10 June

United church Conducts First Service

In 1925, Maple Leaf Gardens did not exist and the Toronto team in the National Hockey League played its games in the Arena. The team was called the "St. Pats" and it had some great players.

No group of hockey players ever worked harder than the 800 people who gathered in the Arena on June 10, 1925. They were representatives of the newly-organized United Church of Canada, and some of them had been working for this occasion since 1904.

Methodists, Presbyterians, and Congregationalists in Canada saw no reason why differences in doctrine in Scotland, England and the States should apply to them. Negotiations to unite began in 1904, and years were spent in planning the structure for union.

Sentiment generally favoured union but a minority of members of the Presbyterian Church were opposed. The conflict between them was quite sharp and both sides were conducting a propaganda campaign for and against, until 1917, when they agreed to stop until the end of the war.

In 1921 the debate was resumed, but the non-union Presbyterians were more opposed than ever. On the other hand, more than 1,000 congregations had united in one organization on the prairies. If church union had not taken place they would have been forced to return to their isolated groups.

In 1924 the Parliament of Canada passed the United Church of Canada Act and the provincial legislatures passed similar bills. When the first service took place in Toronto on June 10, 1925, all the Methodists, practically all the Congregationalists and two-thirds of the Presbyterians were represented.

The United Church had a difficult time during the depression years from 1930 to 1940. Minimum salaries of some of its ministers fell to $1,200 or lower.

During those tragic years, church members across Canada sent 1,000 carloads of fruit and vegetables, and 25,000 bundles of clothing to destitute families in Saskatchewan, the hardest hit province of all.


10 June

-1650    Jesuits abandoned the last mission raided by the Iroquois in the Huron country (see March 16) .

-1810    The Halifax "old town clock" arrived on the H.M.S. Dart.

-1837    The Upper Canada Academy opened at Cobourg, Ontario.

-1857    A bill was passed which put Canada on the dollar system.

-1878    Victoria, British Columbia, was fortified because of possible war with Russia.

-1884    Louis Riel left a school teaching job in Montana to return to the prairies to lead the rebellion.

-1937    Sir Robert Borden died.

-1947    President Truman of the United States arrived in Ottawa for a state visit until June 12.

-1957    Conservatives won the general election with 112 seats, Liberals 105, Cooperative Commonwealth Federalism (C.C.F.) 25, Social Credit 19.

-1963    Three men were identified as leaders of the Quebec Freedom League that had been bombing installations.


Since the union in 1924, the United Church of Canada today counts more than 3 million members.