Global True Lithuania Encyclopedia of Lithuanian heritage worldwide

Toronto, Ontario

Toronto is the main hub of Lithuanians in Canada by far. It 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 rebuilding a part of Lithuania on Canadian soil. Much of the Toronto Lithuanian heritage dates to 1950s-1980s and is an interesting testament to that occupation diaspora culture. Toronto Lithuanian community and its heritage are the largest in Canada.

Lithuanian heritage in Toronto is grouped around three hubs: the Lithuanian House near High Park, the Anapilis Lithuanian cultural center in Mississauga and the Ressurection Lithuanian parish in western Toronto.

Hill of Crosses and the Lithuanian Martyrs chapel of the Mississauga St. John Lithuanian cemetery

Hill of Crosses and the Lithuanian Martyrs chapel of the St. John Lithuanian cemetery (Mississauga)

Downtown Toronto Lithuanian House area

The areas immediately west of Toronto downtown were where the Lithuanians initially settled.

Lithuanian House (1573 Bloor Street West, „Lietuvių namai“) is the city‘s largest secular Lithuanian institution. The building was built in 1922 as a Protestant church but it was acquired in 1971 by Toronto Lithuanians to become a secular hub for Lithuanian culture.

Lithuanian House of Toronto

Lithuanian House of Toronto

Toronto Lithuanian House entrance

Toronto Lithuanian House entrance

The Lithuanian House has three halls, all of them named after key Lithuanian historical figures and places (Birutė, the wife of grand duke Kęstutis; Gediminas castle of Vilnius; Mindaugas, the first and only king of Lithuania). One of the halls is dedicated to the 650th anniversary of Vilnius city as the center of culture and learning (1974).

Main event hall of the Lithuanian House of Toronto

Main event hall of the Lithuanian House of Toronto

A sign that dedicates the balcony of the main hall of Lithuanian House to king Mindaugas

A sign that dedicates the balcony of the main hall of Lithuanian House to king Mindaugas

On the ground floor of the Lithuanian House bar „Lokys“ („Bear“) is located (serving Lithuanian beer and sometimes food), while another entrance hosts a Lithuanian credit union and yet another an honorary consulate of Lithuania. The Lithuanian House has some 960 members while the credit union has over 6000. Lithuanian House also hosts numerous other Lithuanian organizations, although their numbers have dwindled since the golden years.

Bar Lokys with Lithuanian memorabilia

Bar Lokys with Lithuanian memorabilia. Everybody is welcome here - not only club members. ~20% of customers are actually non-Lithuanians who like Lithuanian food, which is prepared on Sundays.

Vilnius Manor (1700 Bloor Street West, „Vilniaus rūmai“) next to the Lithuanian Hall has been developed by the Lithuanian Hall to house elderly Lithuanians. Far from simply a senior housing, Vilnius Manor is a unique attempt to create a piece of Lithuania-outside-Lithuania for the Lithuanian refugees who were forced to leave their homeland by the Soviet occupation (1940, 1944) and were never able to come back yet always longed for Lithuania. Its facade is adorned by the Lithuanian traditional Columns of Gediminas symbol and Lithuanian symbols are also abound inside.

Vilnius Manor

Vilnius Manor

Vilnius Manor sign close-up

Vilnius Manor sign close-up

Vilnius Manor thus offers a Lithuanian restaurant that prepares Lithuanian meals daily (something absolutely unique in Toronto), Lithuanian TV stations in rooms, Lithuanian library in the building, many Lithuanian details and artworks in and around the building. Many of the artworks have been created and donated by the residents of the building.

Daily Lithuanian menu at Vilnius Manor restaurant

Daily Lithuanian menu at Vilnius Manor restaurant

Next to Vilnius Manor, there is a small Lithuanian garden with a Lithuanian pensioner‘s club shrine in the garden (erected 2013). The shrine is called „rūpintojėlis“ although it does not include this traditional Lithuanian image of a contempt Jesus. It has been created by artists Algis Gelažauskas, Petras Pečiulis, Gintas Repečka, Jonas Slivinskas.

Lithuanian senior Rūpintojėlis at Vilnius Manor garden

Lithuanian senior Rūpintojėlis at Vilnius Manor garden

The life in Vilnius Manor is comfortable as most inhabitants live alone in their apartments with balconies, the subway is located nearby, there are also facilities like sauna, summer terrace, rentable rooms for personal festivals and others.

Toronto downtown as visible from Vilnius Manor

Toronto downtown as visible from Vilnius Manor

Therefore, there is a constant queue of elderly Lithuanians wishing to live here after retirement.

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. A Lithuanian community size of that in Toronto warranted its own Lutheran church because while in today's Lithuania Lutherans make up merely 0,6% of the population, before World War 2 that percentage stood at 9%. Lutherans were especially targetted in the Soviet Genocide, however, so-much-so that in the 1940s the Lutheran community in Lithuania declined even more than the Jewish community during the same period (that included the Holocaust). That said, those Lutherans who fled Lithuania often survived and could continue their faith; among diaspora there they continued to make a significant share of Lithuanians (probably ~5% in Toronto).

As the generations changed, however, the youth would often marry non-Lithuanian-Lutherans and leave the parish, leading to its slow decline.

The mass used to be held in both Lithuanian and English in the Toronto Lithuanian Lutheran church but only the English mass remains now. There are no more Lithuanian symbols but an LGBT rainbow flag now hangs there. This signifies more has changed than the ethnicity or the language of the Mass: Lithuanian Lutheran church understands that same-sex relations contradict the Bible teachings, whereas the Lutheran church of Canada which operates in the building now even began celebrating same-sex marriages.

Former Lithuanian Redeemer Lutheran church

Former Lithuanian Redeemer Lutheran church

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. Still, the “Lithuania” name remained. The sign is the only Lithuanian detail.

Lithuania Park sign in Toronto

Lithuania Park sign in Toronto

Lithuanian Ressurection church and monastery

The Ressurection Lithuanian church itself is the newest Lithuanian church outside Lithuania, constructed in 2001 as the parish has relocated from downtown.

It forms the heart of a larger Lithuanian hub that covers several addresses (1-5 Ressurection Road) and outflanked by Lithuanian and Canadian flags. It is commonly unlocked.

Lithuanian church of Ressurection in Toronto

Lithuanian church of Ressurection in Toronto

Form follows function here and the church itself (architect J. Švedas) is just a small part of the entire complex. The church is usually unlocked and one may witness some glorious stained glass Windows relocated from the previous Ressurection church, such as the Our Lady of Vilnius one (that includes images of Vilnius buildings and Columns of Gediminas) and the St. Casimir one (that also incorporates images of Vilnius).

Stained-glass windows of the Ressurection Lithuanian church of Toronto

Stained-glass windows of the Ressurection Lithuanian church of Toronto

When these images were created, Lithuania was still occupied and beyond the reach of Lithuanian-Canadians, making them wish to see these locations at least in their church. Therefore, the church had lots of Lithuanian memorabilia that has been moved to the new location in 2001 even though Lithuania was independent by then. In fact, the new church was constructed on purpose in such a way that old stained glass windows would fit. Behind the altar, there is a statue of Jesus with a red light on his bosom, representing his blood.

Christ at the Ressurection Lithuanian church

Christ at the Ressurection Lithuanian church. Altar sculptor Kęstutis Kesminas.

Outside of the church, a group of three traditional Lithuanian chapel-posts stands, while the church „tower“ (actually more like a high roof) is covered by a traditional Lithuanian sun-cross that combines Catholic and Pagan symbolism into one Lithuanian whole. Those are the only external symbols to show the church as Lithuanian.

Traditional Lithuanian sun-cross that crowns the Ressurection church

Traditional Lithuanian sun-cross that crowns the Ressurection church

The church building also includes parish hall where post-mass Lithuanian gatherings take place, as well as sport and other activities. The church is united with a monastery where the Lithuanian Franciscan fathers that serve the church live.

Event hall of the Ressurection church that can be transformed from sports hall to performance area to a dining room. After every Lithuanian mass it is a dining room where the parishioners may eat Lithuanian meals

Event hall of the Ressurection church that can be transformed from sports hall to performance area to a dining room. After every Lithuanian mass it is a dining room where people may buy Lithuanian meals or Lithuanian memorabilia from fellow Lithuanians

Other institutions built for Lithuanian needs in the complex are the Ressurection credit union, the Labdara Lithuanian nursing home (est. 2002, constructed 2010). Like Vilnius Manor, it provides a Lithuanian zone for elderly Lithuanians to live (full of Lithuanian memorabilia), however, unlike Vilnius Manor, here the seniors who are no longer able to look after themselves mostly live.

Lithuanian memorabilia inside the nursing home at Ressurection parish

Lithuanian memorabilia inside the nursing home at Ressurection parish. Such 'memorabilia corners' exist in every Lithuanian parish, club or other institution of Canada. The largest ones have multiple. They include things such as Lithuanian artworks, maps of Lithuania, images of famous Lithuanians, Lithuanian traditional crafts, often created by Lithuanian-Canadians themselves

Not far from the Ressurection Lithuanian hub there is "Parama" main building, which is yet another Lithuanian credit union of Toronto area.

Parama Lithuanian credit union of Toronto

Parama Lithuanian credit union of Toronto

“Anapilis“ Lithuanian cultural hub and cemetery of Mississauga

The Mississauga suburb has a major Lithuanian center Anapilis (2185 Stavebank Rd.) which also has a modernist Lithuanian Martyrs church, Lithuanian secular centre „Anapilis“ and Lithuanian cemetery. Interestingly, the Lithuanian „Anapilis“ (literally „another castle“) typically means the afterlife (i.e. world after death), although official explanation here is that it means the world after emigration.

Anapilis cultural center with the Lithuanian Martyrs church in the middle

Anapilis cultural center with the Lithuanian Martyrs church in the middle

Lithuanian Martyrs church, constructed in 1974 (architect Kulpa-Kulpavičius), 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 tortured and/or murdered by the Soviets for their beliefs. Befitting its name, the church‘s stained glass windows depict such martyrs: archbishops Mečislovas Reinys and Teofilius Matulionis, bishop Vincentas Borisevčius, as well as an „unknown female martyr“, presumably one of the thousands of Lithuanian women raped and killed by the Soviets (the stained-glass windows were created by Albinas Elskus and Juozas Bakis). The altar (by Ramojus Mazoliauskas) incorporates traditional Lithuanian sun-crosses, as does the exterior. The church is usually locked.

Stained-glass windows for Lithuanian Martyrs in the Lithuanian Martyrs church of Mississauga

Stained-glass windows for Lithuanian Martyrs in the Lithuanian Martyrs church of Mississauga

Mississauga Lithuanian church altar

Mississauga Lithuanian church altar

Lithuanian hub in these areas is older: the local St. John Lithuanian cemetery had been opened in 1960. The cemetery is extremely ethnic, as it attracts those Lithuanians who care the most about their heritage and thus wish to be buried among compatriots from all over Canada. Therefore, most graves have Lithuanian symbols on them and many have Lithuanian inscriptions, sometimes dedicated to that lost "Homeland beyond the ocean".

Many graves, like this one of Balys Savickas, have Lithuanian patriotic symbols and inscriptions. The inscription on the left grave says ‚After losing my homeland I lived for its freedom and I lived to see it‘, referencing to him dying in 1996, after Lithuanian independence was restored. The inscription on the other side of the same grave adds ‚Such was my fate given to me by the Almighty‘. Symbols on this grave are the Vytis (Lithuanian coat of arms), Cross of Vytis and the Three Crosses memorial, a potent symbol of Vilnius and of Soviet repression as it was demolished by the Soviets and then rebuilt by Lithuanians as independence seemed real

Many graves, like this one of Balys Savickas, have Lithuanian patriotic symbols and inscriptions. The inscription on the left says ‚After losing my homeland I lived for its freedom and I lived to see it‘, referencing to him dying in 1996, after independence. The inscription on the right adds ‚Such was my fate given to me by the Almighty‘. Symbols on this grave are the Vytis (Lithuanian coat of arms), Cross of Vytis and the Three Crosses memorial, a potent symbol of Vilnius and of Soviet repression as it was demolished by the Soviets and then rebuilt by Lithuanians as independence seemed real

Additionally, numerous Lithuanian monuments have been constructed in the center of the cemetery. Among them is the Monument for those who gave their lives for Lithuania‘s liberty (1988). When it was commissioned, Lithuania was still under a deep Soviet occupation and its independence seemed impossible yet soon after its completion the drive for Lithuanian independence became an unstoppable tide, with it being declared in 1990. The memorial was erected by Lithuanian-Canadian Šauliai. Variously translated as Riflemen or National Guard, Šauliai is a patriotic organization that has been banned and especially persecuted by the Soviets, forcing many of them to flee to America and continuing the fight there by encouraging the governments not to recognize the independence of Lithuania.

Monument for those who died for Lithuania‘s Liberty is adorned by patriotic symbols: Vytis (top), Columns of Gediminas (bottom left) and Cross ofVytis (bottom right). The inscription of monuments purpose is available in both English and French on the back

Monument for those who died for Lithuania‘s Liberty is adorned by patriotic symbols: Vytis (top), Columns of Gediminas (bottom left) and Cross ofVytis (bottom right). The inscription of monuments purpose is available in both English and French on the back

This grave is inscribed with a quote ‚We loved Lithuania from afar‘. It also incorporates traditional Lithuanian sun-crosses

This grave is inscribed with a quote ‚We loved Lithuania from afar‘. It also incorporates traditional Lithuanian sun-crosses

An older similar memorial has been erected in 1968.

Old memorial for those who died for Lithuanian freedom in the Mississauga Lithuanian cemetery

Old memorial for those who died for Lithuanian freedom in the Mississauga Lithuanian cemetery. It incorporates the first stanza of the Lithuanian national anthem

Even more massive is the Mississauga Hill of Crosses, inspired by the Hill of Crosses at Šiauliai, Lithuania. It was erected in the 1990s as the Toronto Lithuanians learned about the Lithuanian Hill of Crosses while watching the Papal visit to the newly-independent Lithuania. It started as an exhibition of Lithuanian crosses by the Lithuanians who immigrated to Canada from Punskas/Seinai area of Poland. After the exhibition, they were moved here. The crosses continue to be erected there: one of the latest is 2018 cross dedicated to the 40th anniversary of the church, 90th anniversary of the parish and 100th anniversary of the cemetery‘s founder. An older cross is dedicated to 70th anniversary of the parish.

Mississauga Hill of Crosses

Mississauga Hill of Crosses

Next to the Hill of Crosses, there is a Lithuanian Martyrs memorial chapel, erected in 1969 by the architect Vladas Liačas, in the form of a contempt Jesus. It is a traditional form of Lithuanian art called Rūpintojėlis although traditionally it is built of wood. Here, it is built of concrete. After the Hill of Crosses was built nearby, the chapel itself has been also crowned by a traditional Lithuanian sun-cross. The back of the chapel is covered in Lithuanian ethnic patterns.

Rūpintojėlis of Mississauga Lithuanian cemetery chapel

Rūpintojėlis of Mississauga Lithuanian cemetery chapel

Inside the Mississauga Lithuanian cemetery chapel

Inside the Mississauga Lithuanian cemetery chapel

Backside of the Lithuanian Martyrs chapel of Mississauga cemtery (not to be confused with the Lithuanian Martyrs church)

Backside of the Lithuanian Martyrs chapel of Mississauga cemtery (not to be confused with the Lithuanian Martyrs church)

Behind the chapel and the Hill of Crosses a monument for „Mary, the mother of exiled Lithuanians“ has been erected in 2011. It commemorates the exiles of 1941 06 14 when the Soviet Union, having had occupied Lithuania beforehand, expelled 2% of the entire nation to the inhospitably cold Siberian hinterland within a period of a single week. The expulsions were stopped by the Nazi German invasion but were resumed after 1944 and remain a painful memory for most Lithuanians.

Mary the Mother of those exiled statue in the Missisauga St. John Lithuanian cemetery

Mary the Mother of those exiled statue in the Missisauga St. John Lithuanian cemetery

Almost anybody who mattered in the Lithuanian-Canadian community is buried in the St. John‘s Lithuanian Cemetery. The most famous burial is that of historian Adolfas Šapoka. His somewhat romanticized „History of Lithuania“ was essentially the official one in pre-WW2 Lithuania. Learned by all the schoolchildren of the era, its stories continued to inspire generations of Lithuanians during the Soviet occupation and only after some 2000 would alternative histories of Lithuania be seriously considered. Actually, Šapoka died before the St. John Cemetery was built and was later reinterred there.

Adolfas Šapoka grave

Adolfas Šapoka grave

Less famous but no less important is the burial of priest Ažubalis, the founder of the cemetery. In Canada, ethnic cemeteries do not exist as that would be seen as ethnic discrimination. Therefore, creating St. John cemetery required a major effort. At the same time, Ažubalis essentially started Anapilis. Ažubalis is almost legendary among Lithuanian-Canadians, especially the stories how he managed to create the cemetery by giving a drunk bishop a document to sign or how he managed to escape Nazi concentration camp by promising Nazis that he would be the priest of Gestapo should they set him free, and then immediately running away, ending up in Canada.

Priest Ažubalis grave

Priest Ažubalis grave

Other personalities include Jonas Matulionis, the first chairman of the Global Lithuanian Community. This seminal organization was established in 1949-1958 to preserve Lithuanity abroad. At that time, Lithuanians who fled the Soviet occupation understood that the occupation was to be long-term: Soviets defeated yje Lithuanian guerilla campaign, most of the Lithuanian patriots who remained were murdered or expelled from Lithuania and those who fled were long since relocated by the Allies from the refugee camps in Europe (still rather close to Lithuania) to more permanent and more far-away locations such as Canada. Unlike in the refugee camps where Lithuanians still formed tight communities, they were now spread among non-Lithuanians in each foreign land. They understood that their families would assimilate soon if nothing was done, while Lithuanians who remained in Lithuania may as well be all but wiped out in the Soviet Genocide, making the Lithuanian culture extinct. That's where the Global Lithuanian Community came into place. It was essentially a "nation without territory" but with its own constitution (Charter), parliament, school system (that taught Lithuanian on Saturdays), religious system and so on. Jonas Matulionis was, essentially, its first president, while its citizens were all the Lithuanians who lived outside the Soviet sphere of influence. The organization lives on, albeit with different goals since Lithuania became independent in 1990.

Matulionis grave in St. John's cemetery

Matulionis grave in St. John's cemetery

Several Lithuanian consuls to Toronto are buried there too: as Lithuania was occupied by the Soviet Union, they could not have been buried in Lithuania. The longest-serving one was Jonas Žmuidzinas, who served for nearly half of the Cold War: from 1959 to 1982.

This marker on Žmuidzinas's grave marks that he was a consul of Lithuania

This marker on Žmuidzinas's grave marks that he was a consul of Lithuania

There is a row of priest graves, forming a symbolic memorial.

Graves of Lithuanian priests at Mississauga Lithuanian cemetery

Graves of Lithuanian priests at Mississauga Lithuanian cemetery

The cemetery gate is far from prosaic as well: created ~1980 by artist Rimas Paulionis, they too have Lithuanian symbols on them: Columns of Gediminas and the sun-crosses.

Destination Lithuanian America volunteers Augustinas Žemaitis and Aistė Žemaitienė at the Mississauga St. John Lithuanian cemetery gate

Destination Lithuanian America volunteers Augustinas Žemaitis and Aistė Žemaitienė at the Mississauga St. John Lithuanian cemetery gate

The Lithuanian secular center „Anapilis“ (built in 1973) includes three halls for Lithuanian events, „Tėviškės žiburiai“ (Homeland Lights) newspaper (published 1949-2019 and online since). The most important institution there is the Lithuanian-Canadian culture archives and museum (built in 1987, opened 1989). „Museum“ title is a bit far-fetched as it has no constant exhibition – however, temporary exhibits do take place, and what works permanently is the sole archive that collects Lithuanian-Canadian materials and books.

Lithuanain organizations in Anapilis listed next to the territory entrance

Lithuanain organizations in Anapilis listed next to the territory entrance

Unlike the very Lithuanian cemetery, „Anapilis“ and Lithuanian Martyrs church are modernist and rather international in design on the exterior. Only the interiors hold Lithuanian details.

Former locations of Toronto Lithuanian churches

Historically, the Lithuanian churches of Toronto used to be located in or near downtown.

What is now the Lithuanian Martyrs church in Mississauga used to be St. John the Baptist Lithuanian parish. The St. John the Baptist church still stands in central Toronto and, even though no longer Lithuanian, still has a few Lithuanian details.

St. John the Baptist once-Lithuanian church of Toronto

St. John the Baptist once-Lithuanian church of Toronto

Lithuanians acquired the towerless building from Presbyterians in 1928, thus establishing the first Lithuanian parish and the first important Lithuanian institution in Toronto.

As the fledgling Lithuanian community was joined by thousands of religious refugees from the Soviet-occupied Lithuania in the 1940s, the church had to be expanded and it was important to give it more Lithuanian character. The expansion of 1954-1956 added not only more space and a tower but also a symbolic traditional Lithuanian village house roof with a traditional Lithuanian sun-cross on top. The most famous Lithuanian-Canadian architect Kulpa-Kulpavičius was behind the project.

Original building of the St. John the Baptist church as Lithuanians acquired it

Original building of the St. John the Baptist church as Lithuanians acquired it

In 1975, as the parish relocated to Mississauga (after long debates), the former building was left to other Catholic communities (now Hispanic). The sun-cross built on top of a traditional Lithuanian „roof“ are now the sole two remaining Lithuanian details.

Lithuanian 'crown' of the St. John the Baptist church created by architect Kulpa-Kulpavičius

Lithuanian 'crown' of the St. John the Baptist church created by architect Kulpa-Kulpavičius

The former Ressurection church is now demolished and replaced by apartments (on College St between Rusholme Park Crescent and Rusholme Road). This parish, the second, in Toronto, was established after World War 2 in order to accommodate the newly arriving refugees. The church was built in 1956 under a project by famous Lithuanian-Canadian architect Alfredas Kulpa-Kulpavičius but it never fulfilled his vision: in fact, what was erected was envisioned to be only a parish hall while what was planned to be a church was never erected. Instead, seeing the drift of Lithuanian-Canadians westwards, the parish decided to relocate, selling the former building ~2000.

The location of the old Ressurection Lithuanian church of Toronto

The location of the old Ressurection Lithuanian church of Toronto

Ressurection Lithuanian church of Toronto as it stood before 2001

Ressurection church of Toronto as it stood before 2001

Original blueprint of the old Ressurection Lithuanian church. Actually, only the building on the right was constructed. The initial plan was for that building to serve as a church only temporarily (before the main church on the left is constructed) and then serve simply as a hall for secular activities afterward. In reality, however, the main church was never build until 2001, when a smaller church was constructed for a then-smaller community in western Toronto

Original blueprint of the old Ressurection church. Actually, only the building on the right was constructed. The initial plan was for that building to serve as a church only temporarily (before the main church on the left is constructed) and then serve simply as a hall for secular activities afterward. In reality, however, the main church was never built until 2001, when a smaller church was constructed for a then-smaller community in western Toronto

Not far away from this church, the Lithuanian nuns have established a Lithuanian kindergarten in 1955 (near the corner of Differin and Sylvan streets). It still operates although it has nothing to do with Lithuanians today (since 1999).

Sign of the once-Lithuanian Toronto kindergarten

Sign of the once-Lithuanian Toronto kindergarten

What is now the Slovak- and Polish- Lutheran Grace church near the corner of Davenport and Dufferin streets briefly served as a Lutheran church for Lithuanians from Lithuania Minor after World War 2 until that parish disintegrated (at that time, Lithuanian Lutheran community was divided between those who hailed from parts of Lithuania that were ruled by the Russian Empire before 1918 and those who came from parts of Lithuania ruled by Germany before 1918. The latter were often somewhat Germanized culturally and sometimes preferred German language for mass even if they spoke Lithuanian natively - they used the Grace parish. The rest established the Redeemer parish).

Lithuanian House moved as well, albeit to a much closer location. Its original location used to be a now-unmarked building on the corner of Dundas St. W and Ossington St. That building was acquired by the Lithuanian House in 1952 and the Lithuanian House moved to the current larger building from there in 1971.

Before World War 2 there were some far-left Lithuanians who didn't go to church and had their own club at 160 Claremont. After the Soviets occupied Lithuania, however, the far-left ideas slowly declined.

Famous Lithuanian graves outside St. John cemetery

While nearly all the more famous Lithuanians are buried in the St. John Lithuanian cemetery, at least one – consul Vytautas Gylys – is buried separately in Park Lawn cemetery (section V). He was a consul-general of Lithuania in Toronto from 1949 to 1959. At the time Lithuania was occupied by the Soviet Union, however, Canada did not recognize such occupation. Lithuanian embassies and consulates in countries such as Canada arguably thus were the final unoccupied areas of Lithuania.

Consul Vytautas Gylys grave in Toronto

Consul Vytautas Gylys grave in Toronto

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Comments (5) Trackbacks (0)
  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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