Spencer R. Higgins, Architect Incorporated

St. Simon-the-Apostle
Anglican Church
525 Bloor Street East, Toronto  

Our firm was engaged by the parish in 1999 to prepare an architectural design study to address the issues of the accessibility of the buildings, the visibility of the church from Bloor Street, improvements to the administration and service facilities for the parish, and improvements to St. Simon's shelter for the homeless located in the lower parish hall.

We subsequently designed a fully-accessible Bloor Street north-side entrance facility with portico, tower and courtyard garden all set between the half-timbered Elizabethan-style 1888 church (designed by Strickland and Symonds), the 1907 parish hall (designed by architect Eden Smith) and the modern 1952 chapel and vestry.

The design-parti consisted of a new multi-purpose narthex linking the historic church and parish hall, a new Bloor Street entrance portico that links the internal levels and provides access to a new elevator connecting the church-proper, and the basement service and community facility levels. Redundant architectural elements such as stained glass, windows and carved stonework from the original buildings were salvaged and re-used in the new facility.

The design intends to blend seamlessly the arts-and-crafts church and parish hall with a high-quality traditionally constructed addition in a manner that provides amenities such as mechanical space, toilets, cloakroom and storage facilities that are required for a busy, multi-use community facility.

The creation of an private meditation garden and the inclusion of a dramatic steeple marking the new entrance, augments the existing spacious and commodious church facilities in a respectful and funtionally-appropriate manner. The construction cost of the new facilities was $2.7 million.

The facility is used-to-capacity seven-days-a-week by members of both the parish and surrounding community, providing service for the homeless, English as-a-second-language, child day-care and numerous other community services in addition to its continuation (since 1883) as a thriving inner-city parish with a strong choral music tradition.


St. Simon-the-Apostle Church, Toronto
New Tower and Main Entrance - 2003 (Photo:SHA)
Link to St. Simon-the-Apostle