St. Augustine’s celebrates anniversary

A map pointer with the image of a church
 on April 1, 2021

Before condo towers dotted the skyline in midtown Toronto, there was a church on a hill. Some say its bell tower marked the highest point in the old City of Toronto.

Along with other institutions in North Leaside, St. Augustine of Canterbury is marking its 75th anniversary this April. During the Second World War, this part of Leaside was industrial and there was even an airstrip within the parish bounds. Optimism after the war meant re-development. People who had known the perils of war were eager to build a life of stability. In 1946, schools, homes and churches were built and a new neighbourhood was forged.

Like most churches, the congregation began without a purpose-built building. Worshippers met in a local home, and when they outgrew that space, they relocated to the new Northlea school. In time, they began the process of constructing the church in stages. Legend says the first rector was so eager to grow the church, he would follow moving vans and greet newcomers.

A lot has changed since those days, but God still has a mission for the church at the corner of Bayview and Broadway. In recent years, this parish has helped sponsor two refugee settlements and is in the queue for another. The flexible worship space has been a site for community projects, like exercise classes and lunches for seniors and a safe space for amateur musicians to perform at a monthly coffee house.

“We are committed to outreach work, supporting All Saints Church-Community Centre and many projects in Flemingdon Park and Thorncliffe,” says the Rev. Megan Jull, incumbent. “We’re an affirming place that tries out creative liturgy and embraces big, generous symbols. We ring our bell daily to cheer on frontline workers caring for us during the pandemic.”

She adds, “This year, we are back where we started. We cannot access the building in the usual ways. Modern technology is putting worship back into homes across Toronto and further afield. We are being church in new ways.”

To mark the church’ anniversary, a mixture of online and in-person events are planned this year. Friends and former parishioners are invited to check out the church’s website,, for details and join in.

Submitted by St. Augustine of Canterbury, Toronto.


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