In 1833 a section of land in east Scarborough was surveyed for the establishment of a church and burial grounds. Two acres were donated by Toronto lawyer Simon Washburn, a warden at St. James, York, for the purpose of developing an Anglican parish in the township.
By 1830, the population of Scarborough had reached 1,135. Recent Church of England settlers in the area were holding services in makeshift facilities (houses, taverns, schools, etc.), and Strachan was anxious to build a permanent structure in an attempt to create a unified Anglican parish. The first St. Margaret’s church was a wooden structure built progressively between 1833 and 1839 as funds permitted by local settlers Ignatius Galloway and his sons.
Tragedy struck St. Margaret’s in the spring of 1904 when the wooden church was hit by a grass fire near the building, causing the entire structure to burn in less than an hour. In 1905 the new church was built within the cemetery grounds, using donations from parishioners. This church is now affectionately known as “St. Margaret’s Chapel”, and officially opened for services May 13, 1906 and stands today beside the present church building.
Our historic chapel needs your help! It needs to be restored.
Phase one: replacing the roof (shingles, removing asbestos paper and replacing the plywood).
Phase two: fixing the chimney and the bell tower.
Future phases: we hope will include restoring the stained glass windows, the pump organ (which still works today), the hardwood floor, repointing the stonework outside. Future phases may include adding water, heat and a second entrance/exit that is accessible. This historic building has been an important fixture in the West Hill area. In the past, many people were married in the chapel or had their funerals held there. Many years ago, the church's Sunday School met there.