St. George on Yonge has traditionally been known as St. George’s, Willowdale.
In 1922, a mission parish was established at the corner of Yonge Street and Churchill Avenue to serve the needs of the growing community there. The parish was initially supported by the Church of the Holy Trinity, Thornhill, but quickly became self-supporting, and a wooden frame church was built. In 1939, construction began on a new building, but World War II intervened.
For over 10 years, the community worshipped and served the community from the half-basement building they had been able to complete. In 1950, a second floor was added to the building to serve as worship space. During the post-war years, housing construction in the area happened on a large scale, and the church was expanded to meet the needs of the people moving into the community. A new wing was added with worship space, a large gymnasium and office space for the parish staff and volunteers. The older portion of the church became the parish hall and Church School hall.
In the early 2000s, a variety of options for re-developing the church building were explored. Eventually the parish sold part of the property to a developer and engaged Davidson-Langley Incorporated Architects to design a new church building from which it would be better able to serve the needs of the community. The congregation was able to return to the neighbourhood in late 2011, taking occupancy of their newly built church with doors that open right onto Yonge Street.
Our new church building is state of the art, multi-level and fully accessible with underground parking. In addition to being a place where we gather to worship and a home base for our community programs, the building houses a childcare centre and has a flexible layout that can be adapted to meet the needs of community groups. The new St. George on Yonge is contemporary in design, with innovative green elements such as building materials from renewable sources, high-efficiency heating and cooling, and motion-sensitive lighting. As well, stained glass and liturgical furnishings from the previous church building were re-purposed, and new sanctuary furniture was created using wood from trees harvested on the site.
Like the building, our congregation now is a mix of old and new, those who have journeyed with the church through all these changes and some new faces who have joined the congregation since it came back to Yonge Street.
The people are the real story of St. George on Yonge. We hope you’ll come to see us, and we hope to get to know you too.