Seneca Ketchum was instrumental in the founding of St. John’s. He also lived a rather colourful life two centuries ago. His story and his legacy are recalled in an article written by Laura Peetoom and published in the April 2016 edition of the newsletter of the Toronto Historical Association.
A visit by a group of architecture students inspired Laura to write the article. The students had come to St. John’s to see an example of a building in the Gothic architectural style. Apparently the students were a little disappointed because over the two centuries the congregation has several times expanded the building and modernized the interior, which must have made it less useful to the students as an example of a Gothic structure.
Thinking about the history of the building inevitably means pondering the legacy of Seneca Ketchum who was a powerful force behind the establishment of St. John’s York Mills. Ketchum was described by a contemporary as “an earnest-minded but not very sane individual”. In his life he frequently met with difficulty and disappointment, yet he was also driven, almost compulsive, and made significant accomplishments. Some artifacts from his life are still visible at St. John’s if you know where to look, and if you do look, you might almost feel his gaze upon us as we mark our 200th anniversary and prepare for the future.
Read the full article in the 2016 April newsletter of the Toronto Historical Association. Then think about coming to explore on the weekend on May 28-29 when St. John’s welcomes visitors for Doors Open Toronto.