Friday, May 10, 2024

Homeless Jesus

UPDATED May 2024

Toronto Church of the Redeemer 2024


On one of Toronto’s busiest street corners, near high-end stores and multi-million-dollar condos, a life-sized sculpture of Jesus Christ as a sick person offers passers-by a chance to stop and reflect on their lives and those who are less fortunate than themselves.

The bronze sculpture, called When I Was Sick, was installed outside Church of the Redeemer, Bloor St. in September 2023. It is accompanied by a plaque that reads, “It dwells in this place as a shared calling and a commitment as a church, a city and a world to take care of those who are in need.”

The artwork was created by Timothy Schmalz, a Canadian sculptor whose provocative works of Jesus Christ have been installed in public spaces worldwide. Mr. Schmalz is best known for his Homeless Jesus statue, which he created in reaction to the many people he saw living on the streets.

 June 2018 - REDress Project at The Church of the Redeemer

August 2016 - Toronto ON

The Church of the Redeemer is an Anglican church. The small church is prominently located at the intersection of Bloor Street and Avenue Road, near the University of Toronto. It is kitty-cornered (or cater-cornered) to the ROM.

This photo was taken in the spring before the hoarding went up in July for some renovations.

As with many other downtown churches the Church of the Redeemer suffered from falling attendance in the late twentieth century. The church ran into severe financial difficulties and in 1979 the parish voluntarily disestablished itself and was taken over by the Anglican Diocese of Toronto.

The church lands were sold to developers and the massive Four Seasons Renaissance Centre was built on them. With the money from this deal the church was again solvent and regained its independence. The money also paid for much needed renovations. In 2000 the church launched a major renovation project as extra meeting space and offices were constructed under the building.

Their website states:

Our home sits on the traditional lands of the Wendat, Haudenosaunee, and Mississauga peoples of the New Credit, and in the heart of the city of Toronto.

These photos were taken this week.

It was founded in 1871 when the area was still on the fringe of the city. The building opened on June 15, 1879.

The Church of the Redeemer building was designed in a Gothic revival style. During the early years of the parish, there was seating for approximately 500 people. Between 1906 and 1929, stained glass windows were installed, depicting key moments in the life of Jesus and his disciples. The window immediately behind the altar, for example, illustrates the story of the Road to Emmaus. Most of the windows were designed by N. T. Lyons, a stained glass firm known for its naturalistic, three-dimensional style.

The Crucifixion showing a soldier with a rifle falling at the foot of the cross.

An infantryman with bandaged head trailing a rifle in his left hand and holding the Canadian Red Ensign in his right.

A Red Cross worker supports a wounded soldier and offers him a drink from a canteen. To the right in the background is the figure of Christ.


  1. Given the military history, those stained glass windows are appropriate and vivid. I've passed by this church on occasion, but never got inside. It is rather beautiful!

  2. wow, i enjoy the stain glass, thank you for sharing ... that is cool how they work that in ... my childhood church, i always recall the stain glass 'cause i would stare it for hours while the preacher when on and on. it was very lovely. ( :

  3. This poor church is quite dwarfed by the hotel, but at least the colours of both buildings blend well together.

  4. Boy oh boy, has the neighborhood changed of what! POOR city planning!

  5. Wow! What a beauty tucked in and surrounded by those modern buildings. You got such beautiful photos of the stained glass.

  6. Somehow it seems wrong to have a giant building standing behind this quaint little church.

  7. The church looks so lost in it's surroundings but beautiful inside.


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