I did a little chapel hopping yesterday. Yes, yes, you read correctly: I said ‘chapel’. And yes, you’re right, I don’t have a life. But hey, I had some time to kill and no one’s making you read this.
What’s that you say? You’re going to hang around for a bit? Well, that’s awful nice of you. I should warn you though, I’ve found that my idea of ‘interesting’ – for reasons still a mystery to me – often sounds a lot like ‘boring’ in the ears of some. But what do they know, right? I guess we should get started then. Actually, just a sec… I’m afraid you’ll have to endure a bit of a history lesson be fore we get going.
I’m not sure how many people know this, but the geographical area that is now the University of Toronto was actually once many separate universities, with Victoria, Trinity and McMaster – yes, McMaster – being a few. Then as the city of Toronto grew (Unfortunately, I don’t know the exact date. I’ll find it and place it in this space when I do.) they were amalgamated into the University of Toronto.
For all of you who are thinking, “But McMaster isn’t in Toronto anymore.” I have a little more to say. If that thought didn’t even come to mind, please feel free to skip this paragraph. And the next. And the one after that one too.
McMaster, being the forward thinking, subversive place that it is, did not wish to become a part of UofT. So, they moved to Hamilton. And that’s the end of it. My little story about McMaster, I mean; the school seams to be doing well enough. Sorry if you were expecting a better story.
But if any of you McMaster alum are ever around Bloor and Avenue, do take a stroll just west of the ROM and have a look at the (newly renovated and absolutely beautiful) Royal Conservatory of Music. That’s where your alma mater once resided.
Unfortunately, when the amalgamation was complete, the University was made up of a lot of little universities. So the wise and benevelont fathers of the institution decided on a college system: each former university became a college whereby to divvy up the whole and make it more manageable. This leaves every college in UofT – well, at least the older ones – with a chapel or two of its own. And now we can begin our tour.
The first chapel I visited was in Victoria University, located in the Emmanuel College building. (It’s actually just opposite the ROM, on the other side of avenue road, for all those who may be interested.) I actually found this chapel near the end of last school year. I was walking to the subway after a lecture and heard singing coming out of the Emmanuel College building. Curious, I went in, made my way to the top floor and found a choir practising in what turned out to be the chapel.
The EC chapel is not too large, and a little on the plain side. Nevertheless, as soon as I entered, I felt that sense of calm and quietness that seems to always be associated with the word ‘chapel’ But then, perhaps that is why I felt it. If you do ever make it there, be sure to take a look at the candelabras. The whole building dates back over a hundred years and has such vestiges throughout. Some other time, perhaps, I’ll take the time to write a bit on the building itself. But we’re on a tight schedule.
When I entered the chapel yesterday, I think I just missed a communion service. There was a quarter-filled bottle of Welch’s on a table near the entrance. There was also another bottle. It was ‘official’ passover wine, imported from Israel. And it was around 15%, I think. Which begs the question, “If the people of G-d can, why can’t we?”
The second chapel I visited was that of Trinity University, located about halfway between St. George and Queen’s Park Crescent on the north side of Harbourd.
This was, by far, the most magnificent of all the chapels I visited. The whole building is brightly lit, with an arched ceiling that’s, I’d say, about a hundred and fifty feet tall. I was actually a little stunned when I walked in as I was not expecting anything so grand after plodding though the halls of the College. Once again, I found the chapel to be completely silent and calm.
If you do make it to this chapel, be sure to make your way through to the front of the nave and look back. You’ll see a painting, framed by the entrance, called “Mediterranean Christ” by an artist whose name I’ve forgotten. His initials are J.S.S. – Juan Sala Something. The image is beautiful, but it’s a little hard to appreciate from up close.
And next… Well, actually, I’m going to stop here for now. I have to go out. Tune in next post for Wycliff College, Knox College and what happened while I was trying to find the chapel in University College.
Gosh, I love this song.
Words by Eleanor Farjeon
Morning has broken like the first morning
Blackbird has spoken like the first bird
Praise for the singing, praise for the morning
Praise for them springing fresh from the Word
Sweet the rain’s new fall, sunlit from heaven
Like the first dewfall on the first grass
Praise for the sweetness of the wet garden
Sprung in completeness where His feet pass
Mine is the sunlight, mine is the morning
Born of the one Light Eden saw play
Praise with elation, praise every morning
God’s recreation of the new day
Hope you have a good weekend.
Oh yes, before I forget: anyone interested in helping with a little proofreading? I’m planning to submit some pieces of writing for a particular course that requires a portfolio of work. Only a couple of pieces, actually.
Of course, I think I’ve asked for such help before and no one replied. And, I’m beginning to feel more certain that no one even gets this far… Oh well.