Visiting the so-called Cathedral of Methodism in Toronto, Ontario: major landmark on Queen Street East
Grandly proportioned United Metropolitan Church evoking Victorian confidence
This imposing building, sometimes known as the 'Cathedral of Methodism', is situated at #56 on Toronto's Queen Street East. Its style is described as High Victorian Gothic.
While Methodism has its origins in the 18th century, this building very much evokes the confidence of the 19th century Victorian era. The widely known Methodist educator Dr. Egerton Ryerson (1803-1882), for whom one of Toronto's universities is named (1), laid the foundation stone in 1870 and the building was completed in 1872. Previously, local Methodists of the same congregation had met at a building at Adelaide and Toronto Streets, and, earlier in the 19th century, in a small building at King and Jordan Streets from 1818 onwards.
This building was designed by Henry Langley. The architect sought to imitate a Medieval French cathedral. In 1925 this building saw the inception of the United Church, into which the larger body of Methodism was merged. It contains what has been described as the largest pipe organ in Canada.
Some history of Methodism
In some ways, English Canada's church history has close links with that of England. Methodism's John Wesley, the widely travelled Anglican who lived in the 18th century, exemplified the simplicity of the activities — Bible reading and proclamation, prayer and hymn singing — for which early Methodism was known, and Wesley himself did not found the denomination, which later became various denominations, which was to carry his name. After his death, his followers became much more institutionalized. Thus it was only in the 19th century that this 'Cathedral of Methodism' became possible. Toronto was sometimes referred to as a 'Methodist Rome', and this building thus evokes a thoroughly institutionalized monumentality — already seen in the Roman Catholic Church in Medieval times in Europe — which would not have been easily conceived within Methodism in John Wesley's 18th century lifetime. Visitors familiar with church architecture in London, England may recall Westminster Chapel, referred to sometimes as the 'Nonconformist Cathedral', which, in the view of one of its ministers, was strictly a contradiction in terms!
(1) A grand statue of Dr. Egerton Ryerson may be seen outside Ryerson University.
Also worth seeing
The visitor attractions and cultural sites of the Greater Toronto Area are far too numerous to summarize adequately here. But a few of these include the following:
In Downtown Toronto, close neighbours of the United Metropolitan Church are St Michael's Roman Catholic Cathedral and St James's Anglican Cathedral, both with tall spires which are local landmarks. Almost opposite St Michael's Cathedral on Bond Street is Mackenzie House, former home of William Lyon Mackenzie, at #82, now a museum. Also on Queen Street East, and adjacent to the Eaton Centre renowned among shoppers, is Old City Hall, dating from 1899. On Queen Street West are the imposing Osgoode Hall and the historic Campbell House.
Further east along Queen Street East is the Ashbridge Estate (distance: 6.1 kilometres), associated for over 200 years with the family whose name the property bears. The centrepiece building dates from 1854.
The Thomson Settlement and Scarborough Historical Museum (distance: 19.8 kilometres) situated in the Thomson Memorial Park, Scarborough, comprises Cornell House and the McCowan Log House.
How to get there: Air Canada, flies to Toronto Pearson Airport, with wide North American and other connections, from where car rental is available. However, visitors to Downtown Toronto will find the Metropolitan United Church site and nearby visitor attractions to be easily walkable. Please note that some facilities may be withdrawn without notice. Please check with the airline or your travel agent for up to date information. Please refer to appropriate consular sources for any special border crossing arrangements which may apply to citizens of certain nationalities.
MJFenn is an independent travel writer based in Ontario, Canada.
Other of my hubpages may also be of interest
- Visiting Ashbridge's neighbourhood, Toronto, Ontario: remembering an old Provincial family linked wi
The Ashbridges, an old Ontario family, lived at their estate in what is now Toronto for over 200 years. This is somewhat of a record. Some history While the Ashbridge family's historic...
- Visiting Ontario's historic Erskine Church: memories of 19th century Pickering
In Dunbarton, in the Durham Region's Pickering, the Erskine Church serves as a link of continuity with the city's past. 19th century origins Already by 1954, the church building's centenary was being...
- Visiting the Arctic Watershed near Northern Ontario's Kenogami Lake: historical boundary of Rupert's
In the course of my travels, I have on a number of occasions passed a boundary in Canada, which lies to the north of Kenogami Lake, ON, in the Timiskaming District. The boundary in question is known as the...
- Visiting Quebec's Moorside at the Mackenzie King Estate, Chelsea: memories of F D Roosevelt and Wins
This tranquil home, in the peace and seclusion of a part of Gatineau Park (French: Parc de la Gatineau ) is where Canada's long-serving Prime Minister William Lyon Mackenzie King (1874-1950) received...
- Visiting Dearborn, Michigan: dynamic city with memories of Henry Ford
Dearborn is named for US Secretary of State Henry Dearborn (served 1801-1809 in the Jefferson Administration). This area of the Midwest was first settled by Europeans in 1786. Located in the Detroit...
- Visiting New York's Broderick Park, Buffalo: poignant memories of the Underground Railroad
On Squaw Island, within the City of Buffalo, New York, is the now tranquil and scenic Broderick Park, but replete with poignant memories of the Underground Railroad. Some history This...
For your visit, these items may be of interest
More by this Author
- 0Visiting Laguna del Sauce: An Uruguayan 70 square km reflecting pool of multidimensional refractions
An inland lagoon in Uruguay reflects light, hills and history. Nearby Punta del Este - whose airport is named for Laguna del Sauce - served as an ideological crucible pitting JFK against Che Guevara.
- 0Visiting Mexico City, and its Venustiano Carranza suburb and airport: remembering figures of Mexican history
It is well known that Mexico City's international airport is named for Don Benito Juárez (Spanish: Aeropuerto Internacional de la Ciudad de México Benito Juárez ). Texans and American travellers...
- 0Visiting Lougheed House, Calgary, Alberta: a National Historic Site of Canada, this sandstone mansion dates from 1891
Lougheed House, Calgary, has been a real witness to the history of Alberta. Associated with a dynasty of Provincial leaders, its 19th century sandstone walls have harboured many distinguished visitors
No comments yet.