Cummer Avenue United Church came into being on July 1, 2013, when the congregations of Northminster United Church and Newtonbrook United Church joined together to create one stronger congregation. On December 1, 2023, we united with Bayview United Church (an amalgamation of Oriole-York Mills United Church and Centennial-Japanese United Church), to become an even stronger presence in the community.
All four former congregations had long histories in their communities:
Newton Brook Wesleyan Methodist Church, formed in 1850’s, went through a few evolutions and eventually became Newtonbrook United Church in 1925, when the United Church of Canada was formed. This congregation worshipped in the Yonge/Cummer area.
Northminster United Church was established in 1956 and was located near Finch Avenue and Bathurst Street.
Oriole-York Mills United Church, traces its history to the Methodists living in the Shepard and Leslie area in the 1840’s.
Centennial United Church and the Toronto Japanese United Church started sharing space at 701 Dovercourt Road in 1957 and officially amalgamated in 1986. They spent 5 years in space at Yonge and Sheppard before moving to the Oriole-York Mills building at Bayview and York Mills in 2011. In 2014, Centennial-Japanese United Church and Oriole York Mills United Church amalgamated to form Bayview United Church.
For more details of our histories:
A pictorial history of Centennial-Japanese United Church:
A history of Newtonbrook United Church:
A history of Northminster United Church:
A history of Oriole York Mills United Church:
Our Building and Renovation
The building at 53 Cummer was designed and built in the late 1950’s and was dedicated in 1960. We welcomed the community into the space for worship, justice and social activities for over 50 years. However, by the early 2000’s the building was showing its age, so a renovation project was started. Construction commenced Fall 2018 and we moved back into our beautifully renovated space in late 2022.
Our Renovation Priorities included:
• Create accessible spaces
• New welcoming entrance
• Flexible spaces meeting ministry, program and community needs
• Accommodate long-term needs of community ministries and outreach programs
The stained glass dome located in the entrance foyer was designed by Canadian architect Raymond Moriyama. It was originally installed in 1958 at 701 Dovercourt Road for the Toronto Japanese United Church Nisei Congregation.
The organ is a Casavant organ originally built in 1930 and installed in the Nova Scotian Hotel in Halifax. During the Cummer Ave. renovation, the organ was completely removed and rebuilt. The panels across the bottom were made from church pews from the building.
The church features a number of wooden carvings, created by William McElcheran in 1959, including:
The 3 figures under the Cross in the Oak Room/Chapel, which represent “Faith, Hope and Love”, a reference to 1 Corinthians 13:13.
The Wood panel in the Upper Hall/Sanctuary, which depicts the Beatitudes (Matthew 5:3-12).
The wood panel on the front of the coffee station in the Upper Hall/Sanctuary was originally on the communion table. The image represents Jesus and the 12 disciples.
The carved panel on the lectern, which was originally carved for the front of the pulpit. It is an expanded version of the United Church Seal embodying the symbols of the three founding denominations which entered Church Union in 1925.