Only A Hint Remains

I haven’t shown up for Thursday Doors in a long time, but after discovering an unpublished post in my draft folder, I thought this might be a good opportunity to slide back in.

I actually found a number of unfinished posts and out of curiosity, I pulled up this one.   I was surprised to discover it had been written almost 2 years ago.

I don’t really know why I never published it.  Sometimes I do that.  Draft something up and then subsequently trash it.  This one apparently survived that fate, so today it’s getting its proverbial moment in the sun.  

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I remember this day very well.

It was a sunny afternoon in the heat of summer after a rare lunch with my sister in Kensington Market.

I could see a tower poking out of the trees a short distance away and knew there had to be a treasure lurking there, waiting for discovery.

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I’ve written previous posts about ‘ghosts’ of buildings and other structures that get left behind – hinting at a time that once was.  These silent sentinels fascinate me – time capsules to the past.

This tower is all that remains of St George the Martyr Anglican Church.  Its history dates back to 1844 and once had a grand spire on top.  

It would have been an imposing landmark at the time, but now it is dwarfed by all the concrete and glass towers of downtown.

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1867 Ontario Archives – from tayloronhistory.com/category/st-george-the-martyr-toronto/

In 1955 a fire destroyed the church and all that remained was the bell tower, parish hall, and rectory.  The spire had already been removed prior to the fire, but I could find no information on when or why it was removed.

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For lack of funds, the church was never rebuilt, but the tower was salvaged – with no purpose that I could see, except as a reminder of a glorious past.

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This door needs a little TLC and a coat of paint but still hints of the greatness that once was.  Its lack of doorknobs suggests that visitors aren’t welcomed here.  A shame – I think it has stories to share.

Thursday Doors is a weekly photo feature hosted by Norm Frampton at Norm 2.0.

72 comments

  1. I’ve always wondered about those squared off church towers. They look so unprepossessing, dare I say even ugly. Now I know, thanks to you, that they probably lost their steeples. Its like a dog with docked ears or a tail. Now I must go look at my drafts folder and see what is hidden away, forgotten, like that lovely door.

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    • To me, those squared off towers always remind me of the watchtowers of a fairytale castle. I was surprised to discover this one once had a steeple. Finding the old photo gave new life to this old tower amputated from its host.

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  2. Ooh!! I love this find Joanne. Both in your coming across it in real life and also in your drafts! This looks like a beautiful church and I love arched doorways like that. It could definitely use some TLC, but it sure does have lots of character! πŸ™‚

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  3. It’s really interesting to see the archived photo of the complete structure. It’s a shame how a fire destroyed the church. I thought brick would be more invincible. I am glad this post didn’t end up in the trash, Joanne.

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    • hahaha! Oh Sue, you must have richer pockets than I do. At best I find only a loonie πŸ˜†

      I have so many scraps of potential posts laying around. In fact I just scribbled another one this morning. Getting them published is an entirely different challenge.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Well at least you are writing them down. Mine just wander around in my head.

        I’ll have you know I found a 20 dollar bill in an old purse just the other day. Apparently my memory is far worse than yours. 😊

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        • It’s almost like winning the lottery πŸ™‚

          I do have odd stashes of money around – deliberately. Like a baggie with some emergency cash in my hiking pack and the baggies with US$ and Euros left over from various trips that I keep with my passport. Eventually they get pulled out when needed πŸ™‚

          Liked by 1 person

  4. A friend and I discovered this tower a couple of months back after leaving the AGO. Thank you for the history on it – we searched to see if there was a plaque that would give us an explanation but no such luck.

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  5. I love that bell-tower, too. And these are such good photos! They did rebuild the church, using the parish hall as a base, next door (to the east). It’s quite a charmer. It’s separated from the tower by a pretty walled memorial garden. Definitely go back for a look when you can. The church’s services are currently (or… soon) on hiatus as some structural work is being done. (I recall hearing that there was damage caused by some nearby construction, but … that may be apocryphal.)The building is sometimes used for events. I’ve attended several concerts there, and also a really interesting play with music (about Toronto’s immigration history). Good acoustics, and lovely to see the space being used in various ways. I gather the bell in the tower still functions, but I’ve never been there at the right time to hear it. My grandmother used to live across the street, in the early days of the Village by the Grange. Alas, she’s no longer around to remind me of whether or not she heard the bell on Sundays.

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    • Oooh – thank you so much for the added info!! I’ve been meaning to go back after I had read about a memorial garden, but now you’ve given me extra reasons to go back!!
      I didn’t realize there was a bell in the tower!

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  6. A lovely door, so glad you discovered the post. I have several ideas for posts that are scribbled down on bits of paper but have yet to make it as far as the draft folder. Sometimes other things come along that seem much more exciting and then before you know it years have gone by!

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  7. Have the opposite problem looking at old posts – WHY did I post this? Then when I look at the comments, I am surprised what others “saw” in it:)
    With this beautiful tower with so much character, the sheer angles with which you captured would have been enough – am glad you came back to it! That this New Year may be full of unexpected surprises, and closure of things that have been laying around unfinished:)

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    • I don’t recall the details of why I didn’t post this when I originally wrote it. I vaguely remember reading something about the parish hall that also survived and wanted to return to the tower to investigate.

      Needless to say, that never happened. It got bumped by the next new shiny thing that caught my attention πŸ˜‰

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  8. Interesting that you can’t find much about the removal of the spire since 1955 wasn’t that long ago, really. Sad that the church is no longer operating with such a long history. Glad you pulled this out of your drafts folder. – Marty

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    • I think some churches leave a bigger ‘footprint’ than others. If its work was modestly confined to its community, news about the church might not have caused enough of a ripple to warrant attention … although a really big devastating fire isn’t likely to be ignored.

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    • In a city that has seen so many of its heritage buildings destroyed in the 60s and 70s in the name of progress, it’s a relief to see bits and pieces like this one that has survived – in spite of devastating fire.

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  9. We the living are the voice of the ghosts. I agree it’s you that door require some TLC. I wonder what the church owner has in store for it or is it now government property with a ghostly sign KEEP OUT.

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  10. The history is fascinating,Joanne, and it does raise questions, doesn’t it? What happened to that tall spire? Why did they leave the tower (I’m glad they did!). A lovely tribute to the past amidst all the glass and steel. Thanks for sharing!

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  11. I love the “Doors” posts…and this is an incredible old building with stories to share, I’m sure. But the pure grace of the lines is just poetry of itself.

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    • I’ve said it many times before, but sometimes I wonder if in a hundred years from now people will be admiring the grace and beauty of our modern architecture the same way we appreciate our heritage buildings.

      As an aside, I’m having problems with your blog site. My comments seem to be going into never-land and repeated efforts to ‘follow’ your blog are met with an error message. I had been having issues with many other blogs, but they’ve now been resolved. Your’s appears to be the only one now. I’m wondering if the prob might be on your end? Just mentioning this in case you are experiencing an unusual decrease in traffic volume.

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    • I found very little information about the church. Perhaps it was in fact rather unremarkable during its lifetime.

      I think one of the reasons why I didn’t post this originally was because I was hoping to go back there.

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    • I can’t tell from the old photograph whether they were push doors only from the exterior or if door handles once existed and were subsequently removed.
      What I liked about the door were all the knobby little studs πŸ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

  12. This is a door I pass by all the time. It is so nice to see the drawing of the original building. Thanks so much for researching and posting this Joanne

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