In the late 1950's it became apparent that Tobermory was growing and that an Anglican Church was needed to serve not only the residents and cottagers, but also the influx of tourists coming to the area by car and boat during thesummer months. Under the direction of the Bishop of Huron Diocese, The Right Rev. G.N. Luxton, a survey was made and completed in 1958. Thomas Scott, who was to become St. Edmund’s first rector the following year, rented a restaurant building in Tobermory and fitted out a chapel in the dining room. He stayed in living quarters at the rear. A bell was donated and Alex Holmes is reported to have kicked the bell to summon worshippers to church.
Construction of the church and the parish hall with attached cottage was undertaken and the first service was held on May 22, 1960. The dedication of St. Edmund’s followed on July 17, 1960 with Bishop Luxton officiating. Local people as well as people outside the area generously donated the church’s furnishings and organ, and several items came from the Anglican Church at Purple Valley which had recently closed. The consecration service was conducted by Bishop H.F. Appleyard on June 13, 1971 by which time the church was free of debt. St. Edmund's Church is situated at the tip of the Bruce Peninsula, at the end of Highway 6 and on the shore of Georgian Bay.
We are grateful to the founding members who had the foresight to include the attached cottage, which has been infrequent since its construction. The church has been well maintained. It has comfortable seating for about 70 people. There is an Allen Organ with a Smart Recorder which allows us to have music throughout the year when our church organist in unavailable.
The reredos at St. Edmund's is a unique and beautiful mosaic designed and created by Herschel Hamilton. It was given in memory of his father, The Rev. T.J. Hamilton, who was the first school-master in Tobermory. It depicts Jesus on the shore of Lake Galilee, calling a disciple to “Follow me”.
In 1960, Mrs. Nona Scott formed the Chancel Guild and its members have made the fine altar linens and hangings. Our Women’s Auxiliary (W.A.) got started in 1963. Mrs. Eileen Ralph was its first president. St Edmund’s W.A. worked hard to raise badly needed funds for the new church. With the help of the “Harbour Ladies”, they made a quilt which they hoped to raffle off and perhaps raise $75 for their efforts. However, the raffling was considered inappropriate for a church to enter into and the quilt ended up going for $25 – just the cost of the materials. Many years later, our ACW has provided funds for the finishing of the interior of the church, the tiling of the floor and the furnishing and finishing of the cottage. And the work has been shared throughout the congregation, like the work of everything we do. The visiting clergy who take our summer services tell us they enjoy staying in the cottage.
The narthex was built in 2005 and was designed by Mike Barta who also built much of the ecclesiastical furniture in the narthex and chancel.
The 50th anniversary celebration in 2009 consisted of many events and culminated in an anniversary dinner and service, the latter conducted by Bishop Terry Dance. Eileen Ralph was present during the celebrations.
The Parish Hall is well used throughout the year. There is a year round congregation which may be as small as 15 in the winter but increases to over 60 on some summer Sundays. A hallmark of the
congregation is the outstanding level of volunteering and collaboration among the parishioners and the loving care
they show to one another as well as the wider community.