Historic church burned down, not deemed a crime yet
Besides the beautiful architecture of the church itself, St. Anne’s Anglican Church was also home to many Group of Seven artworks, representing some of Canada’s greatest contributions to both landscape and impressionist art.

TCS Wire

June 10, 2024

St. Anne’s Anglican Church in Toronto was burned down over the weekend, destroying priceless Group of Seven artwork in the process.

Historic church burned down, not deemed a crime yet

Toronto Fire arrived at the scene of the fire in the early hours of Sunday, just before 8 am, putting out the fire and then staying overnight to continue to assess the damage and check beneath the rubble.

Besides the beautiful architecture of the church itself, it was also home to many Group of Seven artworks, representing some of Canada’s greatest contributions to both landscape and impressionist art.

Tragically, many of these works have now been lost.

“The artwork was priceless. It was murals, beautiful murals,” said Rev. Don Beyers. “They were stunning.

“This was the only church that featured artwork by members of the Group of Seven. And I’m sorry to say that’s been lost, from what I can see.”

He added, “I’m crushed; I feel for my people. You can’t imagine what this is like for a church community to come on Sunday morning to find that everything you worked so hard for and done so much for [is] gone in the matter of an hour.”

While police and Toronto Fire are continuing to investigate the site, Toronto Fire stated that, so far, “The fire has not been deemed criminal in nature”.

However, Rev. Beyers called the incident happening randomly “a real mystery”.

“Nobody was here, the church was locked, secure, all the lights were off,” Beyers said, who is usually the first person to arrive in the morning. “It’s a real mystery to us how this even happened.”

Canada’s recent history of church arson

Following the false claim of mass Indigenous graves, Canada became host to a series of church burnings and arson, with at least 83 being vandalized or otherwise destroyed between 2021 and 2023—a trend that has continued into 2024, bringing the number up to over 100.

While most of the attacks have been carried out in BC and Alberta, the problem has transcended the provincial and become a national issue that gets little attention from mainstream outlets.

However, the loss of St. Anne’s Anglican Church and the artwork it housed is truly an unignorable travesty, with many Canadians taking to social media to voice their concerns about the devastating church burning trend in Canada.

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