Location: Toronto, ON
Holy Trinity Church opened in 1847, thank to the generosity of an anonymous donor, who was later revealed to be Mary Lambert Swale of Settle, England. She had stipulated that all pews should be open to all worshipers, making it a church for the people. During the depression era of the 1930’s, the church became known as the Social Gospel and started a Christmas Pageant.
James Fisk, rector from 1962 to 1972, made a large impact on the church by defending successfully to overcome developers who were trying to tear down the church for a new building. The church building was designed by H.B. Lane, who designed two other churches in Toronto, Little Trinity and St. George the Martyr.
The interior of the Church boasts several stained glass windows which were all made and installed at different times. Within the church one can see examples of patterned and stenciled windows which were stocked items at glaziers and available at the time of installation in 1868 at far less expensive price than commissioned glass. Other examples of stained glass are Victorian and medieval style windows.
EGD has completed work for Holy Trinity on two separate occasions and is currently contracted to do further restorations and conduct an on-going conservation and maintenance plan for the Church. In the 1990’s there was a large fire in the Eaton Center, which is adjacent to the Church, causing severe damage to the glass. Many areas of the glass panels were broken and the carbon from the smoke damaged the glass leaving a black soot like film on the heritage windows. Fortunately, the church was covered by insurance and thereby was able to contract EGD to restore their windows.
There are two concerns to be aware of in a restoration of this nature involving cleaning. Firstly, the kilns and stained glass makers of the past would sometimes take short cuts to reduce costs. Kilns would do tack firing which meant layering glass panels on top of each other in the kiln and then firing them. This caused certain areas on the panels to not be fired properly into the glass making those areas especially vulnerable to deterioration. The second concern is cold painting, this is where an artist, after installation, decides to make alteration where enamel or oil based paint is applied directly to the surface of the glass without re-firing the glass. The windows at Holy Trinity were especially challenging to clean and restore due to being tack fired and cold painted. EGD carried out extensive conservation and strategically cleaned the areas without further damaging the art on the windows. This was the first instance EGD was contracted by Holy Trinity.
On another occasion a series of bricks were thrown at the windows and Holy Trinity immediately contacted EGD to come in to restore them. EGD’s diligence paid off on this occasion as they had taken rubbings of the original windows for their records during the first round of restoration work. These rubbings essentially provided the blueprints for the now broken windows.
EGD was able to perfectly repair the broken windows, re-building the lead matrix, replacing the broken glass and painting the details destroyed by the brick. The windows were re-installed and the windows rest perfectly once more in their original positions. As a preventative measure EGD implemented a protective secondary glazing as a conservation practice to help maintain the windows the original stained glass windows. Today Holy Trinity continues to work closely with EGD, currently providing all their restoration and conservation needs.