Saturday, August 12, 2017

inSPIREd Sunday

July 2017 - Toronto On

I recently learned that this church had a labyrinth and was open Monday to Friday from noon to 3 PM.

There are three churches in this area.
St. Michael's Cathedral Catholic 
Metropolitan United Church - outside. Today I am going inside.
St. James Anglican Cathedral
St. James Anglican Cathedral second visit

The trio of similarly designed churches are a striking Christian witness immediately adjacent to Canada's financial hub.
Metropolitan United Church is currently under renovations outside so this photo is from a few years ago.

In 1922, a 22-bell, 17-ton carillon was installed in the tower with money donated by Chester Massey.

The congregation, originally Methodist, was founded in 1818. It was originally housed in a small chapel on King Street West (now site of Commerce Court North).

There is a plaque on the Commerce Court building.

In 1833 a larger structure was completed on Adelaide Street and it moved to its present location in 1872 when the building was dedicated as the Metropolitan Wesleyan Methodist Church.

In 1925 the Methodist Church of Canada merged with the Presbyterians and Congregationalists to form the United Church of Canada. Metropolitan then acquired its current name. In 1928 the church was almost destroyed by fire, but it was quickly rebuilt keeping the same design with the help of the Methodist Massey family, of Massey-Ferguson fame.

Many of the windows are dedicated in memory of a family member or friend who has been a living milestone in the work and life of Metropolitan United. The scheme of the windows for the nave, prepared by Robert McCausland, depict on the west wall the “Miracles of Jesus", while the east wall depicts “Scenes from the Life of Christ".

Alfred Russell Clarke image credit: Paul Latimer/Halifax Evening Mail, 11 May 1915. Alfred Clarke, 55, owned A. R. Clarke and Co. of Toronto, Ontario, Canada, which made leather linings, vests, and moccasins. He was a British subject, married, and had a son and daughter. On the last voyage of the Lusitania, his ticket was 13105 and he stayed in cabin D-3. On the day of the disaster, Clarke "was on the top deck about 2 o'clock on Friday afternoon when [he] suddenly heard a crash and splinters flew around." He tried to get down to his D deck cabin, but was couldn't at the time because of all the people coming up the stairs. He watched the crew ready the lifeboats and decided to try again for his lifejacket in his cabin. Clarke finally made it and he found it "utterly dark." When he closed the door, it was stuck due to the angle of the ship. He finally escaped and made it back on deck. he had failed to get a belt until a man gave him one on deck. Clarke encountered a tablemate from the dining saloon and encouraged him to get into one of the last lifeboats. The man refused and Clarke jumped into one of the boats. No sooner did he do that, the ship went down and he found himself in the water. He was picked up by a collapsible that was helmed by Charles Lauriat. The Wanderer (Peel 12) came to pick up the thirty-three on the raft. Alfred Russell Clarke died in a hosptial in London, England on 20 June 1915.

In the chancel is a labyrinth based on the famous labyrinth in Chartres Cathedral.

Metropolitan’s Casavant Organ is not only the largest pipe organ in Canada, it’s an instrument used every day at the church, by visiting organists and by students from the University of Toronto. But time and use have taken their toll: the 75+ year-old-organ is wearing out.


  1. Some serious public fund raising is needed to restore the organ, along with some government contribution. I don't think that religious merge happened here until the early 1960s.

  2. ...I'd love to hear that carillon!

  3. Lovely looking church, love the old black & white photo

  4. What a beautiful church with a great history. And it looks like it still functions as a living church.


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