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Our History

St Peter and St. Simon’s Today

On October 30, 2016, the Church of St Peter and St-Simon-the-Apostle (SPSS) was established as a new parish in the diocese.  It was the end of a challenging process and the beginning of a whole new one as began to grow together under the guidance of the Reverend Geoffrey Sangwine.

The former church of St Peter’s had a long ministry in the heart of downtown Toronto. As a community hub, it was also home to San Lorenzo parish which later moved to St Simon’s – they still worship with us.  Many of the beautiful and sacred furnishings from St Peter’s, including historic memorials, font, and the central altar, now used each Sunday as a side altar for administering Holy Communion and anointing for healing, were moved to the 525 Bloor location and are now an integral part of weekly worship.

The former church of St Simon’s also had a unique ministry in the heart of Toronto, known particularly for its choral music.  In 1989, the parish opened its doors to the growing needs of the community by starting a men’s shelter, the first Out of the Cold in Canada. With 80 beds, two meals a day, medical care and fellowship, the shelter operates 365 days per year.

We, the combined church of St. Peter and St. Simon-the-Apostle, are blessed to have renewed energy and an exciting new future. Situated on Bloor Street, we are at the intersection of Rosedale to the north, St Jamestown to the south, the Church and Wellesley Village to the west, and Cabbagetown to the East.   Our church is in one of the most diverse and densely populated communities in the country.

At the heart of the amalgamation was the desire to be followers of Jesus Christ and one community,  committed to Growing Together in Christ. Come and join us for worship any Sunday! We’ll be glad to welcome you.

The History of St. Peter’s Carlton Street

For over 20 years the congregation and the wardens made several excellent attempts to finance and renovate their beautiful historic St. Peter’s Church, Carlton Street. None succeeded.

The original church land was given to the parishioners in 1853 by two farmers, with the provision to use the land as needed to protect the continuation of the church. That was the original deed which changed in the 1980’s when the Toronto Diocese took co-ownership of all church lands.

In the late 1800’s St. Peter’s was a refuge for the Underground Railroad. There is a rich history of Toronto soldiers and veterans from WW1 and WW11. It was a meeting place of diversity of farmers, city dwellers, the needy and the wealthy, where coal and potatoes were given out during the Depression. The beautiful wood furniture, electric lights and stained glass windows and Cassavant organ were donated by founding families such as Pellat, Gooderham, Brown, Midgley, Davis, Darby, Cosby, Leacock, Allen and Body. It once had a working rectory and a sexton’s house. The attached bell tower has been rung by hand for over 100 years.

Such a strong faith of brave, believing people sent out 11 missionaries beginning in 1892 to the Yukon, Alberta, Saskatchewan, British Columbia as well as Japan, China, Persia and India. An incredible history of outreach to the Christian community and the world! Recent outreach included the Food Bank and refugee sponsorships, Doors Open and Sunday school.

St. Peter’s sits on a vital piece of land on the corner of Bleecker Street and Carlton; a perfect L-shaped property for a specialty condo, $4.5 million having been once offered. Nevertheless, the congregation was told to amalgamate and so now are part of St. Peter’s and St. Simon’s Anglican Church. Sadly, St. Peter’s church was deconsecrated and is now rented to Dixon Hall and others.

Many cherished objects were transported such as the Baptismal Font, the original wooden chairs, 2 altars and several brass and linen fittings for the Sacristy. Most of the wall plaques and the large cross have found a new home in the chapel or the church. It is heartening to know the 2 congregations of St. Peter’s and St. Simons continue to worship together. Faith is portable and the love of God is present wherever the faithful are gathered together.

The History of St. Simon-the-Apostle

St. Simon’s church was started in 1884 as a mission of St James Cathedral by The Rev’d Canon DuMoulin, to serve Church of England people in the North-east part of the City. For four years a small group of parishioners worshiped at the funerary chapel of St James-the-Less in St James Cemetery.

To learn more, click here to download a PDF of the St Simon’s history.

Click here to access a special video Honouring the Fallen from St Peter’s and St Simon-the-Apostle

To learn more about the Stain Glass windows in our church, read the detailed report here.