Thinking Out Loud

November 4, 2012

Church Shopping in Canada’s Largest City

Units in industrial malls like this one (or trade parks, as they call them in England) could be used for warehousing or light manufacturing; or equally they could house places of worship. Bylaw changes in Toronto would eliminate the latter possibility.

As we toured Michigan and New York this summer we were ever mindful that in the U.S., there is literally a church on every corner.

In Canada, much more religiously diverse, there is a house of worship on every corner, but it won’t necessarily be a church, and you might need to redefine the word ‘corner.’

From a Toronto Star story (10/22) we learn:

  • There are 1,260 churches in the city of Toronto; this does not represent the Greater Toronto Area, or GTA, sometimes called “The 905;” this is just in the metropolitan city limits.
  • Church planting — or its equivalent in other faith circles — is alive and well with a third of all those 1,260 opening since 1995.  This is especially significant when you consider the historical churches in Toronto’s core.
  • As of 2008, a whopping 22% of the churches/worship-spaces are located in industrial areas. I’m sure that’s gone higher in the last few years.
  • The city, originally made up of six boroughs until 1998, is continually re-drafting consolidated zoning legislation, and the current proposal would put an end to faith groups operating in industrial areas.

Do you see the trend? Schools are increasingly cost-prohibitive, not available on long weekends, or just not leasing to churches at all. And now industrial/commercial complexes are under threat. What exactly does that leave?



  1. Interesting to see so many new Churches opening there. Here, we tend to see Churches closing, with what was a Church building now a dance studio, a martial arts school, a boxing club etc and even a pharmacy.

    Comment by meetingintheclouds — November 4, 2012 @ 8:02 pm

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