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Visiting St John's Presbyterian Church, Toronto, Ontario: solid, Gothic home of the National Presbyterian Museum

Updated on June 9, 2017
Provincial flag of Ontario
Provincial flag of Ontario | Source
St John's Presbyterian Church, Toronto
St John's Presbyterian Church, Toronto | Source
Burning bush
Burning bush | Source

A looming presence on Broadview Avenue

Although the original congregation was founded in 1888, the present building dates from 1908 (1).

Executed mainly in brick, the structure exhibits strongly Gothic features: with pointed arch windows and flying buttresses. A traditional looking tower fronts the building's Broadview Avenue elevation.

St John's Presbyterian Church is located at 415 Broadview Avenue, in the Riverdale neighbourhood of Toronto, Ontario. The original congregation met at Gerrard East and Bolton.

The building houses the National Presbyterian Museum (2). It may be recalled that, while many of Canada's Presbyterian congregations joined with Methodists in the 1920s to form the United Church of Canada, the history of Presbyterianism in Canada goes back centuries, and that not all Canada's Presbyterian congregations chose to join the new denomination. It may be remembered also that many of Canada's pioneering personalities were from a Scottish background and this also often meant association with Presbyterianism.

I have added a photo of a 'burning bush' symbol, long a symbol of presbyterianism, derived from Exodus 3.

May 17, 2017


(1) See also:

(2) See also: The Museum has a large number of artifacts and items relevant to early Presbyterian church life in Canada. The Museum has a collection of Bibles, some of them hundreds of years old. A minister's study has been recreated, which includes some rare theological works. The Museum participates in Doors Open Toronto, in which certain other museums are involved.

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

Also worth seeing

In Toronto itself, the city's numerous visitor attractions include: Old City Hall, St James's Cathedral, Osgoode Hall, Campbell House, the CN Tower, the Ontario Legislative Assembly Building at Queen's Park, Casa Loma, Fort York, Union Station, and many others.


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. Some facilities may be withdrawn without notice. TTC streetcars 504, 505 and 506 stop outside 415 Broadview Avenue. For up to date information, please check with the airline or your travel agent. You are advised to 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.


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