Prospect Park

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In 1907 Prospect Park Methodist Church was founded in temporary accommodations. It was named after the neighbouring "Prospect Park Estates" which had been recently subdivided and were in the process of being developed for housing. The extensive Prospect Park Cemetery is also located in the same West Toronto neighbourhood.

When the new United Church of Canada was formed in June of 1925, the congregation entered Union as "Prospect Park United Church." Shortly after, in 1926, a new building on Caledonia Road just two blocks north of St. Clair Avenue was completed and dedicated. This building still exists and continues life as a Christian meeting place as "The Bibleway Church of Jesus Christ."

In 1970, after a significant decline in membership and with the accompanying financial problems, the congregation decided to amalgamate with the Silverthorn United Church. The amalgamation came in to being on January 1, 1971. Seven years later in 1977, the Caledonia Road property, including the Innes Avenue manse, was sold for $140,100 and the proceeds were dedicated to the support of the continuing amalgamated Silverthorn Church. From 1971 to 1995 the Prospect Park name lived on in the "Prospect Park Lounge," one of the main meeting rooms in the Silverthorn Building.

Several members of the Prospect Park United Church congregation stayed as active participants of Silverthorn and "made the move" once again when Silverthorn and Mount Dennis United Churches came together in 1995.

One of those members, Lillian Taylor, graciously contributed the following reminiscences:

"It was in 1934 when I began to attend Prospect Park United Church, a wonderful Community Church situated on the corner of Caledonia Road and Innes Avenue.

"It seemed as if our lives revolved around that church. Monday night there was Junior League for those aged 7 to 12 at 7.00 pm. followed by Senior League for those aged 12 and over at 8.00 pm. On Tuesday there was Drama Club, usually performing one play each year. On Wednesday there was prayer meeting and Thursday there was Choir Practice and CGIT (Canadian Girls in Training). Friday was the night for Boy's Brigade. Plus, the Women's Association (WA) usually held one meeting in the afternoon and one in the evening and the Women's Missionary Society (WMS) held a regular meeting.

"On Sunday there were morning and evening services. I can remember attending church four times every Sunday - 10.00 am. to play for the Boy's Brigade service; 11.00 am. and 7.00 pm. for the regular church service to be in the choir and 3.00 pm. for Sunday School. There would be over 100 children every Sunday plus 20 or more young men in the Young Men's Bible Class and 20 or more young women in the Young Women's Bible Class.

"Every Spring for many years, the Young men's Bible Class would do what came to be known as the "Spring Ride." They would contact a country church and offer to come out and do the service - singing and preaching. From that group of young men and women, two became United Church ministers and one a missionary under the Women's Missionary Society. Many became teachers and others did well in the business world. Every two or three years, we still get together for a reunion. The last one I attended in 1994 represented sixty years of fellowship and shared memories since I first joined in 1934.

"Prospect Park United Church eventually closed because the population of the area had changed significantly with the large majority representing the Roman Catholic faith. Now, the small remnant of the Prospect Park congregation has been happy to come, via Silverthorn United Church, to a new church home at Mount Dennis United. A door closes but another opens."

- submitted in December 1996