St. Giles Anglican Church

We (my parents and family) lived in Scarborough Ontario from July of 1969 to June of 1974. They were good days! The price of gas was around 34 cents per gallon (that’s 4.5L) and the houses in our neighbourhood sold for about $19,500. I remember doing a project on housing for school (Wexford Collegiate) as part of an economics class which is why I remember the price of a house in the area. My friends went to church, well many of them, and I remember that some of them went to St. Giles Anglican Church.

Which brings me to this post. Wendy and I were recently out for an evening stroll and came across a half block of really new homes. What struck us was how out of context they were – a whole row of homes which I might think of finding in Markham or Pickering, not the 1950’s style of homes in Scarborough. As well, I noticed two homes on the street that definitely predate the Scarborough development, Indeed one of them turns out to have been built in 1858!

So I went hunting on the internet to see what I could find. Here’s what I found – those new homes are actually built on the site of St. Giles Anglican Church and the heritage home was the manse for the Anglican church. Below is an extract, the first part being from the zoning application filed with the City of Toronto:

“The existing place of worship on the property was constructed in September 1959,
housing the St. Giles Anglican Church congregation throughout until approximately 2011. The John A. Paterson heritage house built in 1858 remains in use as a single family dwelling on the east end of the subject property.

37 Kecala Drive

There is existing surface parking on the west end of the property with access points off both Kecala Road and Blaisdale Road serving the former place of worship, while the Paterson house has separate access from Kecala Road. There are also a number of mature trees located along the east and south lot lines of the subject property”

St. Giles under construction 1959

This second part is from a listing of lost Anglican parishes:

“St. Giles’, Scarborough was a mission from St. Jude’s Church, Wexford, as a response to new subdivisions being built up in the 1950s in Scarborough (in particular, the neighbourhoods of Londale Heights and Dorset Park). Approximately 700 Anglican families had moved into these neighbourhoods and they were in need of a more convenient location to worship. In 1956, as a temporary measure, St. Jude’s established the Londale and Dorset Park Mission, meeting in General Crerar Public School. At first only Sunday School classes were held. Services were added in November 1956.

Shortly thereafter, a site for a new building was purchased on Kecala Drive. Beginning on Easter Day 1958, the congregation used an old dairy building located on the property. The photographs below show the congregation worshipping, including a newspaper photograph of Bishop George Snell administering the rite of confirmation. Furnishing were procured from other churches, including St. Barnabas, Chester In April 1958, a building campaign was launched. Construction began the next year, and the new St. Giles’s building was dedicated on September 22, 1959.”

So as we walk along I now know the homes sit on a site of what was a dairy farm, and my assumption is that the house (circa 1858) must be the home which was the farm house. Secondly I know that the barn was taken down for the construction of the church until recently when that was demolished to make way for these homes.

Can you imagine what the area looked like in 1858 when the house was built? I’m going to see what other photos I can find!

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