The Many Rooms of this House: Diversity in Toronto's Places of Worship Since 1840

By Roberto Perin

© 2017

Places of worship are the true building blocks of communities where people of various genders, age, and class interact with each other on a regular basis. These places are also rallying points for immigrants, helping them make the transition to a new, and often hostile environment.

The Many Rooms of this House is a story about the rise and decline of religion in Toronto over the past 160 years. Unlike other studies that concentrate on specific denominations, or ecclesiastical politics, Roberto Perin’s ecumenical approach focuses on the physical places of worship and the local clergy and congregants that gather there. Perin’s timely and nuanced analysis reveals how the growing wealth of the city stimulated congregations to compete with one another over the size, style, materials, and decoration of their places of worship. However, the rise of individualism has negatively affected these same congregations leading to multiple church closings, communal breakdown, and redevelopments. Perin’s fascinating work is a lens to understanding how this once overwhelmingly Protestant city became a symbol of diversity.

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Product Details

  • Division: Scholarly Publishing
  • World Rights
  • Page Count: 440 pages
  • Dimensions: 6.0in x 1.1in x 8.9in
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Quick Overview

The Many Rooms of this House is a story about the rise and decline of religion in Toronto over the past 160 years.

The Many Rooms of this House: Diversity in Toronto's Places of Worship Since 1840

By Roberto Perin

© 2017

Places of worship are the true building blocks of communities where people of various genders, age, and class interact with each other on a regular basis. These places are also rallying points for immigrants, helping them make the transition to a new, and often hostile environment.

The Many Rooms of this House is a story about the rise and decline of religion in Toronto over the past 160 years. Unlike other studies that concentrate on specific denominations, or ecclesiastical politics, Roberto Perin’s ecumenical approach focuses on the physical places of worship and the local clergy and congregants that gather there. Perin’s timely and nuanced analysis reveals how the growing wealth of the city stimulated congregations to compete with one another over the size, style, materials, and decoration of their places of worship. However, the rise of individualism has negatively affected these same congregations leading to multiple church closings, communal breakdown, and redevelopments. Perin’s fascinating work is a lens to understanding how this once overwhelmingly Protestant city became a symbol of diversity.

Continue Reading Read Less

Product Details

  • Division: Scholarly Publishing
  • World Rights
  • Page Count: 440 pages
  • Dimensions: 6.0in x 1.1in x 8.9in
  • Reviews

    ‘Historians and social scientists interested in the evolution of Canadian society, cities, urban geography, religious diversity, and multiculturalism will gain much from reading this important, well-written, and meticulously researched book.’


    David Seljack
    Canadian Historical Review vol 99:01:2018

    "In The Many Rooms of This House, Roberto Perin synthesizes some of the best available scholarship on Toronto with new archival research, to produce one of the most comprehensive narratives on religious life and change in Canada's largest city. Perin's excellent research tracks the growth of Catholic, Jewish, and other religious groups, who through immigration added to the spiritual tapestry of Toronto. Most important, the author does not shy away from exploring the decline and eventual decimation of Protestant Christianity in the city, as congregations fled to the suburbs, as more Catholics and non-Christians sojourned and settled in Toronto, and as organized religion itself faced the more general social forces of capitalism, consumerism, secularization, and privatization in the late-twentieth-century-Canada. This book will be savored by historians of religion, immigration, and architecture, and Torontonians, themselves, will be fascinated by the ongoing change in the architectural and social landscape of their city."


    Mark McGowan, Professor of History, University of Toronto

    "Roberto Perin uses a fine-grained sieve to sift out what religious communities made homes where, and how they responded to changes in their own local communities and Canadian culture at large. The Many Rooms of This House is an important and very revealing study of the cultural landscape of Toronto over the course of 170 years, seen through the eyes of its religious communities."


    Gary Miedema, Project Manager, Museums and Heritage Services, City of Toronto
  • Author Information

    Roberto Perin is a professor in the Department of History at Glendon College, York University.

  • Table of contents

    Tables
    List of Illustrations
    Introduction

    Chapter 1: Consolidating Protestantism

    Chapter 2: An Era of Exuberance, 1880-1920

    Chapter 3: Fulsome Fellowship, 1880-1920

    Chapter 4: Ecclesiastical Musical Chairs, 1920-1960

    Chapter 5: The Empire of Full-Orbed Christianity, 1920-1960

    Chapter 6: To Every Thing Turn! Turn! Turn! There is a Season, 1960-2000

    Chapter 7: Fellowship in the Time of the Shopping Centre

    Conclusion: Ex Uno Plures?

    Appendix: West End Places of Worship 1840-2000

    Bibliography

    Index