Despite the perception that churches have lower attendance, newcomers and young people are arriving in the city, giving a much needed boost to Toronto churches.
The number of places of worship has actually increased according to the City of Toronto. Communications officer Ellen Leesti says, “There’s been a 27 per cent increase in places of worship from 1998 to 2018.”
Jessie-Ann Baines, communications manager for St. James Cathedral in Toronto, says, “Church attendance has been steady, and not only does our church attract locals, it’s also a hot spot for tourists.”
Many of Toronto’s churches give young people an opportunity to experience church in a non-traditional way.
Rev. Lynn J. Marsh at Danforth Church, says, “We are an inclusive, welcoming and affirming community for people who identify as LGBTQ.”
Lucina MacPherson, who attends the Bloor-Landsdown Christian Fellowship Church every Sunday, says, “It’s a popular church that gives a real community feel. I think people will always look for a place of belonging, especially if you are new to the city.”
Rob Antonaniadis, whose background is Greek has been attending the Greek Orthodox Church, St. Irene Chrisovantou on the Danforth since he was a child, believes that church is a cultural place as well. “The older generations will want to pass on our traditions to the younger ones, so church is an obvious way to do this,” he says.