The history of the oldest parish church in the Toronto area is also the history of North Toronto and a changing culture.
The War of 1812 was barely over when the people of York Mills felled the trees that would become the first St. John’s Anglican Church. Built in 1816 on land donated by pioneer settlers Joseph and Catherine Shepard, the little log church was the first outpost of St. James Church in the Town of York and the first parish church in what would one day become the City of Toronto. The brick church that stands there today, high on the land overlooking Hogg’s Hollow, was completed in 1844. Though enlarged and improved over the years, it continues to serve as a welcoming place of worship and a valuable repository of Canadian history.