Runnymede Presbyterian Church’s History
“Just getting Underway For Good Work”
These joyful words of hope in the Minutes of the General Assembly of 1907-1908 (U.C.C.) described the founding of a new church in the west end of Toronto. The congregation of St. James Square United Presbyterian Church (at Victoria and Gould Streets) had determined that a new church was needed in this fast-developing area.
The first service of Runnymede Presbyterian Church was held on 9th November 1906 in the home of Mr. S. Clouston on Beresford Avenue.
After making do with rented houses and borrowed school rooms for a year, the rapidly growing congregation moved into their new building which held 300 for worship. This gift of the congregation of St. James Square U.P.C., standing on the south east corner of St. John’s Road and Windermere Avenue, was dedicated in December 1907. The first ordained minister, the Rev. B.B. Weatherall, was inducted in May of 1910 and by 1912 the congregation was self-sustaining.
With the congregation of Runnymede growing by leaps and bounds, and the development of more residential areas, it was decided that a move to larger premises farther to the south would be appropriate. In 1915, the lot at the corner of Annette Street and Willard Avenue was purchased.
The church building was cut into two pieces and moved to the new location, where two wings were added at the join, thereby forming a Greek cross. The congregation of Runnymede dedicated the enlarged church building on its new site on 12th September 1915.
The congregation continued to increase and to dream, but the Great Depression (1929-1939) and World War II (1939-1945) intervened. However, once peace was restored, the church family picked up their dreams with renewed vigour. The cornerstone of a new edifice was laid on 3rd June 1951. The Sunday School continued to occupy the old building until the Christian Education wing was added in 1954.
Many additions over the years, such as the stained glass window in the Chancel (dedicated in 1967) and the Trillium Chapel (dedicated in 1994), honour the contributions of members of our church family and increase the beauty of our church home.
These memorials also help us to remember and renew our dedication to His service.