Global True Lithuania Encyclopedia of Lithuanian heritage worldwide

London, Ontario

London is the only city in Canada that once had rather significant Lithuanian heritage but now has no Lithuanian sites at all.

London Our Lady of Šiluva was the last Lithuanian parish to be established in Canada (1964). It acquired the building of old St. Mark Anglican church but then converted its interior into a highly Lithuanian one, full of Lithuanian artworks: massive traditional Lithuanian cross, an altar for Lithuanian martyrs (killed by the Soviets), etc.

Our Lady of Šiluva church. Image by Edmundas Petrauskas.

Our Lady of Šiluva church. Image by Ed Petrauskas.

The most famous Lithuanian-Canadian architect Alfredas Kulpa-Kulpavičius led the reconstruction. The name itself was also highly Lithuanian, with Šiluva village of Lithuania being the place of Europe‘s first church-recognized Maryan vision. In the church, both Lithuanian religious and secular activities took place. The secular activities used a spacious lower hall with a stage.

Our Lady of Šiluva church interior. Image by Edmundas Petrauskas.

Our Lady of Šiluva church interior. Image by Ed Petrauskas.

Sadly, the church was closed by the diocese in 2000. In 2006, the closed building was flooded due to a broken pipe. As the building was unused at the time, it took time to notice this and the water made heavy damage which made the repairs costly. Instead of repairing the building, therefore, the diocese decided to demolish the church.

Site of the demolished London Lithuanian church of Our Lady of Šiluva

Site of the demolished London Lithuanian church of Our Lady of Šiluva (to the right of this image)

This way, nothing visibly Lithuanian remains in the entire city of London, Ontario, despite there having been a sizeable Lithuanian community that actually still held Lithuanian holy mass in rented premises even after its Our Lady of Šiluva church was lost.

Some Lithuanian traditional wooden artworks from the Our Lady of Šiluva church have been relocated to Wasaga Beach Lithuanian church. The cornerstone is now located on private ground. Altar's background was acquired by the descendants of its creator. The Italian-created wood central statue of Mary Mother and Child was donated to Lithuanian Franciscan center in the USA. The huge Lithuanian byway cross and other items were dispersed into private collections, by way of auction.

The map of Lithuanian-Canadian sites

All the Lithuanian-Canadian locations are marked on this interactive map, made by the "Destination Lithuanian America" expedition (click the link):

Interactive map of Canada Lithuanian sites

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