Home to one of the oldest Presbyterian congregations in Canada, St. Andrew’s was founded in 1830, and was first located at the southwest corner of Church and Adelaide Streets. The congregation’s first building was abandoned when it became too small for the expanding congregation.
The present building was opened for worship in 1876 and is built in the Romanesque Revival style. At that time the King and Simcoe Streets location was a busy place and most of the congregation lived within easy walking distance of the church. Across the street stood Government House, the official residence of the Lieutenant Governor of Ontario. Upper Canada College stood on a second corner and on a third was a popular tavern. With St. Andrew’s, the four corners were known locally as Legislation, Education, Damnation and Salvation!!
Of particular interest may be the Gallery Organ and choir loft. In 1852 St. Andrew’s was the first Presbyterian church in Canada to introduce organ music – and at the time this was quite a controversial decision — and which seems hard to believe today, since music has long played an integral part of both worship and outreach at St. Andrew’s.
We have many beautiful stained glass windows, with the 48th Highlanders window being one of the most unique in Canada. Dedicated in 1937 it reflects St. Andrew’s long history with the 48th Highlanders, a regiment founded in 1891. Did you know that their museum, which includes one of the original Vimy Ridge crosses, is located in the basement of the church and is open to the public on Wednesdays and Thursdays?
By the middle of the 20th century, life had become hard for St. Andrew’s. Increasing numbers of people were moving to the suburbs and the downtown core of Toronto was giving way to offices and warehouses. Many times the congregation considered leaving its downtown location for more promising parts of the city, but each time the congregation decided that St. Andrew’s witness belonged at King and Simcoe Streets.
The rebirth of downtown Toronto as a place to live in the 1970’s confirmed that St. Andrew’s decision to stay was right. While it is surrounded by the towers of financial institutions, hotels, theatres, concert halls, the Rogers Centre and the Convention Centre, there are also many people in new apartments and condos—and many homeless needing food and shelter. Once again St. Andrew’s is taking its place in ministry to a growing city.
The Church doors are open from 8:30am to 5:00pm, Monday through Friday and self-directed tour brochures are available so we encourage everyone to come and visit. (NB – not during the COVID closures!!)
Self-directed Tour Brochures are available at the entrance
A Virtual Tour can be reached here.
The Presbyterian Church in Canada
Archives and Records
Position: Assistant Archivist – 12-month contract
The Presbyterian Church in Canada Archives is seeking to fill an exciting 12-month, full-time contract position of Assistant Archivist. The national Archives collection is multi-media with records dating back to the early 18th century. Record formats include: textual records, bound registers, photographs, architectural plans, microfilm, audio visual materials, publications, and digital records. Our extensive holdings include records generated by: the national office (including mission and relief work in Canada and internationally), various levels of church government, congregations, seminaries, and
personal papers. Reporting to the Archivist, the Assistant Archivist is involved in all aspects of the work of the Archives and, under the supervision of the Archivist, will be responsible for taking the lead in digital records management and digital archives issues.
For more information please click here: https://presbyterian.ca/job/assistant-archivist/
Qualified candidates should post or e-mail a covering letter of application along with a resume and including three references by Monday August 23, 2021 to:
The Presbyterian Church in Canada
Archives – Kim Arnold
50 Wynford Drive
Toronto, ON M3C 1J7