Greece. The results of their work is stunning. This is the only church outside of Greece that has been painted by Pachomaioi monks. The exterior of the church is actually a blend of Romanesque and Moorish architecture.
The church is usually closed to the public but will be open during the Open Doors Toronto event.
This Cathedral is an Anglican church situated in downtown Toronto's northeast corner of King and Church Streets. Everyone is welcome to the church to pray, and have a look at this historical place of worship. It is open during the following schedule:
*Monday to Friday - 7:30AM to 5:30PM
*Saturday - 9:00AM to 3:00PM
*Sunday - 7:30AM to 5 :30PM
The exact location of the Cathedral is:
665 Church Street
Important Notice: Please note that the St. James' Cathedral office is closed on statutory holidays and other particular holidays.
For more facts and information about the Cathedral, please visit www.stjamescathedral.on.ca
Come and visit this historical church of St. James' Cathedral - Toronto
Phone: 416 364 7865
St. Anne's Anglican Church is one of the most interesting churches in Toronto. Until recently it was also one of the more frustrating because you could not visit. The church is notable for a number of couple reasons. Firstly it was built in 1905 in a very unusual Byzantine design. This was quite controversial for Toronto was a conservative town back then and all church were usually built in a neo-Gothic manner. Hence it has a large dome, typical of the Byzantine sytle. Secondly the interior of the church has fresco paintings by many important Canadian painters including two of the Group of Seven, Frederick Varley and J.E.H. MacDonald. For most visitors this is the churches main attraction and they do not disappoint. The paintings have recently been restored and are quite vibrant.
Unfortunatly the church is not easy to access. You must arrange for a tour by calling ahead at the telephone number posted below and then expect to pay a $5.00 donation. Otherwise you can visit the St. Anne's by attending a Sunday service when you will be free to wander about after the service. Finally St. Anne's is located in area of the city few tourists head to, that being the Dufferin and Dundas area which is a few kilometers west of downtown. The exact address is 270 Gladstone Avenue.
Phone: (416) 536-3160
As I was walking up to King Street after brunch, I thought it was time to take a couple of pictures of the cathedral with the beautiful spire that we'd seen from Front Street.
This is located at Church & King Street East.
St. Michael's Cathedral is the best example of a neo-Gothic church in Toronto. The church is the principal seat of the Catholic Church in Toronto. It was built between 1845 and 1848 making it one of the oldest churches in Toronto. The architect was William Thomas who designed seven other churches in Toronto and St. Lawrence Hall. The exterior of the church has a very graceful cream coloured steeple and similar spires. The church is quite ornate inside when compared to other churches in Ontario. It has splendid stainglass and a very fine high alter. The organ dates from 1880. The cathedral is particularly famous for it's boys choir which holds recitals here four times a week.
St. Michael's Cathdral is located at 200 Church St. in Downtown Toronto. The website posted below is especially informative about the churches history and purpose.
St. James Cathedral is the most dominant neo-Gothic church in Toronto. It's steeple, which in the late 19th century was the tallest manmade structure in Canada, stands 305 feet above the ground.
The construction of the present church in 1853 on the foundations of several earlier churches which have had the habit of burning down. It was completed in 1878. The church brick is yellow in colour giving it an unusual appearance when compared to the other neo-Gothic structures in Toronto. The church seems sort of austere inside. There are numerous memorials inside of the church dedicated to historical figures of Toronto's past. I find that the stain glass inside of the church is quite lovely and well worth checking out.
If you are not interested in visiting inside, at least the church's setting with the high office towers in the background make for an interesting photograph.
St. James Cathedral is located east of the downtown core at King and Church. Travelers staying at the Youth Hostel will not be able to miss the Cathedral as it is across the street. The Cathedral is open from Sunday - Friday: 7:30 am to 5:30 pm. On Saturday it closes at 3pm.
Toronto is not really considered to be a city of churches but there are a few around the city core that are worth visiting for their architectual splendor and for a moments meditation. One of my favourites is St. Andrew's Church. This is the most important Presbyterian church in Toronto. The church dates from 1876 making it one of the oldest in Toronto. It was designed by William G. Storm in what is called the Romanesque Revival style. From the outside St. Andrew's is very imposing building largely because of the four tall turrets that stand on the corners of the church. The interior of the church is very impressive with fine wooden beams and whitewashed walls. The stained glass windows are also quite lovely. Unlike most of Toronto's 19th century churches, St. Andrew's is very well maintained.
The church is open weekdays from 8:30am to 3pm. St. Andrew's is located on King Street West at Simcoe Street, across the street from Roy Thomson Hall.
St Paul's on Bloor, Anglican Church, is between Church St and Yonge St, on the south side of Bloor St. (that makes sense!) It is one of the largest churches in Canada... 3000 seats. The original wooden church was founded in 1842, the 2nd oldest Parish in Toronto. A stone church was built in 1860, but the congregation outgrew it, although the building still exists. The current church was dedicated in 1913.
It is a massive church, and from the inside, does remind one of St. Paul's Cathedral in London, England. Certainly it was built in that style.
My only time in the church was to attend a Christmas Carole service, and it was amazing with the accoustics and organ, and choir.
There is just something about churches that beckon you to admire their structure and form...... and take lots of pictures of them.