Keeping You updated on
Asbury and West United Church Renovations
The New Sanctuary
The console is sitting on a rolling plinth in a pit and the floor behind the console can be lifted creating a channel, allowing the console to be rolled to the back of the chancel, out-of-the-way to allow full use of the platform.
This magnificent organ is dedicated to the memory of William R. Shewalter, who served as Minister of Music from 1963 to 1995. For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. John 3:16
The Upper Room
All our facilities are available for community use. Call 416-783-6503 or write to firstname.lastname@example.org
Chapter 9, January 8, 2014
Our blog has been idle for some time, but now we are back. And we are looking forward to final completion of our building in the spring.
We found a problem in the basement, with the original floors. There were abrupt changes in height between levels where old rooms were demolished. This added to cost as the contractor must make the floors level for installation of flooring. Once that is done, the daycare will be complete, needing only plumbing fixtures installed.
Our two lifts, the main elevator at the front entrance and the wheelchair lift from the garage, were well underway before the Christmas holiday, and will be completed in January.
The Asbury and West United Church congregation was bursting with new members as the baby boom got truly under way in the early fifties. The congregation raised funds to build another, larger sanctuary. In 1958, the cornerstone was laid for the largest building yet. This new building was placed at the end of the 1951 administrative wing, and held a sanctuary that would seat 800, with a balcony for the overflow. There was large meeting room with Sunday School classrooms in the basement, a parlour on the main floor and a second meeting room on the second floor. The old sanctuary became an all purpose room. The church now had room for a large congregation on Sunday, and mid week activities for children, youth and adults.
Our renovation is running behind schedule by about three months. The work was slowed by the bad winter, and then the interior steel work was very slow. The cumulative effect of these problems has put off completion until the late fall. Nevertheless, we continue.
Now the good news:
Outside, the new front steps are going in; the new ramp to the south doors is finished, and the brick to clad the new concrete structures has arrived. Now it is time to place our new time capsule, which will go behind the bricks. Inside, wiring and plumbing continue, walls are going up and ductwork in the basement is almost complete. Once the roof is again closed in, the drywall will be installed for the rooms at the east end of the main floor.
And the really good news: Toronto Heritage Preservation Services have granted us funds to assist in restoring our stained glass windows. The grant will pay for 50% of the cost.
History Lesson #8
After the 1947 amalgamation of the Asbury and West congregations, the third building project began. In 1951, the 1899 church was raised, moved back from Bathurst Street and placed on a new basement. A narthex (foyer) and entrance were constructed at the front of the building. A flight of steps were built inside the entrance to give access to the sanctuary, which was now much higher than before. An administrative wing with three offices was constructed parallel to Bathurst Street.
Chapter 7: June 20, 2013
- with apologies to our interested friends for the delay. We have been busy!
A great deal has been accomplished in the last 6 weeks. The wall of the sunken patio for the daycare is built and the new entrance addition is ready for topping off. Once the top of the new addition is on, then work will begin on the mechanical equipment that will sit on its roof
History Lesson #6.
The congregation of Asbury and West raised funds and worked to build a new brick church to replace the one that burned down, completing it in 1899. This was the second building in a pattern that would be established: the congregation would build and rebuild every 50 years or so, to suit the needs of the time
Interior steel work and exterior underpinning are now essentially complete. Kembic Construction is calling for complete wiring diagrams, as the gypsum board arrives and the building of walls begins in earnest. The plans for wiring have proved to be complex, due to the different requirements. We have: lighting, power, sound, organ speakers, visual projection, security, phone and data systems, which all require their own wiring plans.
The operators of Forest Hill Montessori, our new daycare, have finalized their plans and work is progressing on the lower level. The goal is to be ready for September opening.
Outside, the elevator tower continues to rise. The next big project here is to build the entrance structure between the elevator and the building. That structure will also be a part of the support for the new upper floor of the church.
History lesson #5
When the Methodist congregation first moved onto the site at 3180 Bathurst Street, they decided to name their church in honour of Francis Asbury, one of the first two Methodist bishops in North America. A brief account of Francis Asbury’s life may be found in Wikipedia.
Asbury United Church prospered in their wooden building until 1899. That year, a fire destroyed the building. It was time to build again.
Chapter 4: Moving Along
The construction crew took a well-deserved two week break over the Christmas period, and have now been hard at work since January seventh. The elevator foundation is growing, and the new windows for the daycare are being installed. We count on the double glazing to help with the heating costs! Meanwhile, inside the building the highly technical work of reinforcing the floor goes ahead, as the contractor prepares to build two giant supporting columns for the new second floor. Co-ordination of audio-visual and church organ systems will be finalized, so that plans for wiring conduits can be completed.
History lesson #4
The congregation now worshipping at 3180 Bathurst Street, began as a Methodist house church in 1812. The specific address – is there were addresses at that time – is not known. As the congregation grew, they moved to the local school, located near what is now known as the Bathurst and Lawrence intersection. Then, in 1845, on a gift of land from the Henry Mulholland Family, the first church was built at what is now known as 3180 Bathurst Street.
Chapter 3: More Giant Rabbit Burrows December 7,2012
The digging continues! To the casual observer, the shifting of dirt around must seem like a children’s sand pit on a giant scale. But a close look will show that much has happened. Cutting of the walls to enlarge the lower windows has been completed, and concrete wells poured where the windows are below ground level. City contractors are digging their own holes, in order to install new water and sewer connections. Out of sight behind the building, the builders have completed the walls for a new furnace and equipment room, and the tunnel to the underground parking is complete! The latest completed task was laying the pipes for new plumbing in the planned daycare on the lower level. Next up: laying the foundation for the new church tower and elevator.
History lesson #3
The congregation voted to unlock the value of the land by selling a portion of the property, and using the proceeds to build a modern, “green” building that would include a new child care facility, and also be useful to the community in other ways. We set out to explore the possibilities. In this, we were aided greatly by the advice of Bruce Hemphill of Don Valley Presbytery. There were several interested groups to begin with, including a long term care facility, two life lease retirement condominium builders, and an organization that builds affordable condominiums. After considering the possibilities, the congregation decided that affordable family housing would best meet the needs that we saw in our community. The trustees of the church agreed with Options for Homes to sell them approximately 75% of our lot, keeping the front corner of the property to construct a new church. For more information about Options for Homes, try their website www.optionsforhomes.ca
Chapter 2: Digging to China October 10, 2012
The building site looks today, as if giant rabbits have been burrowing. A lot of the underpinning of the foundation is being completed at spots where new structures will need some reinforcing. This process requires digging down to expose the areas to be reinforced. There are holes everywhere, and a great hill of earth on the south lawn.
Inside the lower level are more holes, including a deep excavation for the entrance to the underground parking. On the main level, and upstairs in the former balcony, walls are coming down to reveal the bones of the building. Soon, new walls will go up as our architects’ plans are made real.
History Lesson #2
Through 2004, the Long Range Planning Committee looked at possible ways to re-energize our ministry in the Bathurst and Lawrence neighborhood. Examination of the finances showed that we were falling deeper into the red. We had no funds available to modernize our building, which no longer met our needs. However, thanks to gifts of land from the Mulholland Family over the years 1845 to 1939, we had one rich resource. The church property totaled 1.75 acres. The Planning Committee decided to recommend unlocking the value of the land.
Chapter 1: The End of the Beginning September 12, 2012
or in Pioneering in North York: a History of the Borough by Patricia Hart, 1968, available at the Toronto Public Library.