Timothy Eaton Memorial Church, built a century ago by the powerful Eaton family and sitting, as it does, nestled among the stately homes of Forest Hill, has never been able to shake its reputation as a house of worship for Toronto’s upper crust.
So entrenched is its status as the church of the city’s judges, bankers and doctors that a recent script on Little Mosque on the Prairie recently had characters referring to it as the snooty parish an Anglican priest aspired to lead.
Rather than getting upset at being labeled uppity or misunderstood, since Timothy Eaton is actually United Church and not Anglican, senior pastor Andrew Stirling thought it was all pretty funny.
“The good news is we were on television,” he recalls telling his congregation. “The bad news is we are now Anglican, I’m a boring fart who boozes, and you’re a snobby bunch. But other than that, everything’s just fine.”
Parishioners took the TV ribbing with “great humour,” according to Stirling. After all, TEMC, celebrating its 100th anniversary at two services this Sunday, can hardly deny its blueblood origins.
The church was established in 1910 on St. Clair Ave., west of Avenue Road, on property donated by the widow and son of Timothy Eaton, who in 1869 had founded Eaton’s department stores.
Stirling expects Timothy Eaton to evolve further as a “cathedral church,” drawing on a growing number of members across the GTA. So it could be a very different congregation that opens an anniversary time capsule the church plans to place in its cornerstone next spring, for opening in 2110.