Saturday 25 May 2013

Doors Open - Church of the Holy Trinity, Toronto, ON

The 14th annual Doors Open offers residents and visitors an opportunity to take a peek behind the doors of over 150 architecturally, historically, culturally and socially significant buildings across the city.

This year's theme is entitled "Creators, Makers and Innovators" and features many older buildings that have been redesigned, re-invented and re-purposed into modern 21st century spaces that host collaborative teams of imaginative people who are creating new ways of thinking, making and doing.

Gord and I checked out the Church of the Holy Trinity, which is behind the Eaton Centre in Trinity Square.  I used to work next door to it but had never been inside.

It was built in 1847. The funds for its construction were a gift from Mary Lambert Swale of Settle, England. Swale had originally made the donation anonymously but her name was eventually revealed. She had died at the age of 25 and gave the Toronto Diocese a gift of 5000 sterling to build a church. She requested that the name be Holy Trinity, that the reading desk and pulpit not be placed as to obstruct the view of patrons, that the church be open to the public and that the pews (none could be reserved) were to be free for everyone forever.

Since its construction, the city of Toronto has expanded so that the church now finds itself in the middle of Toronto’s urban core. As a result, the church has tailored its ministry to the urban homeless and needy and maintains a memorial outside the church doors which lists the names of homeless people who have died on the streets of Toronto. The church also has an active outreach to Toronto's lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community.

It was beautiful inside.

The Schola Cantorum and Sanctuary
Standing in the Schola Cantorum and Sanctuary looking west
The organ
There were a few people who played the organ.
The pulpit, a memorial to Rev. John Pearson
and dedicated in 1913.
In May 1977 a fire began in the Eaton's warehouses, then adjacent to the north and west ends of the Church. Holy Trinity lost its roof and 3/4 of its south side, including three nave windows. Later that day, a Sunday, parishioners gathered to worship outside and decided that Holy Trinity should remain standing on its original ground. Rebuilding began and the ceiling was hand painted blue as a reminder of the fire and the sky that acted as the ceiling in that first gathering of worship after the fire.

The ceiling
The wall that had been destroyed in the fire.
A new nave window
A new nave window
The north side and original windows
The north side and original window
Gord on the balcony at the west end
The stairs leading to the balcony
I rang the bell on my way up!
Looking down from the balcony (eastwards)

There are lots of memorials around the church.

I'm not religious but am glad I finally got a chance to check it out.

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