Visiting Don Mills United Church, Toronto, Ontario: A 1950 Gothic Building With Primitive Methodist Roots From 1822
Relatively modern Gothic; remembering early 19th century roots
At 126 O'Connor Drive, East York, Toronto, Ontario stands a striking Gothic building which houses Don Mills United Church. (Its full name is Don Mills-Thorncliffe Park United Church.)
The present structure dates from 1950. Its main frontage exhibits various of the usual features of Gothic design: pointed arches at windows and the main doorway; flying buttresses; and a general aura of solidity. Notably, the adjacent church offices repeatedly continue the Gothic arching feature.
While a relatively modern structure, the building, executed in brick, with conspicuous stonework, seems thoroughly 'traditional'.
The origins of the congregation that meets here, however, date back to 1822, when Primitive Methodists began to meet in what was then a rural part of East York; it is recorded that their ministers travelled the surrounding countryside on horseback (1). (This somewhat recalls the travels of John Wesley.)
Methodism in Upper Canada followed trends in the British Isles, with various emphases within the movement being present in the Province. In the 1880s the Primitive Methodists in mainly merged with other Methodists in Canada, plus some Methodists in Newfoundland and Bermuda. This congregation's name further altered in 1925 when Methodists and Presbyterians in Canada — with some exceptions - merged to form the United Church of Canada.
Early families connected with the congregation in the 19th century included the Taylors and the Sinclairs (sometimes written Sincklars, on whose land the original building was erected. A wooden structure sufficed until 1826, when a brick building replaced it.
November 17, 2017
(1) See also: http://www.donmillsunitedchurch.ca/a_history.htm
Also worth seeing
In Toronto itself, other historic church buildings include the Metropolitan United Church, St James's and St. Michael's Cathedrals; a very few of other noted buildings include: the Ontario Legislative Assembly Building, Queen's Park, Old City Hall, Osgoode Hall, Campbell House, Old Fort York.
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 many sights to be easily walkable. TTC bus routes 8 and 100 pass O'Connor and Pape intersection, East York. Some facilities may be withdrawn without notice. Please check with the airline or your travel agent for up to date information. For any special border crossing arrangements which may apply to citizens of certain nationalities, please refer to appropriate consular sources.
MJFenn is an independent travel writer based in Ontario, Canada.
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