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Visiting Central United Church, Weston, Toronto, Ontario: 1887 Gothic Revival, with some famous associations
More than meets the eye
Known as Central United Church, this church building dating from 1887 has among its most prominent features a tower in Gothic Revival style — sometimes referred to more specifically as Norman-Gothic.
Thus we see both on the tower and on the main body of the building examples of pointed arches, those on the tower blending tastefully with the pointed element of its prominent gables.
Executed in brick, the design of the building was the responsibility of architect William Henry Mallory Senior. The structure has over a number of decades undergone repeated programs of restoration and alteration.
The building was formerly used by a Methodist congregation. In fact, before the present building was erected in 1887, the site harboured a meeting venue for Methodists used since 1821. Since 1925, with the establishment of the United Church, it is with this affiliation that the building has been identified.
Formerly associated with what is now Central United Church have been some prominent individuals. It is widely known that 14th Prime Minister of Canada and Nobel Prizewinning diplomat. the Right Honourable Lester B Pearson (1897-1972), was a son of the manse (1), although it is less well known that his father, Minister Edwin A. Pearson (2), was the incumbent at this congregation when it was Methodist in its affiliation. Another well known individual associated here — again, when it was Methodist — was another of the congregation's Ministers, Dr. Egerton Ryerson (3)(1803-1882), prominent Methodist educator. Another well-known individual associated with the congregation in its Methodist years was minister George Playter (2) (1809-1866), who also wrote a The History of Methodism in Canada.
Thus, one soon discovers that Central United Church, Weston, has more than meets the eye when it comes to the congregation's history.
The building is located at 1 King Street, Weston, at the junction of King Street and Weston Road.
February 23, 2013
(1) Historian John English's first of two biographical volumes, Shadow of Heaven, Toronto, ON: Lester & Orpen Dennys, 1989, gives an account of the early years of this distinguished son of the manse, and of the ethical background to his thought.
(2) I sought, but was unable to find, a suitable photo of Edwin Pearson or George Playter.
(3) A window at the building is dedicated to the memory of Dr. Ryerson.
Also worth seeing
How to get there: Air Canada flies to Toronto Pearson Airport, with wide North American and other connections, from where car rental is available. Weston, Toronto is approximately 10 kilometres from Toronto Pearson Airport. TTC Bus 89 travels to Weston Road, Weston. Some facilities may be withdrawn without notice. For up to date information, you are advised to check with the airline or your travel agent. For any special border crossing arrangements which may apply to citizens of certain nationalities, it is preferable to refer to appropriate consular sources.
MJFenn is an independent travel writer based in Ontario, Canada.
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