Saturday, July 30, 2016

inSPIREd Sunday

July 2016 - Toronto ON

On Thursday I was out wandering the city, visited the Mackenzie House and the area that Ryerson University is located.

Come back on Monday to see lots more of the area.

I had spotted this building and since I had time went to check it out. 

This area is dotted with churches documenting the history of immigrants to Toronto.

Close by is St. Michael's Catholic Cathedral (check back tomorrow for some photos), St. James Anglican CathedralLittle Trinity and Holy Trinity.

Formerly: Holy Blossom Temple
Address: 115 Bond Street, Toronto
Built: 1897
Adapted: 1937

Copyright is in the public domain and permission for use is not required. Please credit the Ontario Jewish Archives as the source of the photograph.

Located in the heart of Toronto, St. George’s Greek Orthodox Church remains one of very few examples of Byzantine inspired architecture in the city. Built as Holy Blossom Temple, a Jewish synagogue, the building was originally designed by Canadian architect John Siddall. In the early part of the 20th-century, its façade was adorned with two large onion-shaped domes atop two large towers, as well as several smaller onion domes along the central frontispiece. Due to the rapid growth of its congregation in the 1930s, Holy Blossom relocated to a new building (at 1950 Bathurst Street, Toronto), and its former home was sold and converted into this Greek Orthodox church.

The most notable exterior change was the replacement of the original onion domes with a hemispherical dome inspired by Hagia Sophia in Constantinople. The drum of the central dome was altered again in the 1980s to feature a stained-glass clerestory. Around the same time, the façade’s central tympanum was refitted with a mosaic painted by celebrated Italian mosaicist Sirio Tonelli and the traditional iconography in the church’s interior was painted by Pacomaioi monks from Mount Athos in Greece.

The successful conversion of Holy Blossom Temple to St. George’s Greek Orthodox Church demonstrates that faith-to-faith building conversions are often an easy fit. It also reminds us of the practical origins of adaptive reuse. We consider the adaptation of religious buildings a new trend, but the spirit of reusing and recycling them has always been part of our religious heritage.

Directly across the street was another church.

The history of First Evangelical Lutheran Church of Toronto is, above all else an account of a relatively small number of German-speaking immigrants struggling to create and maintain a spiritual home for themselves and successive generations. Not only did those first immigrants accomplish this goal, but in so doing, earned for First Lutheran the designation of the Lutheran mother church of Toronto.

First Lutheran traces its beginnings to 1850 when a small number of German Lutheran families began to meet in their homes for worship. The German population of Toronto was then extremely small, no more than a few hundred, and probably equally represented by Protestants and Roman Catholics.

The formal organisation of the congregation took place on August 9, 1851 when 12 members signed its first constitution. Served by itinerant pastors for the first several years of its existence, the congregation met in a number of temporary locations which included the First Congregational Church, the Crookshank Street Public School and the Temperance Hall — all in the heart of what is now downtown Toronto.

In that same year, the congregation purchased the property on Bond Street where it began construction of its first church building the following year. This was a small simple wood-frame structure and included a parsonage at its western end. The completed structure was consecrated on August 23, 1857.


  1. It looks like they squeezed the little church in there.

  2. i wanna go on the water taxi please. i love the mural on the 1st & the tiny arch windows on the 2nd. i wonder if you can view out them? way cool!! ( ;

  3. I really like that mural. Not something you see everyday at a church.

  4. Very beautiful church.

  5. Magnificent church.
    Very beautiful mosaic of St. George
    Greetings from Poland:)

  6. An interesting juxtaposition of faiths and their worship centers.

  7. Odd seeing St George & the Dragon on a church in Canada


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