As Toronto grew westward in 1910, the Reverend Gilbart Agar, pastor of Howard Park Methodist Church advised the Methodist Social Union to ‘plant’ a church in the Bloor/Windermere area.
Early in 1912 the Social Union opened a tent church on the sand hills in the community which later became the village of Swansea. The people of the area responded enthusiastically and a more permanent accommodation became necessary. Howard Park financed the purchase of a lot on the corner of Windermere and Mayfield Avenues. A portable church was brought in and erected almost overnight.
In early March 1914, a terrific windstorm swept the community while the evening service was in progress. The building outlasted the service but collapsed around 1:00am. Parts of the portable church were found several blocks away and hymn books were discovered in the snow as far south as the Swansea Public School. Within a week the congregation met and decided to move and build a more permanent structure.
The congregation had little money but plenty of faith and tenacity. A wooden structure was built at the cost of $1,413.00. The brick structure housing our Sanctuary and Assembly Room was opened and dedicated in 1926, a year following church union when Windermere Methodist Church became part of the newly formed United Church of Canada.
The Christian Education Wing including Sunday School Rooms, a Gymnasium, Church Offices, and a Parlour was completed in 1957. During the 40’s and 50’s there were three worship services with a full orchestra, and people lining up an hour before service time for a seat.
With the changing demographics beginning in the 1980’s, an ageing building and uncertain finances Windermere has faced many challenges in 98 years. The church manse was sold in 2005, and our ministry staff was reduced to part-time. However, with the growth in the congregation and Sunday school, a decision was made in 2011 to increase the ministry hours back to full-time and to add a second, part-time minister.
Through the years, Windermere has faithfully remained a place committed to following Christ and providing spiritual care to its members and the surrounding community. We honour our past, celebrate our present, and with the same faith and tenacity of our forbearers continue in the 21st century with God's help. We do so with confidence, diligence and wisdom. Thanks be to God!