The Church of the Holy Trinity opened in 1847 following the gift of an anonymous donor (later revealed as Mary Lambert Swale of Settle, England). Mrs. Swale had stipulated that all pews were to be free and unreserved, a tenet of the High Church party in England at the time.
The new Church was in the midst of what was becoming known as The Ward, St. James’ Ward, a home to immigrants, escaped slaves, and other marginalised people of Toronto.
The architect was H.B. Lane, who also designed Little Trinity (on King Street) and St. George the Martyr. The interior was originally extremely plain. During the 1930s — the depression years — the church became known as a home of the social gospel under the then rector, The Reverend John Frank. Patricia Frank, his wife, instituted The Christmas Story, produced every year since 1937.
James Fisk, Rector from 1962-1976, made a dynamic impact on Holy Trinity. During his rectorship the laity came to take a larger part in worship and governing the parish. The congregation, with supporters from the larger community, successfully fought efforts by a developer to have the church torn down. A fire in 1977 caused damage to the original ceiling and south windows. In 1989 the interior walls of the church, painted in the nineteenth century, and the organ were restored.
Today Holy Trinity is in a strong position geographically, to minister to the urban core. Holy Trinity strives to work with others in the community to uproot the systemic injustice which entraps the weakest members of our society.
In 2007 Holy Trinity was joined by the Hispanic congregation of San Esteban. It has proven to be a great relationship with a number of joint bilingual services through the year.
Links to more HT history
- A long and fascinatingly detailed history of HT at Torontoist
- A brief history of our membership in the LGBTQ community
- Gerald Robinson talks about our post-fire reconstruction
- Posts on our site in category ‘history’
- Anita Sott, York University – Holy Trinity’s Stained Glass Windows
- Wikipedia • Tripadvisor • Lonely Planet
- Sermons preached in the Church of the Holy Trinity, Toronto, on the four Sundays in Advent, 1868