History of the Church in Ontario, Canada

David R. Crockett

As an introduction to this LDS-Gems Canadian series, let's first read from Marc A. Schindler of Spruce Grove, Alberta, Canada, regarding Canada's geography. Also see a map at: http://canada.gc.ca/canadiana/map_e.html

The first thing one notices about Canada is the distances involved. The country is larger even than the entire United States including Alaska and Hawaii. Of all the nations in the world, only Russia is larger. However, with several important exceptions, most of the population lives within 250 km of the US border. Canada has two official languages, English and French, but is very multi-ethnic, as it still accepts immigrants in proportionally greater amounts than does the US. It's total population is 30 million, so approximately the size of California.
The first "missionary" to preach the restored gospel in Canada was probably Solomon Chamberlain. In 1829 the spirit led him to Palmyra, where work was underway printing the Book of Mormon. He visited with the Smiths for two days and learned about gold plates and their translation. In his autobiography he wrote:
I took them with their leave and pursued my journey to Canada, and I preached all that I knew concerning Mormonism, to all both high and low, rich and poor, and thus you see this was the first that ever printed Mormonism was preached to this generation. I did not see any one in traveling for 800 miles, that had ever heard of the Gold Bible (so called)." (Solomon Chamberlain, "A Short Sketch of the Life of Solomon Chamberlain")
Later, during the winter of 1829-1830, two witnesses of the Book of Mormon traveled to Toronto. Toronto was at that time part of what was then called "Upper Canada." Hiram Page and Oliver Cowdery traveled to Toronto in an attempt to sell the right to publish the book in the Canada. This plan would help raise funds to pay for printing of this book of sacred scripture. The two brethren were not able to find the prospective buyer and it is unknown if they attempted to preach the gospel to anyone along the way. (B. H. Roberts, Comprehensive History of the Church, 1:162).

The next "missionary" to Canada was Phinehas Young, the brother of Brigham Young. Phinehas was not yet a member of the Church, but had received a testimony of the Book of Mormon he obtained from Samuel Smith, the brother of the Prophet. During August, 1830, Phinehas, still a Methodist, and his brother Joseph went on a preaching mission to Canada. Along the way they paid a visit to their old friend, Solomon Chamberlain. Phinehas had previously heard Solomon preach about the Book of Mormon at a Methodist conference. Solomon now informed the Young brothers that the restored Church had been organized, and that he had been baptized into the Church. Phinehas continued his journey and attended a Methodist conference in Kingston. He later wrote:

After all were seated in two large rooms, I took my place at the door between the two rooms, and calling the tention of the people, I asked them if any one present had ever read the Book of Mormon? I paused for an answer, and after a short pause a gentleman said that he had never seen or head of such a work. I then said the book was called by some the Golden Bible.

This seemed to take the attention of the whole assembly, consisting of more than one hundred. A gentleman requested me, in behalf of the people present, to give them some account of the book. I commenced by telling them that it was a revelation from God, translated from the Reformed Egyptian language by Joseph Smith, Jun., by the gift and power of God, and gave a full account of the aborigines of our country, and agreed with many of their traditions, of which we had been hearing this evening, and that it was destined to overthrow all false religions, and finally to bring in the peaceful reign of the Messiah.

I had forgotten everything but my subject, until I had talked a long time and told many things I had never thought of before. I bore a powerful testimony to the work, and thus closed my remarks and went to bed, not to sleep, but to ponder with astonishment at what I had said, and to wonder with amazement at the power that seemed to compel me thus to speak. (Phinehas Young, "Autobiography" Millennial Star, XXV, June 6, 1863, 374-74, quoted in Melvin S. Tagg's dissertation, "A History of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints in Canada, 1830-1963).

Phinehas Young later returned to New York. In 1832, he and his brother, Brigham, spent a few days with members of the Church in Columbia, Pennsylvania and received a stronger testimony of the gospel. Brigham Young journeyed to Kingston, Canada, to share his new knowledge with his brother, Joseph Young. Brigham Young wrote that they traveled to Canada "to tell the glad tidings to our brother Joseph, who was there preaching Methodistism, and to try to get him to come home with use. . . . After finding my brother Joseph and explaining to him what I had learned of the Gospel in its purity, his heart rejoiced, and he returned home with me, where we arrived in March [1832]." The Youngs traveled to Columbia, Pennsylvania and were baptized during April, 1832. (Arrington, Brigham Young: American Moses, 29).

The first known members of the Church to do missionary work in Canada were Joseph Smith Sr. (the father of the Prophet) and Don Carlos Smith (the Prophet's brother.) In late 1830, they preached to relatives near the St. Lawrence River. During their travels they touched "at several Canadian ports where [they] distributed a few copies of the Book of Mormon. (Jenson, Latter-day Saint Biographical Encyclopedia, 1:187, quoted in Bennett, "'Plucking Not Planting,' Mormonism in Eastern Canada 1830-1850).

During June, 1832, the first elders were sent to Canada for the purpose of doing missionary work. These elders included: Phinehas Young, Joseph Young, Elial Strong, Eleazer Miller, and Enos Curtis.

Phinehas Young wrote about their efforts in Earnestown, Upper Canada:

We arrived in Earnest Town at the close of the yearly conference of the Methodist Reformed Church, and attended their quarterly meeting on the Sabbath. The priests had heard that I had become a Mormon, and consequently did not know me, although it was not two years since I had preached in the house and attended a conference with the most of them where we then were. At the close of the meeting I begged the privilege of preaching in their meeting-house at five the same evening, which they very reluctantly granted. I had a full house and good liberty, and at the close of my meeting I had more invitations to preach than I could attend to, but I sent seven appointments to different places for the ensuing week. (Phinehas Young, "Autobiography" Millennial Star, XXV, June 6, 1863, 375-78, quoted in Melvin S. Tagg's dissertation, "A History of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints in Canada, 1830-1963). Elial Strong also wrote of their labors in Earnestown:
Here, thousands flocked to hear the strange news; even so that the houses could not contain the multitude, and we had to repair to the groves. Hundreds were searching the scriptures to see if these things were so. Many were partly convinced and some were wholly so when we left, and a small branch was founded there. . . . We have labored under some disadvantage, not having instructions till within a few months past, respecting this great work, other than the Articles, Book of Mormon and the Comforter. (Evening and Morning Star, Vol 1, No. 12, May 1833).
Joseph Young remained in Canada while the other elders returned to their families. Joseph was able to organize another branch of the Church before returning to his home. During December 1832, John P. Greene went to preach in Canada and to raise funds from the Canadian Saints for the Kirtland Temple. In just one month, he baptized forty-five people and organized several branches including one at West Loughborough (now Storrington). (Tagg dissertation, 17-18).

During December 1832, Brigham and Joseph Young again went to preach the gospel to Canadian people in the Kingston area. They walked on foot from Mendon, New York, "most of the way through snow and mud from one to two feet deep." Of this journey, Brigham Young wrote:

In crossing from Gravelly Point to Kingston, on the ice which had frozen the night previous, the ice was very thin and bent under our feet, so that in places the water was half shoe deep, and we had to separate from each other, the ice not being capable of holding us. We travelled about six miles on the ice, arrived in Kingston, and found a friend who was going that evening near the place where we were first to call. We commenced preaching and bearing our testimony to the people. Proceeding to West Loboro, we remained about one month preaching the gospel there and in the regions round about. We baptized about 45 souls, and organized the West Loboro and other branches. (Watson ed., Manuscript History of Brigham Young.)
Artemus and Susannah Millet and William Draper were among these converts. In February, 1833, the Youngs returned to Mendon by crossing Lake Ontario on the ice.

William Draper recorded in his history:

In June 1832, for the first time, I heard the gospel preached by Elder Miller and others in company with him, and in January 1833 I heard Brigham Young preach the same gospel and I believed it. This was all in the Township: of Lougborough, Upper Canada, and I was baptized March 20th, 1833; and in June the same year was ordained a priest under the hands of Brigham Young, and I bore testimony and traveled and preached as circumstances permitted. (Our Pioneer Heritage, Vol. 15, p.66)
During April of 1833, Brigham Young journeyed back to Canada. At Loughborough he found seventeen recent converts. On May 27, 1833 his journal entry read: "Went to Loburro, had a prayer meeting in the evening, found the brethren in good health and in good spirits." He labored in Canada until July 1, 1833. He decided to go with the James Lake family and others (a total of almost thirty converts) to Kirtland, Ohio. This was Brigham Youngs' second visit to Kirtland, and the second time he was able to spend time with the Prophet Joseph Smith. (Arrington, Brigham Young: American Moses, 35-36)

By April, 1833 there were about 150 converts in the Kingston area. Branches were organized in Kingston, Earnestown, Loughborough, and West Loughborough. ("'Plucking Not Planting,' Mormonism in Eastern Canada 1830-1850).

In October 1833, the Prophet Joseph Smith went to Canada along with Sidney Rigdon. Freeman Nickerson, a recent convert, persuaded the prophet to journey to the vicinity of Mount Pleasant, to share the gospel with his family. Freeman took the company to the home of his son, Freeman A. Nickerson. His son was not very enthusiastic about the visit. He told his father, "Well Father, I will welcome them for your sake, but I would just as soon you had brought a nest of vipers and turned them loose on us." During the first day's visit, the visitors just visited pleasantly with the family, they did not have any gospel conversations.

Freeman (the son) said to his wife, "Oh just let him [Joseph] talk, I'll silence him if he undertakes to talk about the Bible. I guess I know as much about the scriptures as he does." Later in the evening, he said to Joseph, "Now Mr. Smith, I wish you and Mr. Rigdon to speak freely. Say what you wish and tell us what you believe. We will listen." He then was overheard as he whispered to his wife, "Now you'll see how I'll shut him up!"

Joseph Smith commenced into a powerful discourse, testifying of seeing angels, of translating the gold plates, and shared gospel principles of the restoration. Lydia Baily [later wife of Newel Knight] was a tenant at the house, who participated in this fireside meeting. She later described that Joseph's face became very white and had a shining glow beaming from every feature. Sidney Rigdon next spoke with great power. Their host was deeply touched and knew that they spoke the truth. A few days later, Freeman A. Nickerson was baptized, ordained an elder and appointed the president of the branch at Mount Pleasant.

On an evening later that week, the new members of the Church, including Lydia Baily, gathered in a parlor listening to the Prophet Joseph. Moses Nickerson expressed a wish that someone could receive the gift of tongues. The Prophet replied: "If one of you will rise up and open your mouth it shall be filled, and you shall speak in tongues." Lydia Baily arose, filled with the spirit, and spoke in tongues with praises to God. "The spirit of tongues was upon her, and she was clothed in a shining light, so bright that all present saw it with great distinctness above the light of the fire and the candles." (Susa Young Gates, "Lydia Knight's History," 20-23. See also Dave Kenison's Church History story: http://www.xmission.com/~dkenison/lds/ch_hist/arc/lk_bapt.html )

Of this evening, Joseph Smith recorded in his journal: "One of the sisters received the gift of tongues, which made the Saints rejoice exceedingly. May God increase the gifts among them for his Son's sake." (Journal History, Oct 24, 1833)

Joseph Smith and Sydney Rigdon soon returned to Kirtland. In December, 1833, Moses Nickerson wrote in a letter from Canada to the prophet:

Your labors in Canada have been the beginning of a good work; there are thirty-four members attached to the Church at Mount Pleasant, all of whom appear to live up to their profession, five of whom have spoken in tongues, and three have sung in tongues; and we live at the top of the mountain. The scriptures have been opened to my view beyond expectations. Send us missionaries. Send those that you have confidence in, or none; the work requires competent workmen. (History of the Church, 2:40, and Journal History, December 20, 1833).

The new Church branches in Canada continued to make progress, but struggled because of they lacked experienced leadership. Letters were sent to Kirtland requesting more missionaries. Joseph Smith met with the High Council on February 20, 1834, and the following meeting minutes were recorded:

The President then asked if there were any Elders present who would go to Canada, and preach the Gospel to that people; for they have written a number of letters for help. And the whole Council felt as though the Spirit required the Elders to go there. It was, therefore, decided by the Council, that Lyman E. Johnson and Milton Holmes should travel together to Canada; that Zebedee Coltrin and Henry Herriman travel together into Canada; and that Jared Carter and Phineas Young travel together, if they can so arrange their affairs at home as to be liberated. (History of the Church, 2:35)
It appears that these brethren did not end up going into Canada during that year. Attentions shifted toward raising Zion's Camp, to march to Missouri. However, John P. Greene was sent to Upper Canada to gather men and funds to support Zion's Camp. He left Kirtland on May 7, 1834, and traveled first to Mount Pleasant, where the Nickerson's lived. Elder Greene reported:
I was received with expressions of joy by all the brethren, who were truly desirous to be instructed more perfectly in the word of the Lord. I labored in this region about two months with a good degree of satisfaction many believed the word and some turned unto the Lord; while others were prevented by unbelieving friends; and many were stumbling at the vile calumnies that satan and his children were heaping upon the innocent, to stop the work of the Lord. But his name be praised! his word is sown in Canada; it has taken root in good ground. (Messenger and Advocate, 1:7)
While laboring at Mount Pleasant, Elder Greene baptized two people which grew the branch's membership to 43 members. In August Zerubbabel Snow was also sent to labor for the Church in Canada.

Many of the new converts in Canada desired to gather to be with the Church in Kirtland. On September 11, 1834, William Draper was part of a company of Canadian Saints who made the journey south. He recorded:

I then in company with Daniel Wood and family; with my family that consisted of wife and two children. I there and then bid adieu to Canada, to my birth place, and to my father and mother, brothers and sisters, for the sake of the gospel and together with the Saints to Kirtland, Ohio, which we reached the 24th of the same month and I was satisfied and rejoiced at meeting some of my old friends, brethren from Canada, and more satisfied to see the face and hear the voice of the Prophet Joseph and from him and his brethren received much valuable instruction. (William Draper Autobiography, typescript, 1)
In 1835 the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles was organized. Six of these newly called apostles went to Canada and gathered for a conference at Loughborough on June 29, 1835. The Apostles were David W. Patten, Heber C. Kimball, Luke S. Johnson, Orson Pratt, John F. Boynton, and Lyman E. Johnson. At that time there were twenty-five members in the branch. Frederick M. Van Leuven, was appointed presiding Elder. (History of the Church, 2:235).

Peter Dustin served a mission to Canada, starting in June 1835. He reported his success at Malahide: "I have succeeded in establishing a church there, which is composed of 32 members. They are young and unacquainted with the devices of the adversary, whose aim and business is, if possible, to make them miserable. Brethren, pray for them, that they may continue and not be moved in the hour of temptation." (Messenger and Advocate, 2:207.)

Orson Pratt served a successful mission to the Mount Pleasant area in 1836. On April 27, Orson Pratt and Freeman Nickerson went to the village of Brantford. They obtained permission to preach in the school house and spread word through the town that a meeting would be held on the next evening.

On that next evening people crowded into the school house. As Elder Pratt opened the meeting with a scripture, a man named Lewis Burwell, a Methodist, arose and requested that Elder Pratt answer a few questions. "To what church do you belong?" Elder Pratt replied, "To the Church of Latter Day Saints slanderously called Mormons." "Do you believe in the book of Mormon?" "Yes sir, with all my heart." Mr. Burwell professed that he had read the book and spoke harshly about it. He then asked Elder Pratt if he could speak with tongues and prophesy. Elder Pratt had not desire to boast about things of the Spirit. The man pressed for an answer but Elder Pratt said he was under no obligation to answer, but wished to deliver his discourse which would explain the Church's beliefs in plainess. The man insisted that his questions be answered before Elder Pratt's talk. Orson Pratt wrote this in his journal:

About this time the congregation began to stamp with their feet and hiss; they also began to be divided; the more part were determined to hear, while the remainder said that I should not preach, and the whole house was in an uproar, some crying one thing and some another; some crying liberty of conscience as loud as they could hollow; while other were yelling delusion, imposter, etc., and they began to contend one with another very sharply, becoming angry they proceeded to blows; two or three were knocked down in the school house. The noise was such for one or two hours that it might have been heard some distance, but I stood in the pulpit very much composed, lifting my heart in silent prayer that the Lord would deliver me out of their hands unhurt. (Orson Pratt Journals, Watson, comp., p.78)
Finally, someone did pull Elder Pratt off the pulpit, but a kind man helped him to escape out into the street. The congregation followed. Elder Pratt continued:
Seeing myself surrounded by a multitude, part friends and part foes, I concluded the better way of escape would be to go into a tavern, pass out the back door, which I accordingly did, being accompanied with two men as guides. I travelled that night to Mount Pleasant on foot and alone, pondering upon the scene through which I had passed and the corruptions of this generation. The next day (April 29) the people in Brantford sent an express requesting me to come the next evening and preach, with an assurance that I should be protected. I accordingly went, had a crowded house and good attention; and after my discourse I gave liberty to ask questions, four arose one at a time, and brought forth their objections till they ran themselves out of arguments, and some of the assembly began to hiss at them. The meeting was closed and the people departed without any disturbance. (Ibid.)

One evening in April, 1836, Parley P. Pratt heard a knock at his door in Kirtland, Ohio. Elder Heber C. Kimball came in, blessed the family and prophesied:

Thou shalt go to Upper Canada, even to the city of Toronto, the capital, and there thou shalt find a people prepared for the fullness of the gospel, and they shall receive thee, and thou shalt organize the Church among them, and it shall spread thence into the regions round about, and many shall be brought to the knowledge of the truth and shall be filled with joy. (Parley Pratt Autobiography, 110)
A few days later, Elder Pratt left on his mission to Canada, traveling with Brother Freeman A. Nickerson. They made their way to the city of Hamilton, where they set up several meetings. Brother Nickerson parted with Elder Pratt, in order to travel to his hometown of Mount Pleasant. Elder Pratt preached to the people of Hamilton on Sunday. He knew that he needed to press on to Toronto, but didn't have the funds to buy a ticket on a steamer. As he was pondering what he should do, he decided to turn to the Lord for help. He retired to a place in a forest and prayed that a way would be opened for him to cross the lake to Toronto. He went back into Hamilton and in a few minutes met a stranger who turned out to be Moses Nickerson. Moses gave Elder Pratt ten dollars and a letter of introduction to a business acquaintance in Toronto, John Taylor.

Elder Pratt arrived in Toronto that evening and went to the Taylor home. John Taylor at that time served as a preacher in the Methodist church. Elder Pratt was received into the Taylor home. When John Taylor discovered the Elder Pratt was a Mormon, he felt somewhat annoyed that his friend Mr. Nickerson would have referred this Mormon to him. John Taylor was as courteous as he had to be, "but the reception he gave him could not be called cordial." (B.H. Roberts, The Life of John Taylor, 3334)

Elder Pratt left the Taylor home and found lodgings at a public house. In the morning he started to visit all of the clergy in town, seeking an opportunity to preach in their churches. He was forcefully refused. He tried other public places, but was also turned away. Elder Pratt later wrote:

What could I do more? I had exhausted my influence and power without effect. I now repaired to a pine grove just out of the town, and, kneeling down, called on the Lord, bearing testimony of my unsuccessful exertions; my inability to open the way; at the same time asking Him in the name of Jesus to open an effectual door for His servant to fulfil his mission in that place. (Parley Pratt Autobiography, 114)
Elder Pratt arose and decided to go see John Taylor. As they were talking, Mrs. Taylor was entertaining a friend Mrs. Isabella Walton. She said to her, "Mrs. Walton . . . there is a gentleman here from the United States who says the Lord sent him to this city to preach the gospel. He has applied in vain to the clergy and to the various authorities for opportunity to fulfil his mission, and is now about to leave the place. He may be a man of God; I am sorry to have him depart." Mrs Walter believed that she had been led to the Taylor home that morning by the Spirit. She told Mrs. Taylor to tell Elder Pratt that he was welcome to preach in her home. That night he preached his first sermon in Toronto, in the Walton home to a number of curious listeners.

On the next day, Mrs. Walton asked Elder Pratt to visit a blind widow, the mother of four children. Elder Pratt related:

I called on the poor blind widow and helpless orphans, and found them in a dark and gloomy apartment, rendered so by having every ray of light obscured to prevent its painful effects on her eyes. I related to her the circumstances of my mission, and she believed the same. I laid my hands upon her in the name of Jesus Christ, and said unto her, "Your eyes shall he well from this very hour." She threw off her bandages; opened her house to the light; dressed herself, and walking with open eyes, came to the meeting that same evening at sister Walton's, with eyes as well and as bright as any other person's.
This healing cause quite a stir among the Methodists who tried to warn and persuade the widow to disassociate herself from Elder Pratt. In the meantime, the meetings at Mrs. Walton's home gradually increased until the people spilled out into her yard. For more details see: http://www.xmission.com/~dkenison/lds/ch_hist/arc/ppp_blin.html

On a Sunday evening, Elder Pratt was invited to attend a Bible study meeting. John Taylor was among the group, one of the few who knew Elder Pratt. The discussion of the evening centered around the ancient Christian Church and how it differed from present-day Christianity. Eventually Elder Pratt was invited to speak. He testified about a falling away from the truth. His listeners were so interested in his words, that they invited him to speak the following evening. He did, and testified of the restoration of the gospel. Elder Pratt related:

The truth was now plainly before this people, who had been in so wonderful a manner prepared for its reception, as predicted by brother Kimball on my head before leaving home. The man of the house now rejected me, and the meeting of seekers after truth left his house, and came and were baptized and held their meetings at the house of the widow Walton, who had received me, and who was now baptized with all her household, who were of sufficient age to receive the gospel. (Parley Pratt Autobiography, 127)
John Taylor began a serious investigation of the Church. He wrote down eight of Parley P. Pratt's sermons and compared them with the Bible. "I made a regular business of it for three weeks and followed Brother Parley from place to place." Soon he was convinced. On May 9, 1836, John and Leonora Taylor were baptized. (B.H. Roberts, The Life of John Taylor, 39).

Also on that day, Parley P. Pratt wrote a letter to Oliver Cowdery which included: "Last Sunday, I preached in the heart of the city in the open air; hundreds flocked to hear, and solemnity and good order were seen through all the crowd. God gave me a voice like a trump, so that many from all the surrounding houses and streets were enabled to hear distinctly." (Messenger and Advocate, May 1836, 317-18).

John Taylor was ordained an Elder shortly after his baptism in May, 1836. He immediately began to help with the missionary work in the Toronto area. Sometime in May, Parley P. Pratt and John Taylor traveled nine miles out of Toronto, the Charleton, to visit the Fielding family. John Taylor was acquainted with the family. Joseph Fielding lived with his sisters Mercy and Mary Fielding. [Mary Fielding later was the wife of Hyrum Smith, and mother of the prophet Joseph F. Smith.] When the two young ladies saw the Mormons coming, they fled to a neighbor's home. They didn't want to be seen associated with Mormons!

Joseph Fielding greeted the missionaries but told them that he was sorry that they had made the journey. The prejudice in the area was against them and the local minister was refusing to let them speak in his Church. Joseph Fielding said he too was not interested in new revelations. But Mr. Fielding informed them that a local farmer was willing to have them hold a meeting in his home. Elder Pratt said: "Come then, send for your sisters, we will take supper with you, and all go over to meeting together. If you and your sisters will agree to this, I will agree to preach the old Bible gospel, and leave out all new revelations which are opposed to it."

The Fielding sisters came home and they had a wonderful supper. The meeting was very successful. The people wished to hear more. Other meetings were scheduled and in a few days, Joseph Fielding and his two sisters were baptized along with many others in the neighborhood. (Parley Pratt Autobiography, 128)

Elder Orson Pratt, Parley's brother, arrived in Toronto on May 20, to assist in the work for a few weeks. By the end of May, twenty-five people had come into the Church in Toronto.

Mary Horne [Hales] had recently married. She felt settle in life. In June, 1836 her life drastically changed. She wrote:

About the first of June, of that year, report came to us that a man professing to be sent of God to preach to the people would hold a meeting about a mile from our house. My husband decided that we should go and hear him. We accordingly went, and there first heard Elder Orson Pratt. We were very much pleased with his sermon. Another meeting was appointed for the following week, and Elder Pratt told us that business called him away, but his brother, Parley P. Pratt, would be with us and preach in his stead. I invited my father to go with us to hear him, and the appointed evening found all of his family at the "Mormon" meeting.

Elder Pratt told us that God was an unchangeable being--the same yesterday -- today, and forever--and taught us the gospel in its purity. . . . My father was so delighted with the sermon that he left the Methodist Church and attended the "Mormon" meetings altogether; and in a short time every member of his family had received and obeyed the gospel. This made quite a stir among the Methodists. One of the class leaders came to converse with us, and used every argument he could to convince us that Mormonism was false, but without avail. "Well," said he, finally, "there are none but children and fools who join them," and left us to our fate. [Mary was baptized in July.] (Mary Hales autobiography, in Kenneth Hales, comp., Windows 30-31)

In June Orson Pratt went to preach in New York and Elder Orson Hyde arrived to labor with Elder Parley P. Pratt. Elder Hyde wrote about one of their experiences which took place in Scarborough:
At one meeting a learned Presbyterian priest came in just at the close, and bade us a challenge for debate. We, at first, declined, saying that we had all the labor we could attend to without debate. But nothing would answer the priest but debate. We then said, debate it should be. Accordingly, time and place were agreed upon, and also the terms and conditions. Before the debate came off, Elder Pratt was called home [to Kirtland] as a witness in a case at law, and left me to meet the champion alone.

The time arrived, and about one acre of people assembled in a grove, wagons arranged for pulpits opposite each other, and presently the priest came with some less than a mule-load of books, pamphlets and newspapers, containing all the slang of an unbelieving world. The meeting was duly opened by prayer. All things being ready, the battle began by a volley of grape and canister from my battery, which was returned with vigor and determined zeal. Alternate cannonading, half hour each, continued until dinner was announced. An armistice was proclaimed, and the parties enjoyed a good dinner with their respective friends. (Orson Hyde autobiography, in Millennial Star 26 (1864), 791-92)

After two hours, they again took up the debate. Soon the minister proclaimed: "Abominable! I have heard enough of such stuff." He gathered up pile of books and fled. Shortly thereafter, forty people were baptized into the Church. Elder Hyde penned in his history, perhaps with a smile, "It is highly probably that he [the minister] has never since challenged a 'Mormon' preacher for debate. "

In late June, 1836, Elder Parley P. Pratt returned to Toronto with his wife. He summed up the missionary progress thus: "The work I had commenced was still spreading its influence, and the Saints were still increasing in faith and love, in joy and in good works. There were visions, prophesyings, speaking in tongues and healings, as well as the casting out of devils and unclean spirits." (Parley Pratt Autobiography, 129)

In July, Elder Pratt experienced a powerful dream in the Spirit where the Lord told him: "Go unto the people and cry unto them with a mighty voice that they repent." This gave him more determined courage and he continued to lift up his voice in the various towns, calling the people to obey the gospel. In the autumn, after a very successful mission, Elders Pratt and Hyde returned to Kirtland, Ohio.

During the spring of 1836, the Prophet Joseph Smith called John E. Page to serve a mission to Canada. Brother Page was destitute of clothing and replied to the Prophet that he could not go, that he did not even have a coat to wear. Joseph Smith removed his own coat, handed it to Brother Page and promised him that the Lord would bless him abundantly. The promise came true. John E. Page was probably the most successful missionary who has ever preached the restored gospel in Canada. See http://www.xmission.com/~dkenison/lds/ch_hist/arc/js_page.html

On May 31, 1836, John E. Page left for his mission. He traveled to Leeds county in Upper Canada. He labored primarily north of Kingston, in the Rideau Canal district, in Portland, North Crosby, and Boston Mills. Elder Page found great success. In just a two month period from September to November, ninety-seven people were baptized.

On November 16, 1836, John E. Page presided over a conference of the Church. During the conference, three brethren were ordained elders. Elder Page spoke on Acts 20:28-29 and warned the Church officers to do their duty, "that the church may be built up in the most holy faith." He instructed those newly called to positions. He also warned the members to be faithful "and to live in the fear of God in order to be prepared to meet him on mount Zion."

In January, 1837, John E. Page returned to Kirtland and shared news of progress in Canada with the Church periodical, "Messenger and Advocate":

A wide door is opening in that country for preaching; and I humbly trust that my brethren in the ministry will not be slothful in improving the opportunity to promulgate the truth, that the blood of souls may not be found in their garments. Truth is triumphing; error is falling; saints are rejoicing, and Babylon is howling, because of her losses. And for the same let thanksgiving and praise be ascribed to God and the Lamb. (Messenger and Advocate, Vol 3, No. 4, 447)
Elder Page returned to Canada on February 16, 1837 and continued his labors. This time he brought his family with him. On June 10, 1837, a Church conference was held at Portland, Canada. Wilford Woodruff was present. Eight branches consisting of a total of 300 members were represented. Seven elders were ordained. Elder Woodruff spoke on 2 Cor 4:3-4: "But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost: In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them." Elder Page spoke about priesthood authority.

Elder Page reported: "The Lord truly crowned the above conference with his holy Spirit, poured out upon the brethren and sisters to the great joy and comfort of all the saints: There were five baptized on this conference occasion, making in all 305 being the fruits of the labors of elder James Blakeslee and myself in the last thirteen months." (Messenger and Advocate, Vol 3, No. 11, 559)

Two days after this conference, Elder Woodruff was asked to bless two children. He recorded:

I called upon Sister Garner to present before us two of her children who were sick, one was a suckling child who lay at the point of death. I took it up in my arms, presented it before the Elders, who laid their hands upon it, while it lay in my arms, and we healed it in the name of Jesus Christ, and I returned it whole to its mother. The other child was also healed, the parents praising God for His goodness. (Wilford Woodruff's Journal, quoted in Melvin S. Tagg's dissertation, "A History of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints in Canada, 1830-1963, 41).
While on his mission, John E. Page learned that he had been called to serve as one of the Twelve Apostles. By the end of his mission in 1838, Elder Page had seen nearly 600 people come into the Church. On May 14, 1838, he left Canada with a company of about one hundred Canadian Saints in thirty wagons. They traveled first to Kirtland, Ohio, and then on to De Witt, Missouri. In just a few weeks, the Canada Company was driven out of De Witt by a mob and fled to Far West, Missouri. (Jenson, LDS Biographical Encyclopedia, 1:92).

Before Parley P. Pratt left Canada during the fall of 1836, John Taylor was appointed to preside over the Church in the Toronto area. In March, 1837, John Taylor visited Kirtland and witnessed the sad apostasy taking place in the city. He even had an occasion to testify with power to the wavering Parley P. Pratt. See Dave Kenison's CH Story at: http://www.xmission.com/~dkenison/lds/ch_hist/arc/jt_loyal.html

John Taylor soon returned to Canada with Isaac Russell and others. On the way, they held a meeting under a high cliff below Niagara Falls. During this spiritual meeting, John Taylor, a convert of only one year, spoke in tongues for the first time. The brethren rejoiced during that spiritual meeting.

Shortly after Elder Taylor returned to Toronto, Sampson Avard, a high priest visited him and claimed that he had the right to preside over the Church in Toronto. He presented Elder Taylor with an signed appointment from the High Priest Quorum at Kirtland. Elder Taylor humbly stepped aside and went to Whitby County to preach. What Elder Taylor did not know was that Brother Avard had received his appointment from an apostate faction in Kirtland -- the appointment had not been sanctioned by the Prophet.

In 1837 the Prophet Joseph Smith again visited Canada. He left Kirtland on July 27, 1837 with Sidney Rigdon, Thomas Marsh, Brigham Young, and Albert P. Rockwood. When Joseph Smith arrived at Toronto, he sent for John Taylor to make arrangements for a conference. When Elder Taylor arrived, he explained that Brother Avard was presiding over the Toronto branches. Joseph insisted that there had been a mistake, that no such appointment had been made. The Prophet gave instructions to John Taylor regarding Church government and then lovingly invited him to accompany him as they visited the branches. Elder Taylor recalled: "This was as great a treat to me as I ever enjoyed. I had daily opportunity of conversing with them, of listening to their instructions, and in participating in the rich stores of intelligence that flowed continually from the Prophet Joseph." (Roberts, Life of John Taylor, 43).

At Scarboro Joseph Smith confronted Sampson Avard and reproved him severely for coming to Toronto with false papers. He also reproved Elder Taylor for yielding the office so quickly, but noted Elder Taylor's youth and inexperience. Before leaving Canada, the brethren ordained John Taylor to the office of High Priest. He was again appointed to preside over the branches in Canada.

During the fall of 1837, John Taylor received word that he had been called to be one of the Twelve Apostles. Elder Taylor had previously received a manifestation that he would be called into the quorum, but he kept it to himself. Elder Taylor soon bid good-bye to the brothers and sisters in Canada, and traveled to Kirtland.

The political situation in Canada became tense as rumors circulated of a pending rebellion against England. These worries contributed to a strong desire among the Canadian Saints to gather with the main body of the Church in the United States. Several groups left Canada. One group left during May, 1837, with two hundred wagons. John E. Page led another group in May 1838. These Canadian Saints gathered with the Saints in Missouri.

My 3rd-Great-Grandfather, Theodore Turley was among those who emigrated. Theodore Turley was a Methodist preacher in 1836. He loaned his church to the Mormon Elders and asked his congregation to attend and listen. Later, Issac Russell came to Theodore to preach to him. Theodore Turley later explained that Elder Russell "came to me and said he had been warned in a dream that he must come to my house and preach. I received the truth the first time I heard it, and my wife also was baptized on the 1st of March 1837." Brother Turley was called on the following day to serve a mission and brought seventeen members into the Church within three weeks. During the summer of 1838 he sold his farm for $1400 and traveled with several other families to Far West, Missouri. (The Theodore Turley Family Book, 6-7).

Zadoc Judd recalled his experience as a nine-year-old boy, making the journey from Canada to Missouri in 1837:

We made quite a show for that time of year. The wagon tires rolling on the frozen snow could be heard for a long distance. It all went well with the company except the cold weather, but with me it was too much walking. I drove cows. My stiff leg and weak ankles could not stand it. In four or five days we arrived at the St. Lawrence River and I was so badly used up I was obliged to ride the rest of the way and it was several days after we arrived at the place of destination before I could stand on my feet (Zadoc Judd Autobiography, 4).
Some of the more notable Canadian Saints who emigrated about this time were: Arza and Salina Adams, Charles D. Barnum, Benjamin and Susannah Boyce, Stephen and Amanda Chipman, John and Harriet Ellis, Joseph Fielding, Mary Fielding, Peter Haws, George and Martha Hicks, Joseph and Isabella Horne, Arza Judd [President Hinckley's great-great grandfather], Zadoc Judd, Andrew Lamoreaux, James Leithead, Isaac and Mary, Russell, William Seeley, John Snyder, William H. Staker, Henry Stephens, Walter Stevens, John and Leonora Taylor, William Taylor, Parshall and Hannah Terry, Robert B. Thompson, Theodore and Frances Turley, and Alexander Wright.

Missionaries continued to labor in Upper Canada from 1839 until 1847 when the Saints left for the west.

In the spring of 1839 Homer Duncan was arrested in Toronto on charges of being a spy. He was acquitted and received a pass to preach throughout Canada. Elder Homer Duncan labored in Coburg, Canada with Amos Hodges. During their labors they experience dreams which came to pass and healed individuals by the power of the priesthood. The elders taught the gospel to the Hoard family. Elder Duncan wrote:

After holding a meeting, we went to a place where there was water and baptized Mrs. Hoard. Her husband's brother wished to be baptized also; but he had cut his foot with an ax and was compelled to walk on crutches. He disliked going in the water, for fear it would injure his foot. I told him that the Lord did not institute ordinances in his Church that would injure anyone, so he walked into the water on his crutches and was be baptized. He came out of the water and walked about half a mile to his home without his crutches, and his foot troubled him no more. By this time certain sectarian ministers began to say that these miracles were done by the power of the devil, etc. (Andrew Jenson, LDS Biographical Encyclopedia, 1:622.)
Azra Adams began laboring in Upper Canada, in August 1839. By the end of the year he had traveled 2477 miles. By May, he and other missionaries baptized seventy-two people. At times he also met opposition. He wrote in his journal this entry:
One family by the name of Peter Cameron, his wife sent for me to come and see her and when I arrived she had many accusations against the Church, but I told her they were false. And I preached Christ to her and I soon found that conviction had fastened on her and she attended meeting and said I preached the truth. It was on the first principles from lst Galatians, and I pray God to take care of them in my absence. Oh, that they might be convinced unto obedience. (Arza Adams, Journal 2, BYU, p. 9)
The gospel continued to spread. Elder John Morrison baptized twenty people during his stay in Kingston in 1841. On April 1, 1840, Alexander Hill (my 4th-great-grandfather) and his family were baptized by Samuel Lake in the town of Tosorontio. Soon after joining the Church, many of these new converts gathered with the Saints in Nauvoo, Illinois. During September 1842, the Hills, including my 3rd-great-grandparents, Archibald and Isabella Hill made the journey to Nauvoo. (Judith Swaw, "Alexander Hill Family History, 47).

In 1844 the gospel was brought to the Robert Gardner family in Kent County, Canada. After listening carefully to the Mormon elders, the Gardners were baptized in January 1845. Robert Gardner Jr. recalled:

In the beginning of January 1845 in company with a few Saints we went a mile and half into the woods and cut a hole in the ice about 18 inches thick and was there baptized in the township of Brook in a stream called Brown's Creek. I was there baptized by my brother William who had been ordained an elder, and I was confirmed by another elder, named Samuel Bolton, on a log by the water's edge that was the happiest day of my life up to that date. I can't describe my [feelings] but I felt as humble as a little child to think I had lived to have my sins remitted and received the Holy Ghost. It being winter time there was little work done by me for I wanted to spend all his time studying the scriptures and the Book of Mormon and other latter-day work.

I had no trouble in believing the Book of Mormon for I had a burning testimony in my bosom every time I took the book. It was so plain to me I thought I had nothing to do but run and tell my neighbors and they would believe it all. Mother was a Methodist but never fought against the gospel but believed it right along after awhile she was taken very sick not expected to live. She wished to be baptized. Our neighbors said if you put her in the water we will have you tried for murder for she will surely die. But we put her on a sled and took her two miles through the snow and then cut a hole in the ice and baptized her in the presence of those who came to see her die. One man declared if she did not [die] that night he would be a Mormon next day. The next day he met her going to her daughter's; she was on foot. He gazed at her as if he had seen a ghost. He gave her the road but never spoke nor never joined the church. (Robert Gardner Autobiography, BYU 7-8.)

After the Prophet Joseph Smith was martyred in 1844, only a few missionaries were sent to Upper Canada. During the winter of 1845-46, the Saints were encouraged to gather to Nauvoo, to prepare for the journey west. John A. Smith was sent from Nauvoo to call the Canadian Saints to gather as "there was no time to lose." Many Saints answered the call. Others stayed behind. Some struggled to continue firm in the faith, but many who stayed behind fell away from the gospel. (Bennett, "Plucking Not Planting," 27)

Nearly 2,000 Canadians joined the Church by the mid-1840s, but in the 1851 Census, only 247 people responded that they were members of the Church.

As many Canadians emigrated with the Saints west, for many years the Church in Upper Canada (Ontario) struggled with small numbers. In 1854 George P. Waugh was sent on a mission to Canada. His companions were James C. Sly and Amos Guston. On April 24, 1855, they held a conference in Canboro with twelve members. At that time they also baptized twelve more people. But the missionary field there was discouraging to the elders. They reported that apostates were distributing literature against the church and that followers of James J. Strang had been in the area spreading untruths about Brigham Young and the leadership of the Church. (Melvin S. Tagg's dissertation, "A History of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints in Canada, 1830-1963).

In 1856 Robert Gardner and William Twitchell preached the gospel in Upper Canada. In London, Canada, they were able to bring several former members back into the Church. In 1857 four elders were sent to Upper Canada: George Goddard, Alexander Robbins, Henry L. Southworth, and Sam R. Aiken. They visited with members in St. Catherines but did not find people who were interested in embracing the gospel. In Toronto David E. Norton was rebaptized and appointed to preside over the Toronto branch. Missionary work at that time was hampered because of polygamy rumors and rumors of the U.S. Army marching to Utah.

Later in 1857 several of the Canadian Saints, including David E. Norton, made plans to emigrate to Utah. Among these Saints was Isabella Walton, who had befriended Parley P. Pratt back in 1836. Sister Walton had gone with the Saints to Missouri in 1838 but lost her faith and returned to Toronto. In 1857 she was rebaptized into the Church. (Ibid 69-70).

From 1858 until 1919 very little missionary work took place and the Saints, in what later became known as Ontario, were few and far between. The 1861 Canadian Census reported only 74 Church members in the Country. In 1870 the US Census showed that there were 566 Canadian-born people in Utah. This figure does not include the hundreds who had been born in England, migrated to Canada, and later joined the Church.

In the 1870s George Lake visited his relatives in Upper Canada on the way back from his mission to England. George's parents, James and Philomela Lake had been converted by Brigham Young. George Lake recorded his visit to one of the relatives:

"Is Jim a Mormon yet?" meaning my Father. I answered, "Yes." Are you a Mormon? "Yes." "Where have you been?" "To England on a mission." At this he loosened his bolts and all were invited into the house when he began a better herang against the Mormons. After he had belched forth the venom that long since accumulated in his hear, I asked the liberty to reply which was granted . . . I gave an account of the restoration of the Gospel . . . which brought tears to the eyes of all present. At the close all was silent. The old gentleman stated that he had heard Brigham and Joseph Young and others of our leading men but never did he hear it as I explained it. (quoted in Bennett, "Plucking Not Planting," 27).
in 1882, Isabella Johnson, daughter of Issac Russell visited their former home in Canada. They visited with with an old settler, Mrs. Wardlow, who had heard Parley P. Pratt many years earlier. She asked where he was and was informed that he had been killed. She seemed pleased at that news. She also learned that Brigham Young had died.
She asked, "Who is your leader now?" The answer was "One of your old citizens, John Taylor." "Oh," said she, "I know him; how many wives has he got?" The reply was, "I cannot say exactly, three or four I suppose." "Oh," said she again, "Why don't they shoot him?" Noticing that her visitors did not share her views, Mrs. Wardlow asked, "You don't believe as we do." She was answered, "No, not exactly, we would not shoot a man for marrying, would rather shoot him for not marrying." Mrs. Wardlow excused herself and said, "But they took away all our neighbors." The reply came, "Well, the scriptures say the gospel shall gather two of a family and one of a city." "Oh," said she, "They not only took two of a family, but all the family, and not only all the family, but all the families." (Taken from Isabella Johnson, "History of Isaac Russell, 5, quoted from Tagg, 73).

During the early years of the twentieth century, the few remaining Church members in eastern Canada had limited contact with missionaries and the Church in Utah. In Hamilton, there were only twelve members of the Church. The only Church meetings were cottage meetings and Sunday Schools held in the homes of members. (William Goddard, "A History of the Mormons In The Hamilton Area 1833-1990.")

In 1914 the leaders in Salt Lake City determined that the gospel should again be taken to eastern Canada. However, World War I delayed these plans. A few missionaries from the Eastern and Northern States Missions proselyted up into Canada by 1919. On June 17, 1919, Nephi Jensen was set apart as President of the Canadian Mission. At General Conference of that year he said: "I am deeply grateful to my Heavenly Father for the confidence which the authorities of the Church have seen fit to repose in me; and I want to tell you, in the depths of humility, that I feel altogether inadequate to the task that has been assigned me. Never in my life have I been so deeply humbled."

Initially six missionaries were transferred in from the Eastern States mission and two from the Northern States mission. More missionaries were brought in from the Mormon settlements in Western Canada. (Melvin S. Tagg's dissertation, "A History of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints in Canada, 1830-1963).

On July 29, 1919 a conference was held at Toronto where President Jensen was sustained as the mission president. Andrew Sproul was called to serve as president of the Toronto Conference. A mission home was obtained at 36 Ferndale Avenue, in Toronto. (Encyclopedic History of The Church, Canadian Mission).

Sister Olivia Peterson of Huntsville, Utah married a non-Mormon traveling salesman by the name of Alex Davis, a native of Canada. The Davis family later moved to Canada and settled in the Hamilton area during World War I. In 1919 Sister Davis petitioned President Jensen to send missionaries to the Hamilton area. Missionaries soon arrived and a hall was rented for formal Church services. Soon a conference (district) of the Church was organized in Hamilton. (Goddard History)

During 1920 President Jensen preached sermons in the theaters of Toronto and Hamilton. The missionaries would also tract and hold street meetings. Such meetings were held at Gore Park and Market Square in Hamilton. President Jensen reported in October 1920 General Conference: "Just a few weeks ago, one of our lady missionaries in Canada went to a home in Toronto with the view of offering to the people of that home the Pearl of Great Price. When she made known to the folks that she was a 'Mormon,' the lady of the house sneered at her and scorned her, and said, 'I would rather feed a criminal than feed a "Mormon."'

Sister missionaries were also called to labor in the Hamilton area. In July 1920 Sisters Lillian Guthrie and Edith Matthews started the first Relief Society in Hamilton. In 1921, a sister missionary, Sister Venice Bills labored in Hamilton. The Canadian Mission Records reads:

....while tracting in Hamilton I had a conversation with a careworn woman. After the conversation the lady requested sister Bills to pray with her. Sister Bills did so, and at the close of a simple earnest prayer the lady said, "I feel that you are a messenger sent of God and I shall be glad to investigate your teachings." (Canadian Mission Records, May 1921, quoted in Goddard History)
The missionaries found success and at times mass baptisms would be scheduled in Toronto. In Hamilton baptisms would be conducted at the local YMCA. Sometime these services were held at Lake Ontario or Hamilton Bay.

In 1922 an anti-Mormon movie, "Trapped by the Mormons" played many times in Toronto stirring up some opposition. Street meetings often attracted hecklers. President Jensen shared this experience in October 1921 General Conference:

Just a few weeks ago a very intelligent gentleman in the city of Toronto visited three street meetings upon the same evening. These three meetings were all being conducted at the same time. In two of them bitter attacks were being made upon the Latter-day Saints. The other meeting was being conducted by our elders. The gentleman visited the two anti-"Mormon" meetings and then finally came to the meeting in which our elders were preaching the gospel of Jesus Christ. He remained at this meeting to the close. At the conclusion of the service, he approached one of the elders and told of his attendance at the other two meetings and asked the question, "Are the 'Mormons' the only people in the world?" Well, I hardly think that the Mormons are the only people in the world, but I am quite sure that they have the only religion in the World that has substance enough in it to keep the devil awake at nights.
The anti-Mormon storm continued to roar in Toronto during 1922. President Jensen began to become ill because of the strain of writing newspaper articles in defense of the Church. He request the Saints to fast and pray for him on a particular fast day. Before breaking their fast, the missionaries gathered at the mission home to pray. President Jensen recalled:
While these young men and women prayed for me, my flesh quivered all over, because of the power of God's Spirit which came upon me. One of my companions, a mere boy, scarcely out of his teens, laid his hands upon my head, and said, "You shall be made well from this very day." I can testify today, in the sincerity and gratitude of my heart, that those words came to me by the voice of the Holy Ghost. I can testify moreover that my heavenly Father has remembered those words, and made them true in my life. (General Conference, April 1922).

During the early 1920's in Ontario, anti-Mormon efforts continued to draw attention to the Church, influencing opinion both positively and negatively. In Ottawa there was a substantial following of the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (RLDS). An elder of the RLDS Church led an opposition movement against the Utah Church's missionary work. He published articles which the missionaries considered slanderous. President Nephi Jensen did his best to reply to these attacks in a dignified way. R.C. Russell, an RLDS apostle, came to Ottawa and held tent meetings to "unmask Mormonism." Some members of the RLDS Church joined the LDS Church and attacks became more bitter. Russell would follow the missionaries and disturb their street meetings. RLDS apostle J.F. Curtis participated with President Jensen in a "debate" which lasted twelve consecutive nights. This effort actually helped the animosity to subside. (Melvin S. Tagg's dissertation, "A History of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints in Canada, 1830-1963).

In February 1923, Joseph Quinney Jr. (first counselor in the Logan, Utah stake presidency) was called to succeed Nephi Jensen as the president of the Canadian Mission. Presidents Jensen and Quinney toured the mission during March to introduce the new mission president to the members and missionaries.

In 1924 the Saints in Hamilton started holding their meetings at the large IOF Hall. Alva O. Jones recalled:

Sundays we used the big room upstairs. We used to go up as deacons and Aaronic priesthood and get the benches put around because they were all around the side of the room from the Lodge Hall. We put them in rows, we used to have to pick up the spittoons, put them in the back room, get them out of sight; open the windows to get the cigar smoke out. Way back in those days they didn't have electric organs like they have now they had these big organs and they had a wooden handle sticking out the end of it like a pump handle. It was the Aaronic Priesthood's job to pump these handles to supply wind for the organ. We used to have eccentric organists, Brother Wells, if you didn't pump fast enough he would say "faster, faster" and you were glad when it was over, you hoped they didn't have long hymns, you wanted all short hymns. (From oral history submitted to LDSWorld-Gems by William Goddard.)
Because the Canadian mission covered such a large area of Canada the members didn't get to see the mission president too often. Ala O. Jones explains:
The Church was just struggling and starting to grow so everything was left to the Mission President . . . He didn't have counsellors in those days, he was just by himself. Of course he didn't have too many missionaries either. I think we knew every missionary in the whole Mission. We used to get to know them all. It was big area he had to look after, he was a very busy person, we only saw him once every three or four months. When he came in, he talked mostly to the missionaries and then he was gone. We hardly got a chance to talk to him at all. We were just sort of the blind leading the blind in those days. If we had problems and didn't know just how to do something didn't know the procedures or anything, we used to go to the missionaries and ask them: "Well how did you do this in your Ward?" This is the way we sort of managed to do things otherwise we were left on our own, we had to mull through. (Ibid)
During 1924 the prophet, Heber J. Grant, visited the Canadian Mission, including Toronto. Apostles George Albert Smith and James E. Talmage also came. President Quinney said in October 1924 General Conference:
We have been blessed beyond measure in having President Grant and these leaders with us. They left their impression upon the people of that land. I particularly call to mind the impressions that were made upon the people who had gathered together to hear President Grant and his party. They are still talking of it. President Grant took for one of his subjects the three witnesses to the Book of Mormon. After his discourse we were unable to supply the number who wanted to receive this sacred volume. . . . The visit of these leaders of the Church was an epoch in the history of the Canadian mission.
In 1925 there were 71 missionaries serving in the Canadian Mission which took in eastern Canada. The mission reported membership of 716 members. (Heber J. Grant, Conference Report, April 1925).

In 1927 Elder Charles H. Hart of the Seventy became the new Canadian Mission president. The boundaries of the mission were expanded into Maine, Vermont, and New Hampshire. The Canadian Mission headquarters was still in Toronto and took in the provinces of Ontario, Quebec, New Brunswick and Nova Scotia.

The Church's periodical, Improvement Era mentioned:

President Charles H. Hart of the Canadian mission reports very encouraging progress in the Hamilton district of that mission. During the year 1927 twenty-six souls were brought into the Church by baptism. During the present year there have been twelve baptisms, and the prospects for future growth are excellent. All elders of the mission are laboring zealously and with an abiding faith in the work they represent to bring the message of salvation to the people of that locality. ("Baptisms Performed in Canada," Improvement Era, Vol XXXI, August, 1928)

In 1931 John V. Bluth, former president of the North Weber Stake, was called to preside over the Canadian Mission. On accepting this call, President Bluth said:

I rejoice in the privilege of accepting the call that has come to me to preside over the Canadian Mission. I recognize the responsibility and I feel very humble in seeking to follow in the footsteps of those who have preceded me in that work, when I see the labor they have performed, the work that has been accomplished. . . . If one should take the lands within the Canadian Mission and divide them up between the men, women and children that comprise the membership of the Latter-day Saint Church in the Canadian Mission, each one would be entitled to 700,000 acres. From that you can decide whether the mission is extensive or whether the membership is small. As I find it, both are the case. (General Conference, April 1931)
After arriving to Canada, President and Sister Bluth toured the mission, covering 3,200 miles and holding 35 meetings. Elder Melvin J. Ballard of the Twelve visited the mission in June, 1931, touring the whole mission in twelve days, spending many hours on trains. In his labors, President Bluth had to devote half of his time in defense of the Church.

By 1933 the work has hindered by a decrease in the number of full-time missionaries. Four districts had to be abandoned, but the missionaries still found success in their labors. President Bluth reported:

Our baptisms have increased considerably over those of the entire past year, and there are quite a number of prospects who show an interest in the Gospel, a genuine interest, because of the principles taught. We feel to rejoice in the work of the Lord in that mission. It may be the gleaning time for we get them, one out of a city and another out of a county, here and there, but they are souls, children of God, and should be found. (General Conference, October 1933).
In 1933 there were 200 members of record in the Toronto Branch, 100 members in Hamilton, and a few in Ottawa. The Church auxiliaries were organized. A Gold and Green ball was held in the Hamilton Branch and a minstrel show was given in Toronto by local members and missionaries attracting an audience of 300. (Improvement Era, July 1933).

But baptisms were few. During the first four months in 1934 the entire Canadian mission only baptized ten people. For three months during 1934 the mission was visited by Patriarch James H. Wallis who gave patriarchal blessings to the Canadian Saints throughout the mission.

In 1935 Abel S. Rich took over as president of the Canadian Mission with headquarters in still in Toronto. In 1936 he said to the Saints in General Conference: "There are no more beautiful cities, I think, any place, than the city of Toronto, our headquarters. The fertile valleys of Ontario are beautiful. I think there are no more fruitful areas on the American continent than we find there." He reported that the people of Toronto were good people who obeyed the Sabbath Day. "In the city of Toronto, with eight hundred and fifty thousand people, there are no amusements open on Sunday, no athletic games, and the people seem not to feel that they are deprived of any of their rights, but they are happy in the observance of the Sabbath day." Nevertheless the missionaries had great difficulty finding people who were willing to listen to the restored gospel message. (General Conference, April, 1936).

During June 1936, Elder Charles A. Callis of the Twelve toured the mission, traveling 3,500 miles. President Rich said of the visit: "He inspired us all with his energy and zeal for the work, his appreciation for the beautiful and historic spots so numerous in the Canadian Mission, and above all with his knowledge and testimony of the Gospel."

In 1938 the first meetinghouse was constructed in the Canadian Mission, in Toronto. President Rich said: "Many of those Saints who have been in the Church for thirty years, or more, have never been inside of a Latter-day Saint meeting house, and when we were told that we might build a meeting house; with a recreational hall and class rooms, I cannot explain to you people the joy and happiness that came to those people over the prospects." (General Conference, October, 1938).

In 1938 David A. Smith was called as the new mission president. He had recently been release as first counselor in the Presiding Bishopric. President Smith knew he had a difficult task ahead of him. "We have only a few members in that mission, about one-half the number that comprises the membership of the Ward in which my residence has been." Few numbers was not the only challenge. "We have removed from the walks in front of the Mission Home a little more than six feet of snow, and for months we have faced zero weather nearly every morning. Blizzards and snowstorms have been frequent." He added: "This year the few times I have been permitted to meet in [the new chapel in Toronto] on the Sabbath day--several times in a blizzard--I have seen men, women and children who have who have walked miles in zero weather and in a snow storm to go to Church, and the spiritual food they receive seems to justify and reward them. In the mission field we find faith which would do credit to any ward or stake." (General Conference, April 1939).

In 1939 and 1940 the missionaries of the Toronto District entered the YMCA Basketball League and won the championship both years. Their victories gained attention in local newspapers and many friendships were established, helping the missionary cause. (Improvement Era, July 1940).

On April 18-20, 1941 the first Canadian Mission M.I.A. convention was held in Toronto with 275 delegates from the mission. A wonderful drama festival was held, filling the Toronto Branch "amusement hall." The following day 80 of the 115 full-time missionaries met for a conference and testimony meeting. In the afternoon the missionaries participated in a basketball tournament. On Sunday 325 members gathered for Sunday services, the largest LDS gathering held for many years in eastern Canada. (Improvement Era, August 1941).

Later in 1941 Elder John A Widtsoe of the Twelve visited the mission. He reported:

I have just returned from the Canadian Mission, a splendid Mission, in good condition, presided over by our colleague and good friend, David A. Smith. I met the missionaries there, and over and over again they said: "This is the happiest time of our lives. We never had as good a time." The reason is, of course, that they were practicing the very art of self-forgetfulness. They were giving themselves to a cause. (General Conference, October 1941).
On June 17, 1942, Elder Joseph Fielding Smith dedicated a new meeting house in Hamilton. A building fund of $1000 that had been raised throughout the depression years, was used to repair, furnish and landscape the property.

From 1931 to 1943 the Canadian Mission grew very slowly, only increasing by 101 members. In 1943 Joseph Quinney Jr. was again called to preside over the Canadian Mission. He had been serving as the president of the Logan Temple.

In September 1943, tragedy struck the mission. On September 12, President Quinney held a conference in Ottawa. On the following day he traveled alone by train to Montreal and arrived in the evening. After getting off the train, he had was struck down by a heart attack and died on the train station platform. The mission report included:

He had not notified anyone in advance of his coming, so he was alone at the time of his death. The police inspector of the Canadian Pacific Railroad was at hand and he sent for a Royal Victoria Hospital ambulance which arrived at 7:30 p.m. The body was taken to the city morgue and the following telegram was sent to the Toronto Police Station: "Rev. Joseph Quinney, 133 Lyndhurst Avenue, Toronto, died suddenly after detraining at Windsor Station, Montreal, 7:15 p.m. today. Will you kindly advise relatives. Remains now at morgue awaiting identification." (signed) W.E. Graham, Police Inspector Canadian Pacific Railroad." (From mission record quoted in William Goddard, "A History of the Mormons In The Hamilton Area 1833-1990.")
The telegram was brought to the mission office at 11 p.m. President David O. McKay, counselor in the First Presidency, was immediately notified by phone and missionaries were also called in Montreal. Local leaders helped with the arrangements for the return of President Quinney's body to Utah, accompanied by Sister Quinney. David A. Smith, former president of the Canadian Mission, and president of the Temple Square Mission, quickly went to Canada to serve as the acting president.

Octave Willis Ursenbach was soon appointed as the new president. President Ursenbach served in Canada for four years. After his release, he honored his wife: "I wish to express my gratitude to my companion who stood side by side with me hardly missing any appointment in her endeavor to sustain the women of that mission."

In 1947 Floyd G. Eyre was called as the new mission president. President Eyre has been principal of the Weber Seminary at Ogden during the previous nineteen years. In 1948, Elder Marion G. Romney, Assistant to the Twelve visited the Canadian Mission. He reported:

At the conferences there were in attendance in every one of the general meetings from seven to twenty non-member friends of the missionaries who were interested in the gospel. Some of them came as far as three hundred miles to attend the meeting --of course, some of the Saints came much longer distances--and they all said it was worth it. . . . After the meetings they are loath to leave the premises. They stand around for a long time. Of course that is characteristic of all Latter-day Saint gatherings. Speaking to one of the non-members after he had been there an hour, he said to me: "Well, since the meeting I have shaken hands with that young missionary over there four times. And," he said, "I have enjoyed it everytime." (General Conference, October, 1948)

During the early 1950s M.I.A. youth conferences began. One such conference was held in Toronto under the direction of mission president Melvin Toone. The boys slept on sleeping bags at the Toronto Chapel and the girls were host in the homes of members. The youth toured Toronto's castle, Casa Loma, and held a scavenger hunt on an island in Toronto harbor. That night a dance was conducted at the Park Plaza Hotel. The manager sent a letter to Church leaders commending the youth for their high morals. At another conference, 150 youth went on a boat trip across Lake Ontario to Queenston Heights near Niagara Falls. ("The Mormon Church in Canada," 194).

In 1951, Elder Spencer W. Kimball dedicated the chapel at Fort William, Ontario, Canada, while on a tour of the North Central States Mission. In 1955 the Toronto Branch was split, creating the east and west Toronto Branches.

In 1953, a one room, 110 seat chapel was completed in Kitchener. In 1956, it was dedicated by Elder John H. Longdon, assistant to the Twelve. Elder Longden commented: "Old prejudices extant in the Canadian Mission are gradually being broken down and steady progress in teaching the gospel is being made." (Quoted in Melvin S. Tagg's dissertation, "A History of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints in Canada, 1830-1963," 250-51.)

Missionaries worked at improving public relations by participating in basketball leagues. These efforts did pay off and doors were opened for teaching opportunities. By 1956 the Canadian mission reported 3,581 members, more than a 2,000 member increase in ten years.

At the end of 1959 there were 5,082 members in the Canadian Mission. The largest increase was in the Toronto area.

On April 22, 1959, Thomas S. Monson took over leadership of the Canadian Mission. He was thirty-one years old at the time.

On August 14, 1960 the first stake in eastern Canada was organized in Toronto by Elder Mark E. Peterson of the Twelve. The Toronto Stake was the 300th stake in the Church. The conference was attended by 2,249 members in the Odeon Carlton Theatre in Toronto. William M. Davies was called as the first stake president.

The new stake covered a very large geographical area from Niagara Falls to Oshawa to Kitchener. It was formed from the existing three districts (Hamilton, Toronto and Kitchener) and the stake leaders were chosen from the various district leadership. The stake of 2,300 members consisted of two wards in Toronto, and wards in Oshawa, Hamilton, Kitchener, St. Catherine's, and branches in Brantford, Welland, and Galt.

President Monson related an experience one of his missionaries had in the city of Oshawa

Together with his companion, he called at the home of Elmer Pollard in Oshawa, Canada. Feeling sorry for the young men who, during a blinding blizzard, were going from house to house, Mr. Pollard invited the missionaries into his home. They presented to him their message. He did not catch the spirit. In due time he asked that they leave and not return. His last words to the elders as they departed his front porch were spoken in derision: "You can't tell me you actually believe Joseph Smith was a prophet of God!"

The door was shut. The elders walked down the path. Our country boy spoke to his companion: "Elder, we didn't answer Mr. Pollard's question. He said we didn't believe Joseph Smith was a true prophet. Let's return and bear our testimonies to him." At first the more experienced missionary hesitated, but finally he agreed to accompany his companion. Fear struck their hearts as they approached the door from which they had been turned away. A knock, the confrontation with Mr. Pollard, an agonizing moment, then with power, a testimony borne by the Spirit: "Mr. Pollard, you said we didn't really believe Joseph Smith was a prophet of God. Mr. Pollard, I testify that Joseph was a prophet. He did translate the Book of Mormon. He saw God the Father and Jesus the Son. I know it."

Mr. Pollard, now Brother Pollard, stood in a priesthood meeting some time later and declared: "That night I could not sleep. Resounding in my ears I heard the words: 'Joseph Smith was a prophet of God. I know it. I know it. I know it.' The next day I telephoned the missionaries. Their message, coupled with their testimonies, changed my life and the lives of my family." (General Conference, October 1969).

In 1961 a large youth conference was held at a YMCA camp near Torrence. More than 500 youth from eastern Canada attended. A testimony meeting in an outdoor chapel was the highlight of the conference.

Missionary work accelerated but convert retention started to be a concern. During 1961, ninety people were baptized in the Hamilton ward, but sacrament meeting attendance only increased by thirty people. Many of these converts were brought in through the sports programs but were not brought into full activity.

Also in 1961 a two-phase building was completed in St. Catharines. By the end of the year there were 3,026 members in the Toronto Stake. There were also about 2,000 other members in the outlying districts in Ontario. During the fall of 1962 the first seminary classes were organized in Toronto, Hamilton, and Kitchener, with a total of twenty-five students.

On July 21, 1962 ground was broken for the Toronto Stake Center. The members of the stake sacrificed greatly to raise funds for the building. On November 17, 1963, members met in the new stake center for the first time, and fund-raising continued to pay off the debts. The total cost for construction amounted to $450,000.

In 1966 the youth of the Toronto Stake and Canadian Mission held a youth conference at Carleton University in Ottawa. President N. Eldon Tanner of the First Presidency visited. Local news, radio, and television gave extensive coverage to the event. On Sunday the youth gathered at the new Ottawa chapel for a Sacrament meeting. (A History of the Mormon Church in Canada, p. 195).

On Sunday, December 11, 1966, Elder Thomas S. Monson of the Twelve dedicated the Toronto Stake Center. More than 1,700 people attended the service. Other chapels and additions were under way elsewhere in the stake. By 1967 stake membership had grown to 4,957.

During the 1970s five stakes were created in eastern Canada. In 1974 M. Russell Ballard was called as the president of the Canada Toronto Mission. The yearly average number of convert baptisms per missionary rose from 2.5 in 1975 to 4.2 in 1978. A Chinese and a Spanish branch were created in the heart of Toronto. In 1979 there were about 17,000 members in Ontario, Canada. There were about 9,000 members in the Toronto area in three stakes, using fourteen Church buildings. The Church in Ontario was maturing and thriving. President Malcom Warner, president of the Hamilton Ontario Stake said: "We now have second, third, and some fourth-generation Latter-day Saints. A lot of leadership is being 'grown' locally, instead of being filled by 'imports,' as in the past." ("The Church Grows in Canada's 'Golden Horseshoe,' Ensign, August, 1979.)

On August 25-26, 1979, an area conference was held in Toronto with President Spencer W. Kimball. More than 8,200 people attended the conference held at the Maple Leaf Gardens. During his visit, President Kimball visited with Prime Minister Joe Clark and other Canadian government officials. The Prime Minister remarked to President Tanner: "I don't see how you can get your people to do so much without paying them."

During the Sunday morning session, President Kimball spoke on the law of tithing reminding the Saints that "the earth is the Lord's." Elder Thomas S. Monson enjoyed returning to his former mission field and reminisced about the creation of the first stake in Toronto. President N. Eldon Tanner said: "We know we have a prophet in our midst. And I hope we appreciate it. If the whole of the Toronto area believed we had a prophet, there wouldn't be a building large enough to accommodate the meeting." ("Eastern Canadian Saints Recommit at Toronto," Ensign, October 1979.)

On April 7, 1984, the First Presidency announced that a temple would be built in the Toronto area. President Thomas S. Monson later shared the following experience that took place while the brethren considered building a temple there. During a meeting with the Twelve, President Gordon B. Hinckley, First Counselor in the First Presidency, asked President Monson and Elder Ballard (both former mission presidents in Toronto,) "Can you guarantee we'll have enough members in Ontario to keep a temple busy?" President Monson responded, "Brother Hinckley, we'll have more than enough members in the city of Toronto, without considering Ontario. I'll guarantee it, and Brother Ballard will second the matter." ("Toronto: A Growing Light in the East," Ensign, September 1988).

On June 22 1986, The Church's 1,600th stake was organized -- the Kitchener Ontario Stake. It was created by President Thomas S. Monson and Elder M. Russell Ballard. President Monson announced the Toronto temple would be built in nearby Brampton, about twenty miles west of downtown Toronto. The ground-breaking was held on October 10, 1987, by President Monson and Elder Ballard.

In 1988 there were seven stakes throughout Ontario. They were in Brampton, Hamilton, Kitchener, London, Oshawa, Ottawa, and Toronto. During that year nearly 200 primary workers and priesthood leaders from those stakes gathered for the first Regional Primary Conference held in Ontario. Betty Jo Jepsen from the Primary general presidency attended. (Church News, July 23, 1988.)

In September of 1988 construction finally began on the Toronto Temple. The Saints were filled with joy and anticipation. The Ensign reported: "The temple keeps coming up in conversation. It is a focal point for members in Eastern Canada right now. It will serve sixty thousand Latter-day Saints in Canada and the northeastern United States." Alex G. Barclay, president of the Brampton Ontario Stake said: "People are arranging their affairs to facilitate more temple work. Some are even planning to move closer to or retire close to the temple." ("Toronto: A Growing Light in the East," Ensign, September 1988).

During June, 1989, President Thomas S. Monson visited Canada and spoke at a meeting commemorating the 50th anniversary of the dedication of the Church's first meetinghouse in eastern Canada. More than 300 people attended a "homecoming dinner" which included almost 100 pioneer members of the Church in the Toronto area. President Monson said: "Thousands of investigators and newly baptized members of the Church regard the Ossington meetinghouse with a spirit of reverence. Here they were introduced to the truth, here they were baptized, and here they accepted their first responsibilities as members of the Church."

The meetinghouse was dedicated in 1939 by President Heber J. Grant. In 1989 it housed the Toronto 1st and 6th wards. While in the Toronto area, President Monson visited the temple construction site. "Imagine, 50 years ago, there was just one LDS Church building in Eastern Canada and today there is a temple progressing toward completion." ("Members Share Memories of Church Growth in Canada," Church News, July 1, 1989).

In June, 1990, as the Toronto Temple neared completion a labor strike involving construction workers in the Toronto area threatened to impact the scheduled dates for the open house and dedication. Union leaders agreed to allow a few members to do finishing work inside the temple on a voluntary basis. Members worked day and night to keep the work progressing. The strike was resolved three weeks before the open house, just in time for the final work to be completed. ("Toronto temple nears completion," Church News, July 14, 1990.)

On August 1, 1990, Elder M. Russell Ballard hosted groups of civic and government leaders who toured the temple. Elder Ballard personally met the groups in the temple chapel and explained why the Church built temples. He then conducted them on a walking tour. ("New temple - 'Center of Serenity,'" Church News, August 11, 1990.)

Thousands of people toured the temple each day during the open house. Richard R. Robertson, Canada public communications director, said, "Everyone is so taken by the beauty of the temple. Many have preconceived notions of the temple, but when they see it, they find it to be much different than they expected. People are feeling the Spirit as they tour the temple." The Church News described the new temple setting: "The temple is surrounded on three sides by corn and grain fields and an occasional grove of maples. Its single spire rises 105 feet and is topped by a gold-leafed statue of the Angel Moroni." ("Temple: Place of Peace, Particular Beauty," Church News, August 11, 1990).

A total of 61,285 people visited the temple during the sixteen-day open house. President Monson noted:

And how the people did come! First they thronged to the public open house, where reverently and quietly they viewed the interior of the temple and learned the purpose for its erection and of the blessings which the temple can provide. One visitor described the temple's beauty with the words, "This is a center of serenity." As she was about to leave the temple, a young Asian girl said, "Mommy, this is beautiful here. I don't want to go." One woman surprised an usher with her request: "I have been so impressed with what I have seen. How do I join your church?" (General Conference, October 1990).
On August 25-27, 1990, the Toronto Ontario Temple was dedicated in eleven sessions, presided over by President Gordon B. Hinckley and President Thomas S. Monson. More than 17,000 members attended the dedication.

Regarding the sacred dedication, President Monson added: "Angelic choirs lifted spirits heavenward as they sang the beautiful 'Hosanna Anthem.' When the congregation joined with the choir to sing 'The Spirit of God like a fire is burning,' no eye remained dry and no heart untouched." (Ibid.)

In the dedicatory prayer President Hinckley prayed:

We thank thee, Father, for this good land, where stands thy house - this great nation of Canada whose people enjoy the blessings of liberty and peace, with full freedom to worship thee according to thy revealed pattern. We are mindful that the Prophet Joseph Smith walked in this area and bore testimony of the gifts, the knowledge, and the authority received from thee in opening this, the Dispensation of the Fulness of Times.

This nation has become a gathering place for people from scores of other lands. In their veins flows the blood of Israel. Many have hearkened to the testimony of thy servants and have been favored with a knowledge of the principles and ordinances of thine everlasting gospel. May their numbers increase and may thy holy work grow in strength here and across the world. ("Toronto Ontario Temple: Sacred Day of Dedication in Canada," Church News, September 1, 1990.)

President Hinckley mentioned in one of the sessions: "The real test of our love for this house lies in the use of it. It isn't built as a monument, but it is dedicated to be used." ("Toronto Temple Dedicated," Ensign, November, 1990).

Elder Ballard, reflecting on the many early Church leaders who labored in eastern Canada commented: "When temples are dedicated I have a feeling that those on the other side of the veil that helped to establish the Church in the temple district are allowed to look in upon the proceedings of the dedication of the temple. Many great leaders of past generations labored here in Ontario to bring about this special day of dedication of the Toronto Ontario Temple." ("Apostles Testify of Temples' Importance," Church News, September 1, 1990.)

President Monson later said:

When I prepared to leave Toronto following the concluding dedicatory session, I gazed upward toward heaven, that I might offer a silent prayer of gratitude to God for His watchful care, His bounteous blessings, and for "days never to be forgotten." High above the gleaming white temple, which personifies purity and reflects righteousness, is the gold-leafed statue of the Angel Moroni. I remembered being told that from that height of 105 feet, on a clear day one can see all the way to Cumorah. I noted that in Moroni's hand was his familiar trumpet. He was gazing homeward-homeward to Cumorah. The beautiful Toronto Temple prepares all who enter to return homeward, homeward to heaven, homeward to family, homeward to God. (General Conference, October 1990).

On July 21, 1992 the Tabernacle Choir performed in Toronto, presenting two concerts at Roy Thomson Hall. President Gordon B. Hinckley, first counselor in the First Presidency, traveled to Toronto to attend the concert. ("Cheers Echo Choirs Fast-Paced Tour," Church News, August 1, 1992.)

On September 1-4, 1992, about 550 youth attended the 15th annual Ontario Regional Youth Leadership Conference at the University of Toronto. Stake presidents, bishops and local youth leaders provided leadership. During the conference a service project was conducted to provide clothing for the people in the Ukraine.

The Hamilton Ontario Stake was featured in the Church News in November, 1992. The stake had been busy concentrating on activation and missionary efforts. President R. Garry Rayner said: "We want to reach out with love to the members - active and less-active - and love those who are not members of the Church. We want to enjoy the spirit of one another and help each other." During ward conferences stake leaders teamed up with local leaders to visit the less-active members.

"One couple hadn't attended meetings for a few years when four or five ward and stake leaders stopped by for a visit. The man wasn't feeling well physically, and we gave him a priesthood blessing before leaving. We gave his wife a blessing as well. About a year later I was in a meeting in that same ward when that same man came up and reminded me of the visit and the blessing. He added, 'We've come back to Church ever since and are here to stay.'" ("Golden Horseshoe," Church News, November 14, 1992).

During March, 1993, the First Presidency announced that the Canada Toronto Mission would be divided, creating the Canada Toronto West Mission and the Canada Toronto East Mission. There were about 20,000 members in within the missions. President Glenn T. Potter observed that the Church had been involved in missionary work in the mission longer than any other area outside the United States. He explained how interested converts were found in the mission: "We do a lot of street contacting and tracting. We also use members a lot. We try to use members with the missionaries when teaching the lessons. When wards get behind the missionaries, conversions increase, and retention also improves." ("Nine New Missions Created," Church News, March 13, 1993.)

On December 3-4, 1994, the Church in Toronto joined with twenty-one other faiths to share beliefs and teachings on how to strengthen the family. The event called, "Festival of the Family" was held in the Royal Ontario Museum. Nearly 12,000 people participated in the celebration which was the idea of LDS missionaries William B. and Donna Smart. Regional Representative, J. Bruce Smith said: "It was thrilling for me to mingle with this multi-faith assembly and realize that we were united in our reverence for and our concern for the family. I was impressed with the combined power for good and the synergy emanating from this convergence of good people." The Church provided two booths. One booth was conducted by the Church Public Affairs Department providing articles about the family. The other was a Family History booth which always had long lines of people. ("Toronto Festival Spotlights the Family," December 31, 1994.)

On May 5, 1996, President Thomas S. Monson and Elder M. Russell Ballard, both former mission presidents in Ontario, returned to Canada to create the Sudbury Ontario Stake. This new stake was formed from the Northland District of the Canada Toronto West Mission. It had previously been called the North Bay District. The new stake boundaries went from the U.S. border to the North Pole. President Monson said:

We found that the stalwart leaders of our time in Canada had grown older, and the current leaders were following in their footsteps in giving leadership and service to the Church. Many of the current leaders are the children of members who were baptized when I was the mission president or when Elder Ballard presided over the mission. Not one single person could think of any reason why he would wish to or needed to decline a call to serve.
Elder Ballard added:
As President Monson and I interviewed priesthood brethren, we noticed that many of them were our dear friends from years gone by. It was kind of like a reunion, as well as a meeting to create a new stake. Quite a few of the people we interviewed joined the Church when we were mission presidents. It was a great thing to see those converts now taking on leadership responsibilities of this new stake. There was a lot of nostalgia. ("Nostalgia Fills Stakes Creation," Church News, May 18, 1996).

In August, 1997, President Monson again visited eastern Canada. While there they visited with Olive W. Davies, the widow of William M. Davies, the first stake president in Toronto. President Davies had died in June.

President Monson met with some of the missionaries of the Canada Toronto East Mission serving in Kingston. He told the missionaries that when he had arrived as mission president, Kingston had the reputation as a place where no one was baptized. President Monson said:

While I was praying and pondering this sad dilemma, my wife called to my attention an excerpt from a book, A Childs Story of the Life of Brigham Young, by Deta Petersen Neeley. She read: "Brigham Young entered Kingston, Ontario, on a cold snow-filled day. He labored thirty days and baptized forty-five souls."

Here was the answer. If the missionary Brigham Young could accomplish this harvest, so could the missionary of today. Without explanation I withdrew the missionaries from Kingston, that the continuity of defeat might be broken. Then I started a rumor: "Soon a new city will be opened for missionary work, even the city where Brigham Young proselyted and baptized 45 persons in 30 days."

The missionaries speculated as to the location. Their weekly letters pleaded for the assignment to this "Shangri-la." More time passed. Then four carefully selected missionaries - two of them new, two experienced - were chosen for this high adventure. The members of the small branch pledged their support. The missionaries pledged their lives. The Lord honored both. In the space of three months, Kingston became the most productive city of the Canadian Mission. The city was the same, the population constant. The change was one of attitude. ("Attitude is Important, Missionaries Told," Church News, August 16, 1997).

Also during his visit, President Monson dedicated a marker recognizing the first branch of the Church in Canada in Ernestown Township. The day's activities included a pioneer parade of five hundred people through the village of Bath. At the dedication ceremony, President Monson said:
I would like to leave that as a challenge to each one of us here today - to do our best in all our endeavors. In the true meaning of the word 'pioneer,' which, according to the dictionary, is 'One who goes before showing others the way to follow,' every one of us can be a pioneer. . . . We're going to dedicate a plaque in honor of those stalwart early missionaries who came to this land. I've done some research about those early pioneers. I know it must have been difficult for them to make the journey. . . . But come they did because they loved the Lord and because their faith motivated them to go before and show others the way to follow. I pay tribute and honor to their names and to all that they did. ("Church in Upper Canada: rich history is celebrated," Church News, August 26, 1997)
On August 9, 1997, about two hundred members from the London Ontario Stake gathered to commemorate the departure from their city of converts who traveled to Nauvoo more than 150 years earlier. They walked along the road that was cleared by these converts, which is called the Nauvoo Road. Stake President Harold F. Walker said: Our trek today, a mere five kilometers (3 miles), was to give us the opportunity to remember, to be thankful for those who had gone before. The pioneer legacy lives on. The restored gospel, like a wagon train, is moving forward, guided by a living prophet and apostles. It is the pioneer efforts of today that will answer the questions of the future." ("From around the World," Church News, September 6, 1997)

On January 17, 1998, about 150 member of the Ottawa Ontario Stake participated in a stake-wide day of service to cleanup in the wake of a disaster called "the great ice storm of the century." Members cleaned up branches and went door to door checking on people without electrical power. The Church News reported on other acts of service: "John Dustan of the Ottawa 2nd Ward, Ottawa Ontario Stake, spent several days hooking up a generator to the sump pumps of people in his community who had left their homes. He and two neighbors would pump each house for 15 to 20 minutes and then move on to another house." ("Cleaning up after 'ice storm of century,'" January 24, 1998)