Global True Lithuania Encyclopedia of Lithuanian heritage worldwide

Toronto, Ontario

Toronto has multiple large patriotically named Lithuanian hubs established by post-WW2 Lithuanian refugees. Fleeing the Soviet occupation they saw themselves as deportees rather than migrants and devoted their lives to rebuild a part of Lithuania on Canadian soil. Most Toronto Lithuanian heritage dates to 1950s-1970s and is an interesting testament to that occupation diaspora culture. Toronto Lithuanian community and its heritage are the largest in Canada.

The Mississauga suburb has a major Lithuanian center Anapilis (2185 Stavebank Rd.) which surrounds a modernist Lithuanian Martyrs Church and includes a Lithuanian museum. Constructed in 1974 it was the first church in the world to have this name which had a symbolic meaning while Lithuania was occupied: martyrs may also mean Lithuanians murdered by the Soviets for their beliefs. Lithuanian center in these areas is older: the local St. John Lithuanian cemetery had been opened in 1960. Besides the massive Lithuanian gravestones, it has a monument for those died in the name of Lithuanian Freedom and a chapel. Next to the church, the sole Lithuanian-Canadian newspaper "Tėvynės žiburiai" (Homeland lights) is located (published since 1949), car park for parish members. There are also three large halls for both Lithuanian and non-Lithuanian events and a Lithuanian-Canadian museum.

This was not the first church in Toronto as the first one (St. John the Baptist) has been established between the world wars (acquired from Presbyterians) but with the arrival of WW2 refugees it became far too small and is now closed.

Anapilis center is the largest Lithuanian hub in Canada and one of the largest in the world. However, Toronto area has another major Lithuanian hub near the W Brooke St and Keele Street crossroads. A Lithuanian House (1573 Bloor Street West) here houses a "Lokys" Lithuanian bar (serving Lithuanian beer), Lithuania's consulate general, Lithuanian banquet halls, Lithuanian credit union.

The old Lithuanian House (Club) in Toronto is clad in Lithuanian instiution names and also has Lithuanian and Canadian flags proudly waving. Google Street View.

A few blocks westwards a Lithuanian Lutheran Christ Redeemer church (1691 Bloor St W) stands, however, the Lithuanian parish has been closed down ~2017 as the parish became smaller (129 members in 2008, 92 in 2012). This church had been established in 1951 and looks like a smallish dark red home; the mass used to be held in both Lithuanian and English but only the English mass remains now.

Nearby high-rise Vilnius Manor (1700 Bloor Street West) has a Columns of Gediminas sign as it houses a Lithuanian old age home (Columns of Gediminas is an old symbol of the Lithuanian nation).

Vilnius Manor in Toronto. Google Street View.

A few blocks north from here near Glenlake Avenue there is a Lithuania Park. It has been named so in 1973 when there was a worldwide campaign by Lithuanian diaspora communities to set up Lithuania-related street names in their cities, this way reminding the world about the plight of occupied Lithuania. The park is taken care of by local Lithuanians. However, in 2013, the Toronto council received a petition by 130 persons to rename the park back to its previous Oakmount Park name.

Lithuania Park sign in Toronto. Google Street View.

Toronto area has one Lithuanian church elsewhere. Christ Ressurection church (1 Resurrection Road) is today surrounded by high-rise residential. It has been established in 1953 and, as it is common, formed the hub for a larger center of Lituanity with a hall and a credit union. Previously, the community used to have a church in central Toronto but the church was rebuilt in the suburbs after much of the community moved. The old church has been demolished. The current church has been constructed in 2001.

Christ Ressurection Lithuanian church in Toronto. Google Street View.

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  1. Dear fellow Lithuanian/Canadian friends. I would like to reconnect with your community. I still speak Lithuanian and still play some Lithuanian folk songs and dance tunes. Can I participate in your practices. I would like to maintain my language as well.

    • Hi,

      This is not a page of the Lithuanian-Canadian community, but rather a page investigating the Lithuanian-Canadian heritage.

  2. A more accurate crossroads for Lithuanian House on Bloor St would be the intersection of Bloor Street and Alhambra Ave. The next major street (1 block) would be Dundas Street.

  3. Wonderful – I never knew – I can’t speak the language but visited cousins in Lithuania…nice to know – thank you !!

  4. Wonderful – I never knew – I can’t speak the language but visited cousins in Lithuania.. thank you !!

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