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Visiting Fairbank United — Formerly Methodist — Church, York, Toronto, Ontario: Executed in Strongly Gothic Style, 1889

Updated on October 28, 2020
Provincial flag of Ontario
Provincial flag of Ontario | Source
Fairbank United Church at 2750 Dufferin Street, Toronto
Fairbank United Church at 2750 Dufferin Street, Toronto | Source

Fairbank's oldest surviving building

[NB: Among the many notable buildings which are the subject of the hubpages, these may include religious buildings, described as churches, etc.; these descriptions centre on the buildings' architectural and historical interest.]

Situated at 2750 Dufferin Street, Toronto, what is now Fairbank United Church was the former Fairbank Methodist Church, built in 1889 (1). Thus dating from only 22 years after Confederation, this building, executed in brick, has stood as a landmark in a greatly changing urban environment for well over a century.

Its tower is the structure's most conspicuous aspect; the tower's pointed windows and flying buttresses complement the presence of these two features, strongly identified as they are with Gothic styling. Indeed, the lines of the tower's flying buttresses blend seamlessly into those of the main body of the building's buttresses; only when one looks above does one realize that some of the flying buttresses are incorporated into the base of the tower. Small, but memorable, the building thus incorporates historic stylistic elements which, if the building lacks grandiosity, evoke the lines of other, much larger structures executed in Gothic.

Many Toronto church buildings have adopted Gothic style; and its endurance in new church buildings — even into the 21st century (2) — is merely a tribute to the style's popularity and strong, historic identification with ecclesiastical structures.

What was known as Fairbank Village (3) derived its name from from a farm started in 1835. For a while in the 19th century, the area surrounding the location of the current church structure was known as The Highlands (4). What became successively York Township, the Borough of York and then the City of York, became incorporated into the City of Toronto in 1998.

The former Fairbank Methodist — and now United (5) — Church building remains the oldest surviving building in the Fairbank neighbourhood: a true window on the urban and architectural stylistic past.

October 29, 2019


(1) See also: (This source contains interesting material about the early history of this current suburb of Toronto, which describes the urban encroachment into a formerly rural area.)

(2) For example, at Malvern's Church of the Nativity (see, Links, below).

(3) Erroneously, Toronto's Fairbank neighbourhood is sometimes referred to as Fairbanks, i.e., as in the City of that spelling in Alaska.

(4) Very informally, the names Midtown and Briarhill are also used locally to describe general area, sometimes not defined very precisely.

(5) Fairbank Methodist Church, together with many other Methodist and Presbyterian churches in mainly English-speaking Canada, joined the nascent United Church of Canada in 1925; some Methodist and Presbyterian congregations chose to remain outside the new institution.

Map location of Toronto, Ontario
Map location of Toronto, Ontario | Source

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. TTC bus route 29 — see also — passes close to 2750 Dufferin Street, Toronto. 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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