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Save St. Stephen's Concert Announced!



For Immediate Release - Toronto, Canada - Friday, September 9, 2005

Save St. Stephen's Concert Announced!

Bruce Cockburn, Katherine Govier, Molly Johnson, Daniel Lanois & Lori Anne
Michael Ondaatje, Jane Siberry and Kurt Swinghammer all to perform

September 18th, 2005
Saint Stephen-in-the-Fields Church
103 Bellevue Avenue at College Street, Toronto, M5T 2N8

“It’s the congregations, community and artists united.
A night to come out and say, Save Saint Stephen’s!â€
- Michael Heydon, The Friends of St. Stephens

September 30th is the date the Anglican Diocese has set for the congregation
of St. Stephen’s to vacate their home of 147 years. The community has
banded together to present a Save St.Stephen’s Concert, just 12 days before
the designated eviction. A group of Canada’s most outstanding musicians and
authors are joining forces for one performance to bring this issue to the
public’s attention and to lend their support to this much-loved community

“Without the parish, the building is in danger of demolition at worst and
neglect at best. Neglect means demolition by the inch.â€
- Paul Durfee Oberst, Now Magazine
St. Stephens Church in Toronto’s Kensington Market is a gorgeous,
gothic-styled church designed by Thomas Fuller, architect of the Parliament
Buildings in Ottawa. The building and property was given to the parish by
the Denison family in 1858, before Canada was even a country. The
Anglican Diocese wants the congregation out so the building can be
“redeployedâ€, an epidemic plaguing many churches across this country. The
eviction means more than shutting down the 3 congregations - Franco-African,
Spanish and English, which currently hold services in the church. It means
an end to the successful Out-of-the-Cold evenings and a breakfast program
that serves 200 people each weekend. Theatre Gargantua and Showtime, a kids’
summer theatre camp based in the church, will also be forced to find a new

“The optics for the diocese are, of course, appalling. Members of the
congregation are primarily of Caribbean, African and Latin American origin.
Not WASP. Not rich.â€
- Michael Valpy, Globe & Mail

Concert Tickets are by free-will donation and will be available on a
first-served basis, available at the church on the night of the concert
Doors open at 6:30 pm. Seating is extremely limited.

For information or media access contact: Joanne Setterington, INDOOR RECESS
joanne@indoorrecess.com 416 703 5217

building babel

By all means save St. Stephens.

Just save a little for me.

building babel

Amen brother. I'm sure many others will be "so there" too - I predict there will be churchy-checking and diocese-blocking aplenty by the time this savvy public relations exercise climaxes.

Of course only the shell of this much-renovated little Mock Goth Stubby is the Thomas Fuller original anyway. And the Goths, mostly imported Brit architects, were vile vandals to earlier Upper Canadian Georgian and Regency churches anyway, so even if Stubby gets demolished you could say a kind of Divine Retribution is at work ...

The Eden Smith arts and crafts east addition, with nice made-in-Canada stained glass windows and frivolous iron work, is the most obvious reworking of the building. There's a nice big organ too - it's a transplant!

But the vandalism continues. The wooden pews were taken away in the 1980's I believe. And, worst of all, Stubby's nave was blocked - nay, cut in half - by that dreadful kitchen!

My hope is for:

* Public humiliation for the diocese and a back-off. A plague on all their houses, but not necessarily on their churches too.

* Demolition of the kitchen, and restoration of Stubby's dull barnlike interior. The space could be used for concerts since the acoustics are apparently quite good, or as a tony restaurant or something useful for a change.

* Let the poor third world Christians, so cruelly mistreated by the Goth authorities, have a nice renovated space in the basement where they can continue to do whatever it is they're doing. The basement is high and dry, and I expect they'll be happy there in spanking new custom-designed quarters.


Why save Saint Stephens exactly? Its about the ugliest, cheapest Church I've ever seen. Even in its day it must have been seen as shoddy.
I mean its awful!!


I usually dislike it when adma engages in name-calling... but this time I sympathise.

mark simpson

Does anyone even take Adma seriously? His simplistic stance on peservation just doesn't jive with a fan based development forum and I would imagine his continued insults towards forumers opposed to just disputing their opinions would of led to a ban even in this lenient forum.

(His shroud of arrogance does little at concealing the underlying insecurity - must be an architect ;) )

Tear it down or convert it to condos - secularism is what we should continue to strive for


Tear it down or convert it to condos - secularism is what we should continue to strive for
Er, I know many a sin has been committed in the name of non-secularism; but it's jaw-droppingly sophomoric/philistinic statements like that that're more likely to relegate so-called "fan based development forums" like this to a common laughing-stock fringe with any gang of glassy-eyed Fountainhead-reading adolescents.

So, if you're talking about not being worthy of taken seriously; pot, kettle, black--unless you're being satirical, of course...


Adma is content in the knowledge that he can't possibly be a yokel. He uses BIG words to explain his simplistic, over-generalised stances on issues.


St. Stephens is actually an extremely progressive congregation - more in line with Liberation Theologians like Oscar Romero. This is perhaps a reason why the church is at risk. lots of outreach programs. they serve breakfasts for the homeless on the weekends. sponsor refugees. etc.

If you wander by, there's now a [murmur] sign on the front door you can call - i recorded about 11 stories or so from various people about the church, it's history, and some things they do.


Don't think I've seen this mentioned anywhere yet:

from the Annex Gleaner, Sept. '05 (apparently not online) ...

"Bloor Street United Church to be demolished ... The church's congregation decided in May it was time to make some major alterations to its building on the corner of Bloor Street West and Huron Street. After deliberating on the growing costs of keeping the building, the congregation chose to demolish it and rebuild from scratch. ... the church's goal is to keep all programs running, even after the redevelopment..."

There are no specifics yet regarding the redevelopment plans, but this is quite an alarming development. I don't think it's going too far to describe this church as a landmark, and seen together with the St. Stephen's problem and others, it seems that this whole expensive-church issue is coming to a head. I have to say that I'm amazed and a bit shocked at how cavalierly demolition is being tossed around as the 'best' option available in these cases. Yikes. I don't like the direction in which all of this is currently heading. If demolition becomes the established M.O. in these or other similar situations, then we have a serious preservation crisis on our hands.


That's well beyond alarming... it's beyond shocking.

Bloor St United Church