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I Saw Your Ad in Our Church Magazine

St. John’s Parish Magazine - May 1924
St. John’s Parish Magazine - May 1924

Much of St. John’s history at its Humberside home over the past century is recorded in various incarnations of its newsletters, the first of which, “St. John’s Parish Magazine,” was actually professionally edited and printed as a magazine and supported by advertising. The monthly St. John’s Parish Magazine was first published in the summer of 1922, its first year-and-a-half run assembled as St. John’s prepared for and completed its bold move from its second building, at Dundas St. West and St. John’s Rd, to its third, at 288 Humberside Ave. Alas, copies of the first two years of the Parish Magazine are likely lost. However, thanks to the West Toronto Junction Historical Society’s Archives, located in the Annette branch of the Toronto Public Library, 8 issues, dating from May to November 1924, January 1925, and September 1931, have been preserved. In addition, the Anglican Diocese of Toronto Archives has a copy of the November 1931 issue, which included a history of St. John’s to mark the parish’s 50th anniversary.

These issues of “St. John’s Parish Magazine” have been scanned and are available to peruse, along with scans of the other SJWT newsletters I’ve gathered, from here,

Why Should I go to Church

Among the leading articles discussing the power of prayer, the importance of pews, and asking, “Why Should I go to Church,” and reports on St. John’s Choir, Cubs and Scouts, general Parish Notes, and encouragements to contribute to the New Church Building Fund, each issue featured up to 38 advertisements, on the inside and back covers, and taking up at least 5 pages.

List of Advertisers

A wide variety of local West Toronto businesses purchased ads through St. John’s “Business Manager,” as well as several from downtown. There was also a regular ad placed by Casavant Organs from St. Hyacinthe, Quebec, and a convenient “List of Advertisers” included in each issue. Advertising earnings supported the magazine’s professional publication and the church.

In the July 1924 issue, it was emphasized that “Everyone is agreed that the magazine creates an added interest in matters relating to the church.” Moreover, “Our advertisers are of help to us and we desire to be of help to them. Let ‘I saw your ad in our Church Magazine’ be your motto.”

To help celebrate the 100th anniversary of St. John’s Humberside Home, it has been suggested that a special edition of “The St. John’s Parish Magazine” be published that duplicates its original 1920s style and layout. The new SJWT-100th edition could appear in November 2023 and include historical features, as well as a mix of 1920s advertisements with ads purchased by current local area businesses. As they did for the original Parish Magazine, physical publication of the special SJWT-100th issue would be funded by the paid advertisements.


Originally published in the St. John's Newsletter on January 21st, 2023

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