St. Anne's Anglican Church celebrates art and music as distinctive human expressions that are a meeting place for divine-human encounter. The stories and theology of our church see humanity as created in the image of God and thus imitating the creative action of the divine Creator. The St. Anne's community welcomes and includes artists and encourages opportunities for the wider community to encounter the arts and music as holy ground. The church is a work of art in its own right; it is a sacred space that readily enters into dialogue when juxtaposed with visiting works of art and music. 

Artworks are installed in the worship space where their presence impacts worshipers and viewers alike. This juxtaposition with the space creates a lasting impression.

Art Exhibits at St. Anne's

St. Anne's presents occasional festivals of art and music, and we gratefully acknowledge the support and partnership of the Anglican Foundation of Canada's Snell Trust  with thanks to the Anglican Foundation - Snell Trust for it's generous financial support.

Past Exhibits

Ouroboros:  From September 22 to October 14, St. Anne's hosted Ourobors, an immersive group exhibit featuring the work of Ellen Bleiwas, Emily DiCarlo, Gunilla Josephson, Adrienne Trent, and Marian Wihak. The exhibition was open to the public for specific viewing times. It also included an opening reception, an evening of "Meet the Artists", and a musical concert featuring two Toronto based singing groups, Darbazi and Turkwas.

Mirabilia: In October of 2012, St. Anne’s held a 9-day arts festival to mark the 150th anniversary of its founding. St. Anne’s invited neigbhourhood organizations and friends into partnership to present Mirabilia – A Miracle on Gladstone Avenue. The festival's name, Mirabilia, meaning "Things that cause us to wonder," was intriguing to our partners, including Workman Arts, Pax Christi Chorale, NetherMind Artists Collective, and MacGregor Park Art Club. The festival included worship, concerts, lectures, art installations and a film screening. Mirabilia received extensive newspaper, radio and web coverage. The multidisciplinary nature of the festival encouraged repeat visits. Over the course of the week 2500 people participated in Mirabilia. 

The Arts in daily life at St. Anne's: Encouraging our own Artists

Over the years, this foundation of Byzantine Revival architecture and Group of Seven paintings has encouraged a longstanding relationship between the St. Anne’s Congregation and the Toronto arts community. St. Anne’s encourages our own artists. Paintings by our artists are featured on the walls of the Ministry Centre and the Skey Room, where we hold refreshments following Sunday worship. 

We are growing new friendships in the arts, across disciplines of music, art, drama and film. The Arts express our life at St. Anne’s.

History of the Arts at St. Anne's

St. Anne’s Church was founded in 1862 to serve the small rural hamlet of Brockton.  As the city grew up around the church, the number of parishioners outgrew the small neo-gothic village church, and in 1907 the present church was constructed in the style of the Byzantine Revival.  In the early 1920s the church interior was decorated and painted with murals by artists who would later become members of Canada’s famous Group of Seven.  These early 20th Century architecture and art decisions are the foundation for a continuing relationship between St. Anne’s and the arts community in Toronto.

History of the Arts at St. Anne's: Architecture of the Byzantine Revival

In 1905, the Rev. Lawrence Skey took a yearlong sabbatical on a quest to find an architectural style suitable for a new larger St. Anne's Church.  He wanted the church to have a significant presence for the working class families whose simple homes now surrounded the small original neo-gothic church.  Skey visited Istanbul where the Hagia Sophia church made a great impression on him - its Byzantine structure represented an era in which Christianity had not hardened into the hostile denominations of his day.  Upon returning to Toronto, Skey conducted an architectural competition and awarded the contract for the construction of the new church to a young Toronto architect, William Ford Howland (1874-1948).  Howland designed the new church in the style known as Byzantine Revival, with a dome and a spacious interior in which everyone would be able to see and hear.  After the new church was completed, the old church was demolished and replaced by the parish hall in 1912.

History of the Arts at St. Anne's: Murals by the Group of Seven

In the early 1920s, the Rev. Lawrence Skey worked through his connections at Toronto's Arts & Letters Club to find suitable decoration for the church interior. In 1923, he commissioned his friend J.E.H. MacDonald to lead the project.  MacDonald enlisted fellow students at the Ontario College of Art for a total of ten artists.  Three of the ten, MacDonald, Frederick Varley and Franklin Carmichael went on to become members of the Group of Seven, Canada’s iconic movement of impressionist landscape art. MacDonald created small mock-up designs for full-scale murals of the life of Christ.  Each artist painted on canvas in their own studio, and the completed murals were then installed in the church. While MacDonald’s design required them to work from a common palette, forms and backgrounds, the artists expressed their individuality in the completed paintings.  The St. Anne's murals are the only known religious works of the Group of Seven.