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History General

The Many Rooms of this House

Diversity in Toronto's Places of Worship Since 1840

by (author) Roberto Perin

University of Toronto Press
Initial publish date
Apr 2017
General, History, General, Rural
  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    Apr 2017
    List Price
  • Hardback

    Publish Date
    Apr 2017
    List Price
  • eBook

    Publish Date
    May 2017
    List Price

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Places of worship are the true building blocks of communities where people of various genders, age, and class interact with each other on a regular basis. These places are also rallying points for immigrants, helping them make the transition to a new, and often hostile environment.


The Many Rooms of this House is a story about the rise and decline of religion in Toronto over the past 160 years. Unlike other studies that concentrate on specific denominations, or ecclesiastical politics, Roberto Perin’s ecumenical approach focuses on the physical places of worship and the local clergy and congregants that gather there. Perin’s timely and nuanced analysis reveals how the growing wealth of the city stimulated congregations to compete with one another over the size, style, materials, and decoration of their places of worship. However, the rise of individualism has negatively affected these same congregations leading to multiple church closings, communal breakdown, and redevelopments. Perin’s fascinating work is a lens to understanding how this once overwhelmingly Protestant city became a symbol of diversity.

About the author

ROBERTO PERIN is an associate professor of history at Atkinson College. He is the author of Rome in Canada and co-editor of Get Ready to Arrangiarsi: The Italian Immigrant Experience in Canada.

Roberto Perin's profile page


  • Winner, Heritage Toronto Historical Writing: Book Award

Editorial Reviews

‘Historians and social scientists interested in the evolution of Canadian society, cities, urban geography, religious diversity, and multiculturalism will gain much from reading this important, well-written, and meticulously researched book.’

Canadian Historical Review vol 99:01:2018

Other titles by Roberto Perin