Visiting Wexford Heights United Church, Toronto, Ontario: A Strong Statement in Gothic Style, Dating From 1876
Originating in 1842 among Primitive Methodists at a delightfully named building called Twaddle's Chapel
[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.]
Like Don Mills United Church, Wexford Heights United Church had Primitive Methodist roots. Like its Don Mills sister organization, its building is very much influenced by Gothic style.
Unlike the former, however, Wexford Heights United Church's building is significantly older, dating from 1876.
Again, like Don Mills United Church, the origins of the congregation were in the early 19th century, among Primitive Methodists; it is known that Primitive Methodist (2) preachers went around what was then the countryside east of Toronto on horseback. At a delightfully named building called Twaddle's Chapel in 1842, Primitive Methodists met as a congregation which eventually became Wexford Heights United Church over a century and a half later, via a series of significant changes.
Eventually the Twaddle's Chapel Primitive Methodists joined the Methodist Union in 1884, but not before acquiring another building. A stone structure dating from 1876 and named the Parsonage Church, was given a superstructure of brick.
In the 1880s this Methodist congregation became Presbyterian. Another, significant change came in 1925, when, along with many Presbyterian and Methodist congregations, it affiliated with the United Church of Canada.
However, the Wexford Heights United Church name did not come about until 2002, when two existing United Church congregations amalgamated to meet in the present building, which includes the historic, 19th century structure, to which a new building was added in 1957.
In 2018 and 2019, discussions were underway to look for alternative uses for the building.
Among the features of the historic building is a conspicuous rose window; multi-coloured bricks above the rose window emphasizes an evidently desired Gothic theme by way of a point arch shape in the brickwork. Elsewhere many pointed arches reinforce the Gothic nature of the structure's prevailing Gothic style, as do various, solid-looking flying buttresses.
So this Gothic-inspired building is still fairly small, as ecclesiastical structures go; but it may also be said: what a gamut of organizational changes the congregation (or congregations?) that have met in it — and its over 175 years have gone through, since the heady, Primitive Methodist days of Twaddle's Chapel!
This fine, historic structure is situated at 2162 Lawrence Avenue East, Toronto, Ontario.
December 5, 2019
(1) See also: https://www.archeion.ca/zion-wexford-united-church-scarborough-ont
(2) Primitive Methodists gave strong emphasis to prayer and Scripture reading, often aided by vigorous sermons, in an era when issues of faith and doctrine were grasped and proclaimed in a truly earnest, convicted fashion.
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 24 passes 2162 Lawrence Avenue East. 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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