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The original Perth Avenue Methodist Church, Perth Ave., north west corner Ernest Ave., Toronto, c. 1890s. Image: Toronto Public Library

Perth Avenue Methodist Church, built 1913, now Arch Lofts, Toronto, April 5, 2021

St. Josaphat Catholic Cathedral, built 1965, Franklin Avenue, Junction Triangle, Toronto, April 5, 2021

Opening day of the a senior baseball tournament on the Perth Avenue playground, Junction Triangle, Toronto, Aug 28, 1915. Image: City of Toronto Archives

  • Ukrainian immigration

    As the community in the Junction Triangle began to grow, immigration to the neighbourhood became more prevalent. Newcomers from the Ukraine became one of the most prominent communities to settle in the Junction Triangle. Ukrainians began to arrive in Canada in the 1890s and, by the 1910s, the Ukrainian population in Canada was substantial. This period, from the 1890s to 1914, is considered the first wave of Ukrainian immigration to Canada and it is estimated that 150,000 Ukrainian immigrants arrived during this time.

    The Junction Triangle proved to be a great place for immigrants to settle; many factories opened in the area at the end of the nineteenth and early-twentieth centuries. With these factories came jobs. By 1971, the Ukrainian population in Toronto had reached 60,750. The Ukrainian presence in the Junction Triangle was perhaps best solidified with the building of the St. Josaphat Ukrainian Catholic Cathedral.

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  • St. Josaphat Ukrainian Catholic Cathedral

    As a result of the growing Ukrainian population, the Junction Triangle became home to Toronto’s first Ukrainian religious institution: the St. Josaphat Ukrainian Catholic Cathedral. Before the church was built, congregation members lacked a space to gather and held divine liturgies at the homes of their neighbours. In 1912, the Ukrainian community in the Junction Triangle banded together and secured a priest and the deed to the land where a Catholic cathedral could be built. Construction began immediately. By 1913, the main modernist-style structure of St. Josaphat Ukrainian Catholic Cathedral was complete. The interior work took an additional 27 years and was funded mainly through donations from parishioners. Despite an incomplete interior, services took place at the new church site throughout construction.

    The cathedral also eventually became home to a choir, a school, and other community groups. Unfortunately, the original cathedral burnt down in 1964, but was quickly rebuilt and reopened in 1965. The building of a Ukrainian Catholic cathedral in the Junction Triangle fostered the creation of other Ukrainian organizations, such as the Toronto West Branch of the Ukrainian National Federation, founded nearby on Dupont Street. This building featured a library, space for performance groups, and even a hunting-fishing club.

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  • Sports in the Triangle

    Along with churches, many community-led organizations were established throughout the twentieth century. With more people settling in the Junction Triangle, events such as sporting tournaments became popular spectacles. In the adjoining West Junction neighbourhood, lacrosse was a popular sport. The Junction Shamrocks Junior lacrosse team secured the winning title in the Junior Canadian Lacrosse tournament of 1903, one year after they were formed, and won another championship in the Ontario Lacrosse Association tournament of 1907.

    Baseball was also very popular, and frequently ushered in many spectators to Perth Avenue Playground, now Perth Square Park, in the Junction Triangle. There is no shortage archival images showing large crowds gathered around the baseball diamond that was once located in the park just south of Dupont Street. Sports continue to be an important part of the community today. In addition to lacrosse and baseball, soccer has become a popular pastime in the Junction Triangle. Amidst the growth of the Portuguese population of the area in the 1970s and 80s, the Sporting Clube Portugues De Toronto was formed. Since 1981 the club has hosted soccer camps and sporting events throughout city, exemplifying the continued enthusiasm for sports in the neighbourhood.

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  • Sources

    Andrew Gregorovich, “The Ukrainian Community in Toronto from World War One to 1971,” from Polyphony, Summer 1984, pp. 123-126.

    K. Taylor, “Perth Avenue,” One Gal’s Toronto, October 14, 2017.

    “Immigration History: Ethno-Cultural Groups – Ukrainian,” Library and Archives Canada, March 6, 2020.

    Taras Shevenko Museum, “Community Stories: First Wave of Ukrainian Immigration to Canada 1891-1914,” Virtual Museum of Canada, Copyright 2021.

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