Walmer Road Baptist Church/The Walmer Centre
188 Lowther Avenue, Toronto, ON, M5R 1E8
A church experiences a new lease on life as a centre for spiritual performing arts.
|Performing Arts Venue |||Church & Temple|
|Getting There |||Spadina station|
|Cross Street |||Bloor and Spadina|
Profile Last Updated: December 22, 2008
The potent combination of arts and faith comes alive at the Walmer Road Baptist Church, home to the Walmer Centre performing arts space, which prides its unique role in the downtown Annex neighbourhood. The building dates back to 1899 and served as a popular church for years, until the population diversified in the 1960s. With that transition, the Walmer Centre shifted its focus to community outreach through creative expression. The ongoing events include Christian Artists Faith Expressions (CAFÉ) where artists share their work and discuss their faith. The Nightwatch events incorporate electronic music, DJs and dancing with scripture-based prayer. Sunday morning worship incorporates dance, multimedia, drama, music, and silence, along with interactive sermons.
The Walmer Centre has developed multiple functions to serve the needs of the surrounding community, which includes the University of Toronto campus and numerous organizations and schools amidst its residential area. A food bank is provided on the premises, and a weekly gathering spot caters to people seeking light, warmth and companionship along with a hot meal and activities. Some of that food is grown in the centre’s own garden, fostering the spirit of volunteerism.
Speech and Song
Conversation is also a large part of what makes the Walmer Centre tick. The weekly Wednesday night discussions include video and discussion at the Alpha program, along with the Timothy Series, which explores how the Bible relates to downtown Toronto life. Local theatre companies frequently book the space for multiple night runs and chamber music group Sinfonia Toronto uses the Walmer Centre as a venue for the fun and family-oriented Mozart in Jeans concert series.