Suspected Arson at St. Ann’s Anglican Church in Toronto

At least 33 Canadian churches have burned to the ground since May 2021 to June 2024. So far, 24 are confirmed arsons

A fire broke out at St. Ann’s Anglican Church in Toronto in the morning of Sunday June 9, 2024, severely damaging the national historic site and destroying the Group of Seven murals inside. The church, built in 1908, was a community landmark in Toronto’s Little Portugal neighbourhood. A 1937 article in The Globe and Mail called St. Anne’s “one of the most beautiful in Canada.”

St Ann’s Church in Toronto fire (By VelvetGloveinTO – CC BY-SA 4.0,

Firefighters were called to the church at around 8am after a fire was reported. There were no occupants inside the church at the time of the fire and no injuries were reported. Officials said the fire broke out shortly before 8 a.m., with plumes of smoke billowing from the domed roof of the Byzantine-style building.

The Group of Seven murals, which decorated the chancel and dome, were lost in the fire. The Rev. Don Beyers, rector of St. Ann’s, said the works “of inestimable value” were lost in the flames. The murals were installed in the 1920s and depicted scenes from the life of Christ. The church commissioned founding member of the Group of Seven, J.E.H. MacDonald, to supervise the projects in 1923.

Firefighters extinguished the main flames of the fire by mid-morning, but are expected to remain on site for several days to investigate the cause of the fire. The cause of the fire has not yet been determined.

The church was known for its soaring architecture and sumptuous interiors. It was built in the neo-Byzantine style, reminiscent of the soaring Hagia Sophia in Istanbul. The church was a popular venue for community functions, including choir performances, meals, musical theatre, film productions, weddings and other special events. As well as providing a place of worship and prayer, the church also offered vital support to the community.

According the CBC website, at least 33 Canadian churches have burned to the ground since May 2021. So far, 24 are confirmed arsons