What’s Lurking In Your Crypt?

Stained glass window, featuring a mother pelican feeding her young. Found at St. Paul's Bloor Street in Toronto

This stained glass window was hung after being found in the basement at St. Paul’s Bloor Street, an Anglican church in Toronto, during a restoration project.

While not much is known of it’s origins, it is a regimental window of the Queen’s Own Rifles of Canada. Historically, pelicans were believed to be particularly attentive to their young. This window depicts the Christian image of a pelican wounding her own breast to feed her young when no other food was available. The pelican came to symbolise the sacrifice of Christ on the cross, as well as the Eucharist.

Have you checked to see what’s lurking in your crypt?

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Reclaiming Stained Glass at St. Philip On The Hill

By Tanya Baleta

Reclaimed stained glass window.

A rose window at St. Philip On The Hill.


In 2010 a small church on Caribou Road in Toronto closed its doors forever.

St. Philip the Apostle, consecrated in the 1950s, faced dwindling Sunday attendance.

EGD Glass was called upon to remove and store the historic stained glass windows, including two rose windows. All the windows were designed and fabricated by renowned Canadian glass artist, Yvonne Williams.

“Yvonne Williams is regarded as one of the finest 20th century stained glass artists in Canada,” said Eve Guinan, owner of EGD Glass. “What’s amazing about her work is her painting and use of colour. The quality of the work is incredible.”

Reclaimed stained glass window.

Eve Guinan restored the rose window.

While the Anglican Diocese engaged in discussion to determine the fate of the stained glass, Eve took on a project at a church called St. Philip On The Hill in Unionville. While preparing to design new stained glass windows for the church’s narthex, she caught a glimpse of a rose window without any stained glass in it.

“I knew exactly where to find a rose window that would fit the opening,” said Eve. “I told St. Philip On The Hill about the rose windows and they thought it was a fantastic idea.”

After some discussion with the Anglican Diocese, it was decided one of the rose windows would be reclaimed and installed at St. Philip On The Hill, with the second being reserved for a church in Brampton.

Eve set to work restoring the rose window. Though it had not been repaired since it was installed around 1959, the window remained in good condition with only minor cracks and breaks.

The round window was divided into four pieces. When set in the original concrete opening at St. Philip The Apostle, the pieces combined to create a circle. However, without the concrete to act as a frame the pieces did not fit properly together.

Reclaimed stained glass window

The rose window is divided into four pieces, as seen at St. Philip The Apostle.

“To remedy the problem we had a round steel frame made with a spot for each of the four pieces and the same spacing as the original concrete opening,” explained Eve.

After a weeks worth of repairs, the steel frame and historic glass were installed at St. Philip On The Hill in 2012.

“The final product is beautiful,” said the Rev. Stephen Kern, Incumbent at St. Philip On The Hill. “It’s not just a window, it’s a functional piece of our worship space.”

According to the the Rev. Kern, Eve was sensitive to the congregation’s needs during the installation period. “We’re working with a church and a community of people – not just an individual,” he explained. “The window went up without disrupting any services or moving any pews.”

The window is entirely handmade and features a striking grid pattern. The artist utilized rich colour, heavy painting, small pieces of glass and a simplified drawing technique.

“You simply can’t get handmade glass like that any more,” said Eve. “There are maybe two or three companies out there making a very limited amount, so it’s very expensive.”

Reclaimed stained glass window

The window was dedicated to Florence May 1882-1959, “To the Glory of God” – “Rest in Peace” – “Gentle”.

Historic reclaimed glass is often a higher quality product than modern glass, and yet has a lower price tag.

The rose window, which was dedicated to the memory of Florence May (1882-1959), also has historical significance. “We’ve been able to take the legacy of another person’s love for that individual and carry it forward into our worship space,” said the Rev. Kern. “It connects us in a spiritual way with a broader community of worshipping Christians.”

Reclaiming stained glass is also an opportunity to be more environmentally friendly, as is reduces emissions and consumption of raw materials.

“I’m interested in greening our worship space and in environmental stewardship,” said the Rev. Kern. “We were able to reclaim and renew instead of produce from scratch.”

According to Eve, reclaiming stained glass is an opportunity to reduce your carbon footprint. “I believe in recycling,” she said. “Plus, you’ll be getting a beautiful piece of our heritage that will live on – so why not?”

Repair Or Replace Old Windows

From commercial structures to residences, windows are a large part of historic buildings. According to the National Trust For Historic Preservation, even minor changes to these windows can drastically alter the way a building looks.

Much needs to be considered before deciding to swap historic windows for modern replacements. Modern windows typically have a lifespan of 20 years, while their historic counterparts continue to go strong after 50 to 100 years.

Read more about how to decide the future of your historic windows in Repair Or Replace Old Windows: A Visual Look At The Impacts.

Repair or Replace old, historic windows

Reclaimed Stained Glass Dome For Sale

Reclaimed Stained Glass Dome

The oval shaped stained glass dome.

This oval-shaped stained glass dome is comprised of curved glass panels, set into a custom made steel sectioned frame. The design makes use of bevels and jewels in a traditional pattern. The glass is coloured a brilliant sky-blue and peach, with clear texture. It is a contemporary version of the original hand rolled machine made glass in “seedy marine” and “ripple” patterns.

The dome occupies a footprint of approximately 9 by 12 feet, and is 50 inches high at its centre. The dome has remained in excellent condition, having been housed and well protected in a dome room. The frame disassembles into sections for easy transportation.

View the dome on our website or contact Eve Guinan for more information.

Reclaimed Stained Glass Dome

The dome is 9 by 12 feet, and is 50 inches high at its centre.

Macaulay Church Museum Commemorative Window

Panel before repair by EGD

Panel before repair by EGD

As a final note to the restoration of the Macaulay Museum Church in Picton, the stained glass window in the vestibule was reinstated in August 2013.

The original panel was reportedly removed from a local church in Picton and installed in the vestibule, both the date and story have yet to be verified.

Panel after repair by EGD

Panel after repair by EGD

The panel was in poor condition when EGD carried out the stained glass survey in 2010.

The restoration of the panel was not included in the 2010 – 11 refurbishment program. The ‘Friends of Macaulay Heritage Park’ volunteers took it upon themselves to find the funds to restore the window.

The restoration included maintaining as much of the original glass as possible, replicating the filigree stencilled pattern and acknowledging the key supporters of the restoration program.

Detail of restored window

Detail of restored window

Reclaimed Stained Glass for Sale

These stained glass window depicting the life of Jesus were designed for St. George Anglican Church, East Toronto. The windows were designed and fabricated in Toronto by a local glass artist and are approximately 40 years old, they are painted and fired in the traditional technique. The church was closed in 2011.

This example shows you a full length view of the window in place. This the 11 panel type which is the bulk of this lot except the nativity ( a nine panel set) and the smaller saints group of two windows. 

Look at all the windows in Lot 177 by following this link:

http://www.egdglass.com/reclaim-listing


BlogImageSt. George Large 7

Great article showcasing Eve Guinan’s work in City and Country Home December 1993- January 1994

Great article showcasing Eve Guinan’s work in City and Country Home December 1993- January 1994

Check out this old article we dug up about Marilyn Lighstone and Moses Znaimer’s home in Toronto, Ontario.

What a great article and gorgeous images of how stained glass can be used all over your home.