Welcome to a church both old and new.
St. John’s is 200 years old, and to celebrate we’re inviting everyone to visit our church building and churchyard during Doors Open Toronto, on Saturday May 28 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Sunday May 29, 2016 from noon to 5 p.m. There will be self-guided tours and historical displays.
The church building
This designated Heritage property is the second oldest Anglican Church in York County (encompassing today’s Toronto and York Region), and has stood and grown over the years to become the building it is today. The history of the church is a reflection of the heritage of its members. From a small farming community in the 19th century transformed by urban growth in the 20th century to a diverse community in the 21st century which reflects its Toronto home.
The brick building dates back to 1844 when it replaced the original log church of 1816. The building has since seen a number of additions and alterations in response to the ever growing and changing needs of the congregation.
The heart of the church is the sanctuary. The rear half is in fact the original sanctuary built in 1844 and the back entrance to the church looks much as it did in the 1800s. Look up inside the back entrance and you will see beams from the original 1816 structure.
As is common with older churches, there is a churchyard, or cemetery where you can wander. Monuments in this historic churchyard go back to the early 1800s, and a number of notable individuals, such as Walter Allward who designed the Canadian Vimy Ridge Memorial, are interred here.
What you can expect
You can wander around the main sanctuary and chancel; brochures will be available for self-guided touring. All areas of the tour are fully accessible. Guides will be stationed to answer questions about the stained glass, plaques and mementos, and the major renovations throughout the building’s history.
There will be displays of historic artefacts and documents in the foyer. Demonstrations will be held throughout the day on the modern pipe organ, on the historic barrel organ, and on English handbells.
You can take part in a Churchyard ramble, with guided tours of the churchyard and its monuments ranging from the early 1800s to the present. The guides will tell the stories of some of the families interred in the cemetery.
St. John’s York Mills Church
at Doors Open Toronto 2016
19 Don Ridge Drive, Toronto
By car: from Old Yonge St., north of York Mills east of Yonge Street
By TTC: From York Mills subway, walk north on Yonge Street to footpath
Saturday May 28, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Sunday, May 29, noon to 5 p.m.