St. Luke’s, now called St. Volodymr’s, is located at 15 Church Lane in Thornhill. The church is one of the oldest in the Archdiocese of Toronto, having been built in the mid-1840s, contemporary with St. Michael’s Cathedral in Toronto. These are the only two church buildings to remain from that period, which reflects the growing population in Toronto and York Region of Irish immigrants. St. Luke’s is a simple yet beautiful frame structure, built by Thornhill carpenter John Edey in 1847. Originally measuring only forty-eight feet long and thirty feet wide, the church was soon expanded by an additional thirty seven feet only 6 years later, to accommodate the growing parish. It became parish headquarters in 1858, with mission churches including St. Mary’s Immaculate in Richmond Hill and St. Patrick’s in Markham.
Although the exterior of St. Luke’s has not changed significantly since the 1850s, the interior has undergone a great deal of renovation over the years. Oil lamps gave way to electric ones, and parishioners no longer gather around a wood stove at the back of the church as they did in the 1800s.
In 1972, the congregation of St. Luke’s moved to a larger church on Green Lane in Thornhill. The historic building was purchased by the Ukrainian Catholics and re-named St. Volodymyr’s. A shrine commemorating the centennial of Ukrainian settlement in Canada was erected in 1991 to the south of the church itself.
St. Volodymyr parish in the suburb of Thornhill took over the unused Roman Catholic church of St. Luke along with adjoining cemetery, and began providing a home to almost 200 parishioners who had moved away from the downtown parish of St. Basil. Father Volodymyr Shewchuk began services in 1972. When a priest wasn’t living on site, the priests from the monastery next to St. Basil’s College would provide pastoral services.
15 Church Lane
Thornhill, Ontario, L3T 2G4
Sunday Divine Liturgy:
8:30 am – English
10:00 am – Ukrainian