THE ALL SAINTS BLOG

News & Stories

Then and Now

When I first visited All Saints’ Church it was 1976, and the drop-ins were run by independent boards of directors of two organizations, the Open Door and the Friendship Centre. These served predominantly the residents of rooming houses in the area. The pastor who had invited them to set up the drop-ins here, the Rev. Norman Ellis, spoke of the service the drop-ins provided as a “parlour space for those who had no space where they lived to entertain their friends.” The people who came to the drop-ins were often seniors. Some were veterans of the First and Second World Wars. There were more men than women.

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All Saints’ Faces Redevelopment of Its Neighbourhood

All Saints’ Church is located in a rapidly changing hub of downtown Toronto. The City of Toronto has made this district a focus of several studies about how to shape growth in the area around Sherbourne and Dundas Streets. City Council has created a Downtown East Revitalization Strategy to coordinate several approaches its planning department is making to organize policies for the area that are aimed a preserving the distinctive heritage of the area and meeting community needs.

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Adult Literacy At All Saints

A couple of years ago, we started a second Drop-In for women at All Saints. Some women from the neighbourhood who don’t fit into the category of sex trade workers or drug addicts told us that they would also enjoy having a women’s only space where they felt free to relax, talk, do crafts or other projects. So we now throw open the doors of the dining room every Thursday afternoon to this group of women.

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The Gifts and Stewardship of the People of All Saints’

People who have nothing to their name have provided our city of Toronto with a potent message, even if the voice in which they express this content is most often passive and sometimes self-effacing. The continuity of the presence of the community of low-income singles in downtown Toronto from its beginnings along the Skid Row of Church Street and Queen Street East a hundred years ago to today has formed a protest that continues to impact our urban life. A significant portion of our society has taken and is continuing to take a position that does not concur with the norms under which most of us live.

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