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Visiting St. Peter's Church, Carlton Street, Toronto, Ontario: Henry Langley's strongly Gothic structure, opened 1866

Updated on November 4, 2015
Provincial flag of Ontario
Provincial flag of Ontario | Source
St. Peter's Anglican Church in Toronto
St. Peter's Anglican Church in Toronto | Source

Prominent, interlocking, Gothic arching

It is the interlocking, Gothic arching at this building's Carlton Street elevation which is among the most conspicuous of features at St. Peter's Anglican Church, Toronto, Ontario.

While the structure lacks a spire or tall tower, a bell turret does yet add to the Gothic styling of the building. Other noticeably Gothic characteristics include flying buttresses. There is a rose window above the main doorway on Bleecker Street.

The lack of a spire, and the absence also of self-standing pinnacles often associated with Gothic, are not sufficient to deny the building the High Victorian Gothic Revival appellation.

Another conspicuous feature of the bullding not always associated with the Gothic style in the 19th century is the use of multicoloured brick.

The building's opening in 1866 thus predates Confederation by a year. The ceremony is recorded as having been presided over by Bishop John Strachan.

The architect of St. Peter's Church, Carlton Street, was Henry Langley (1836-1907)(2). Work began on St. Peter's in 1864.

The relatively small size of this Anglican church building in a fairly central Downtown location is a reminder of the fact that some English-speaking parts of the former British Empire were less influenced by the Anglican church than others. Several Anglican church in a large English city, for example, might well dwarf other church buildings of Methodist or Presbyterian provenance. I am particularly reminded of South Wales, where, amid massive, Cathedral-sized Nonconformist chapels, the parish church buildings of the disestablished Church in Wales might typically be relatively small and not particularly tall buildings, which, however, as St. Peter's Church on Carlton Street, certainly retain their architectural merit.

St Peter's Anglican Church is located at 188 Carlton Street, Toronto, Ontario. The building lies within a few minutes' walk from Carlton Street's Junction with Yonge Street.

October 29, 2015


(1) See also:

(2) Other works by Toronto-born Architect Langley, either as sole practitioner or with collaboration, include Metropolitan United Church, Toronto Necropolis Chapel, Jarvis Street Baptist Church, and many other ecclesiastical buildings in Toronto, for which genre or architecture he was particularly known. He also notably designed McMaster Hall and the former Ontario Government House.

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

Also worth seeing

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


How to get there: Porter Airlines, flies to Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport, with wide North American connections. Car rental is available at Union Station. Air Canada flies to Toronto Pearson Airport, with wide North American and other connections, from where car rental is available, but visitors to Downtown Toronto will find many sights to be easily walkable. TTC Streetcar 506 passes 188 Carlton Street. 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, please refer to appropriate consular sources.

MJFenn is an independent travel writer based in Ontario, Canada.


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