Mapping St. Mark’s Parish: Coptic Places of Worship in Toronto

Welcome to the Coptic Canadian History Project’s inaugural digital exhibit, an interactive map following the movements of the earliest Coptic Christian immigrants as they navigated Toronto’s places of worship. We are delighted to launch this exhibit during Myseum of Toronto’s third annual Intersections Festival. Documenting social and cultural exchange, the map is organized around the theme of “ecumenism” – interactions and exchanges between devotional persons in a religious setting. Through Google fusion mapping, we offer you a chance to see Toronto in the 1960s and 1970s through the eyes of members of St. Mark’s Coptic parish, the first such parish in North America.

The Coptic Canadian History Project extends a special thank you to St. Mildred’s-Lightbourn School, the Anglican Archives of Toronto, Father Marcos A. Marcos, and St. Mark’s Coptic Museum for providing archival photographs that appear in this exhibit. In addition, select photographs were located through the Toronto Reference Library’s open access digital collections. Please enjoy the tour and comment on your experience below.

Photo Credits:

Church of the Messiah

  1. Church of the Messiah exterior, August 26, 1956, Virtual Reference Library, Toronto Public Library.
  2. Church of the Messiah interior, December, 1964, St. Mark’s Coptic Museum, Toronto.

St. Mildred’s College

  1. St. Mildred’s College exterior, 1961, St. Mildred’s-Lightbourn School, Oakville.
  2. St. Mildred’s College chapel, 196?, St. Mildred’s-Lightbourn School, Oakville.
  3. St. Mildred’s College veiled students praying, 196?, St. Mildred’s-Lightbourn School, Oakville.

Holy Trinity, Trinity Square

  1. Holy Trinity Church exterior, 1953, Virtual Reference Library, Toronto Public Library.
  2. Jeanne Wayling, “The Swingingest Church in Town: Hippies in the nave, Copts in the Attic, Beautiful People in the Pews. (P.S. They’re Anglicans.),” The Observer, June 1969: 18-20, Toronto Anglican Diocesan Archives, Holy Trinity, Trinity Square parish history file.
  3. Coptic youth on the steps of Holy Trinity church, 1968, St. Mark’s Coptic Museum, Toronto.

St. Matthias’ Trinity Bellwoods

  1. Left to right: Fr. Marcos, Rev. Roberts, Dr. Nasr Shenouda, Mr. J.A. Whittaker, and Rev. Palmer. Photo by Micklethwaite for The Anglican, September 1969, Toronto Anglican Diocesan Archives, St. Matthias’ Bellwoods parish history file.
  2. Rev. Palmer and his parishioners share a meal with Coptic parish in St. Matthias’ basement, 197?, private collection of Fr. Marcos A. Marcos, Toronto.
  3. St. Matthias’ church interior, 1969, private collection of Fr. Marcos A. Marcos, Toronto.

Prospect Park United Church

  1. Prospect Park United Church wedding officiated by Fr. Marcos, 1971, St. Mark’s Coptic Museum, Toronto.
  2. Ashraf Matta and Fred Mishriki, two newly ordained deacons outside Prospect Park United Church, 197?, St. Mark’s Coptic Museum, Toronto.
  3. Archbishop Antonius and Bishop Samuel with Fr. Marcos kneeling in the foreground during mass at Prospect Park United Church, 1971, private collection of Fr. Marcos A. Marcos, Toronto.

St. Mark’s Coptic Orthodox Church

  1. Pope Shenouda III and Fr. Marcos during consecration ceremony for corner stone of St. Mark’s Coptic Orthodox Church, April 1977, St. Mark’s Coptic Museum, Toronto.
  2. St. Mark’s Coptic Orthodox Church under construction in Agincourt, Scarborough, winter 1977, private collection of Fr. Marcos A. Marcos, Toronto.
  3. St. Mark’s Coptic Orthodox Church, 1980, private collection of Fr. Marcos A. Marcos, Toronto.

Map curated and designed by Michael Akladios, founder and project manager of the Coptic Canadian History Project (CCHP). Michael is completing his PhD at York University on the immigrant experience of diverse Coptic communities in post-Second World War Toronto, Montreal, and New York. Over the course of his PhD Michael has become particularly interested in questions around the influence of the Coptic renaissance on emigre populations and the politicization of collective memory.

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