The impact of the Second World War on Ukraine and its people was great. Many people found themselves displaced, in poverty and looking for protection outside their homeland. It was shortly after WWII that the second large emigration of Ukrainians to Canada began. This influx of people led to the rapid growth of Ukrainian cultural and church institutions.
After spending years looking for land to purchase for the construction of a new church, the parishioners of what was them know as the Parish of Our Lady of Perpetual Help finally found a plot of land in the area of Bloor and Ossington.
At first, the Byzantine Catholic Slovaks intended to build a church on the same plot of land but their foundation collapsed. It was discovered that the immediate ground was very soft and hard ground was found much further down. Therefore, the architects and builders determined that the church had to be built on iron pillars that went almost 50 feet deep into the ground. By 1962, construction of the church building began and the parish was renamed to Protection of the Mother of God Ukrainian Catholic Church.
In 1964, construction was complete and the next step was the interior decoration of the church. The church was built in a Cossack Baroque style with long balconies that stretch from the choir to the iconostas. Also, there are 4 small chapels found in alcoves in the balcony. Pews were installed; yellow marble was brought in from Italy and installed along the walls so that those who leaned on the walls would not damage the walls or mark them.
Eventually, a wooden iconostas was carved and installed by artist, Mr. Barak. Iconographer Sviatoslav Hordynsky wrote the icons for the iconostas and, having been called to Rome by Patriarch Josyf Slipyj to do the interior decoration of St. Sophia’s, he was not able to finish the rest of the church. The altar area was painted by Ivan Belskyj who had painted numerous Latin Rite churches in Venezuela and having met Bishop Isidore (Borecky), the Eparch of Toronto, he was invited to come to Canada to do the iconography for St. Josaphat’s Cathedral and the altar area of our church.
Lacking funds, further icnography was postponed until 1971 when renowned iconographer Heiko Schlieper took on the task of completing the iconography inside the church. However, he too was not able to complete the iconography as at the end of his contract, he left for Edmonton to write the icons for St. George the Great Martyr Parish.
Ten years later, after collecting the necessary funds, it was decided to finally complete the iconography. A group of artists came from Ukraine, led by Oleh Valenyuk, to complete the interior iconography, which took the next two years. Before this, however, it was necessary to fix the leaks, which had were found in the domes. Having completed the outside repairs and restoring of the domes, the final phase of iconography began.
The final need for the parish was a residence next to the church. With the blessing of Kyr Stephen & the continued collection of necessary funds, the residence was built and completed in 2007.
In its almost 50 years of existence, the parish has had numerous active organizations including the Brotherhood of Ukrainian Catholics, the UCWLC, a parish choir along with another choir, “Blahovist” and for over 30 years, its own parish Credit Union. This parish has had 4 pastors in its existence and numerous priests that have diligently and faithfully served the parish.
30 Leeds Street
Toronto, Ontario, M6G 3R8
Sunday Divine Liturgy:
8:00 am – Ukrainian
9:30 am – Ukrainian
11:30 am – Ukrainian
7:00 pm – Ukrainian