Throughout the Beach’s history – from forest to farmlands, from resort to city neighbourhoods – St. Aidan, Toronto has served the lakeside community in the city’s east end for 125 years. It continues to make a difference to those who walk through its doors for worship or outreach programs.
Local and acclaimed artists in word and music came together on the evening of Sept. 28 to celebrate the community’s people and service to others. The event was hosted by St. Aidan’s and held at the nearby Balmy Beach Club.
“St Aidan’s has been rooted in the Beach for many years, and the evening was a great celebration of community – the community of faith connecting with the community of the Beach. Together, we’re working to make a difference,” says the Rev. Lucy Reid, incumbent.
Award-winning filmmaker Mike Downie shared the story of Chanie Wenjak, a 12-year-old Ojibwe boy who died while fleeing a residential school in 1966. Mr. Downie’s work encourages people to walk the path of reconciliation with Indigenous people in Canada. Crime novelist Peter Robinson, known for his Inspector Banks mystery series, along with authors Catherine Dunphy and Lisa de Nikolits, provided inspiration and laughter during the evening.
St. Aidan’s ministries were showcased, and there were musical performances by St. Aidan’s Regrets band and opera singer parishioners Michael Barrett and Marcelle Boisjoli.
St. Aidan’s service to the Beach has been as constant as the canoes and swimmers. “The parish serves community lunches, hosts Out of the Cold, offers programming for young families and supports St. Stephen in-the-Fields’ Sunday breakfasts,” says Deacon Michael Van Dusen.
The church’s programs include partnering to support a refugee family from Syria, educating about truth and reconciliation with First Nations peoples, and leading youth service and learning trips to Nicaragua.
Lori Ann Comeau is a member of St. Aidan’s.