When you’re in and around a church a lot, it’s easy to sometimes overlook the beauty of the physical building. A church like Knox is, of course, steeped in centuries of stories. However, because new stories are being written all the time, it takes a more intentional and careful observation to notice the ones that have been there for so long.
Knox’s current church building was finished being built in 1909. In the Nov. 2nd edition of The Globe in that same year, there is a small article about a new memorial window dedicated to the new structure. The window depicts Easter morning, with an angel sitting atop Jesus’ empty tomb and Mary, Mary Magdalene, and Mary of Clopas at the feet of the angel. The newspaper article describes the background as “richly jeweled, ruby, green, and blue stones predominating.” It also mentions that “A rich Gothic canopy in white and gold surmounts the figures.” The writer of the article also had this favourable description of the window: “It’s beauty of design and appropriateness as a memorial made it a welcome addition to the church, where it occupies a pleasing position on the eastward end of the north wall.”
The window was actually dedicated as a memorial to John Kerr and his wife Elizabeth Anderson, who were active members of the Knox congregation before the new church had built. The window itself was designed by N.T. Lyon Co., a very prominent glass company in Toronto in the early 20th century.
Napolean Theodore Lyon started his stained glass studio in the 1880s and continued producing beautiful stained glass windows all over the city. His studio’s works remain almost ubiquitous in Toronto’s churches, with his windows adorning the sanctuaries of St. Barnabas, St. Patrick’s, and St. Francis of Assisi, among many others in our city as and across Canada.
The sanctuary at Knox has all kinds of stunning stained glass windows (Many of which are the work of N.T Lyon Co.), and it’s particularly interesting to dive a bit deeper into the story behind the image, and to remember the legacy embedded in our walls.