Toronto's Historical Plaques
Discover Toronto's history as told through its plaques
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African Methodist Episcopal Church
Photos and transcription by contributor Wayne Adam - Posted December 2016
Photo Source - the Grant AME Church
On the east side of Soho Street, a block and a half north of Queen Street West, can be found this 2016 Heritage Toronto plaque. Here's waht it says:
In 1816, Reverend Richard Allen, a former slave, founded the African Methodist Episcopal (AME) Church in response to discrimination and exclusion experienced by Black churchgoers in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. AME Church services began in Toronto in the 1830s, and the church moved frequently throughout the 19th century before settling here at 23 Soho Street in 1929.
In addition to religious services, the AME Church provided space and support for Toronto's Black community, which was facing racial prejudice. As a centre of Black spiritual and social life, the church promoted social welfare, cultural development, and political engagement. It also cared for the sick and taught literacy skills. Throughout the 19th and 20th centuries, the congregation participated in social justice campaigns (including the Underground Railroad and the abolitionist movement) and advocated for fair hiring and housing policies in Toronto.
In 1992, the congregation moved to 2029 Gerrard Street East. The church building at 23 Soho Street was demolished in 2001.
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