Knox Presbyterian Church – Celebrating Over 200 Years in Toronto

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2020 – Looking southwest at the Knox Presbyterian Church at 630 Spadina Ave, south of Harbord St on the west side
2020 – Looking southwest at the Knox Presbyterian Church at 630 Spadina Ave, south of Harbord St on the west side

Knox Presbyterian Church is located at 630 Spadina Ave (south of Harbord St on the west side) in the Harbord Village neighbourhood of Toronto.

The Queen St W Location

The congregation of Knox Presbyterian Church was established in 1820. Their first church was built in 1821 on land donated by Jesse Ketchum, a businessperson and philanthropist. The 400-seat brick church faced Richmond St W, had a depth to Queen St W and was between Yonge St and Bay St (on the present-day site of The Bay).

In 1843, Knox Church was greatly enlarged; however, in 1847, it was destroyed by fire. That same year and on the same site, the congregation built a new church with the entrance facing Queen St W.

In 1904, Knox Church sold its Queen St W property to the Robert Simpson Co for $206,000 to expand its department store. The area was becoming mainly commercial. The last service was held in July 1905, and the church was demolished soon after. That same year, the Spadina Ave property was purchased, and construction began.

The Move to Spadina Ave

Until the new church was completed, the congregation worshiped temporarily at the church’s old schoolroom on Queen St W, then in 1907, moved to their new schoolhouse on Spadina Ave.

In January 1909, the first service was held at Knox Presbyterian Church. The 1,200-seat church was designed by architect James Wilson Gray. It’s made from Credit Valley stone with Indiana limestone trim and combines Gothic and Romanesque Revival architectural styles. Interior highlights include a gallery, celebrated stained glass windows and rich woodwork.

Early architectural drawings show the church was supposed to have a spire on the tower; however, it was held off due to funding issues and was never added.

The church building received heritage status from the City of Toronto in 2006.

In 2018, Knox Presbyterian Church underwent a renovation, and many of its existing elements were preserved.

Knox Presbyterian Church Photos   

2020 - Knox Presbyterian Church is located at 630 Spadina Ave in the Harbord Village neighbourhood of Toronto
2020 – Knox Presbyterian Church is located at 630 Spadina Ave in the Harbord Village neighbourhood of Toronto
1956 - Looking southwest towards the Knox Presbyterian Church at 630 Spadina Ave, south of Harbord St on the west side. Early architectural drawings show the church was supposed to have a spire on the tower; however, it was held off due to funding issues and was never added
1956 – Looking southwest towards the Knox Presbyterian Church at 630 Spadina Ave, south of Harbord St on the west side. Early architectural drawings show the church was supposed to have a spire on the tower; however, it was held off due to funding issues and was never added (Toronto Public Library R-34)
2020 – Looking towards the main facade of Knox Presbyterian Church at 630 Spadina Ave. The church is made from Credit Valley stone with Indiana limestone trim
2020 – Looking towards the main facade of Knox Presbyterian Church at 630 Spadina Ave. The church is made from Credit Valley stone with Indiana limestone trim
1925 - Looking west from Spadina Ave towards a crowd watching the Toronto Scottish Church Parade entering Knox Presbyterian Church
1925 – Looking west from Spadina Ave towards a crowd watching the Toronto Scottish Church Parade entering Knox Presbyterian Church (City of Toronto Archives, Fonds 1266, Item 5107)
2020 – Looking west towards the front entrance of the Knox Presbyterian Church at 630 Spadina Ave. The church combines Gothic and Romanesque Revival architectural styles
2020 – Looking west towards the front entrance of the Knox Presbyterian Church at 630 Spadina Ave. The church combines Gothic and Romanesque Revival architectural styles
1925 – Looking west towards the main entrance of Knox Presbyterian Church from Spadina Ave. The 1,200-seat church was designed by architect James Wilson Gray
1925 – Looking west towards the main entrance of Knox Presbyterian Church from Spadina Ave. The 1,200-seat church was designed by architect James Wilson Gray (City of Toronto Archives, Fonds 1266, Item 5541)
1923 - Knox Presbyterian Church offered a clinic providing healthcare advice to new mothers
1923 – Knox Presbyterian Church offered a clinic providing healthcare advice to new mothers (City of Toronto Archives, Series 372, Sub Series 32, Item 670)
1920 - The main entrance of Knox Presbyterian Church at 630 Spadina Ave, south of Harbord St. The first service was held in January 1909
1920 – The main entrance of Knox Presbyterian Church at 630 Spadina Ave, south of Harbord St. The first service was held in January 1909 (Toronto Public Library TSPA_0111040F)
Circa 1908 - Postcard of the Knox Presbyterian Church. Early architectural drawings show the church was supposed to have a spire on the tower; however, it was held off due to funding issues and didn’t happen
Circa 1908 – Postcard of the Knox Presbyterian Church. Early architectural drawings show the church was supposed to have a spire on the tower; however, it was held off due to funding issues and didn’t happen (Toronto Public Library PC185)
2021 – Looking southwest from the corner of Spadina Ave and Harbord St. Notice the tower of the Knox Presbyterian Church in the background
2021 – Looking southwest from the corner of Spadina Ave and Harbord St. Notice the tower of the Knox Presbyterian Church in the background
1900 - The Knox Church on the south side of Queen St W between Yonge St and Bay St. The Robert Simpson Co department store purchased the site for $206,000 in 1904. Today, the former Simpson's building is home to The Bay
1900 – The Knox Church on the south side of Queen St W between Yonge St and Bay St. The Robert Simpson Co department store purchased the site for $206,000 in 1904. Today, the former Simpson’s building is home to The Bay (Toronto Public Library R-5386)
1886 – The interior of the Knox Church, once located on Queen St W between Yonge St and Bay St
1886 – The interior of the Knox Church, once located on Queen St W between Yonge St and Bay St (Toronto Public Library R-547)
Circa 1900 – Looking east along Queen St W towards Yonge St from just east of Bay St, Notice the tower of Knox Church next to the Robert Simpson Co and the peak of the Confederation Life Building near the water tower
Circa 1900 – Looking east along Queen St W towards Yonge St from just east of Bay St, Notice the tower of Knox Church next to the Robert Simpson Co and the peak of the Confederation Life Building near the water tower (Toronto Public Library R-1063)
Sketch of the Knox Church. From the late 1840s until 1905, the church was located on the south side of Queen St W between Yonge St and Bay St
Sketch of the Knox Church. From the late 1840s until 1905, the church was located on the south side of Queen St W between Yonge St and Bay St (Landmarks of Toronto Volume 4 by J Ross Robertson – 1904)
Sketch of the Second Knox Church with an addition. The church faced Richmond St W, had a depth to Queen St W
Sketch of the Second Knox Church with an addition. The church faced Richmond St W, had a depth to Queen St W (Landmarks of Toronto Volume 4 by J Ross Robertson – 1904)
Sketch of the First Knox Church. The church faced Richmond St W, had a depth to Queen St W
Sketch of the First Knox Church. The church faced Richmond St W, had a depth to Queen St W (Landmarks of Toronto Volume 4 by J Ross Robertson – 1904)
1899 - Goads Map showing the location of the Knox Presbyterian Church and the Robert Simpson Co
1899 – Goads Map showing the location of the Knox Presbyterian Church and the Robert Simpson Co (Toronto Public Library)
SOURCE
  • City of Toronto Heritage Register: 630 Spadina Ave
  • Knox Presbyterian Church: Our History
  • The Globe Newspaper Archives: Oct 3, 1904, pg 12
  • The Toronto Daily Star Newspaper Archives: Jun 28, 1905, pg 12
  • The Globe Newspaper Archives: Apr 19, 1906, pg 11
  • The Globe Newspaper Archives: Jan 21, 1907, pg 12
  • The Globe Newspaper Archives: Jan 11, 1909, pg 12
  • Landmarks of Toronto: Volume 1 by J Ross Robertson (1894), pgs 510-512
  • Landmarks of Toronto: Volume 4 by J Ross Robertson (1904), pgs 606-607
  • Photos: Denise Marie for TorontoJourney416
  • Vintage Photos: City of Toronto Archives & Toronto Public Library
  • Vintage Map: Atlas of the City of Toronto 1899 by Chas E Goad courtesy of Toronto Public Library

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