To understand the history of Scouting at the 58th, we must go back to the founding
of the Church of the Transfiguration.
The land upon which the church now stands was designated as church property in 1912. At that time, there were no shopping areas, no apartments buildings, and very few houses or streets, as this was farm land.
No church was built at this time as there were few people to attend. Taxes had to be paid on the land, however, and money was difficult to obtain in those days. During the First World War, there was thought of selling the property to ease the tax burden.
Fortunately, the sale never came and, in 1917, the Canadaian Army used this site as a signal station for training purposes along with two other high points of land, one near Bayview, north of Eglinton, and a third near Avenue Road and Castlefield, where the water tower now stands.
It is difficult today to realize that, in 1917, a person could see from one of these heights to the others as there were no buildings to block the view. During the First World War, Rev. C. Hedley was Chaplain of the 58th Infantry Battalion serving in France.
Rev. Hedley, later Canon Hedley, came to Toronto after the war and, in 1921, when more houses had been build in this area, wanted to build a church on the property. However, insufficient funds were available.
Canon Hedley was able to obtain a large Army tent which he set up on the site and some Army benches which he put inside the tent and held the first Church service on June 5th 1921. The altar was a table covered by a flag from the 58th Battalion. The altar cross was also made by the soldiers.
It was decided a flag should fly outside the tent, as services were now being held regularly. Mr. F.W. Brennand donated a flag pole, once used by the 58th Battalion, for this purpose.
In July, 1921, plans were made for the formation of a Scout troop, under the direction of Canon Hedley, known as the 58th Toronto Boy Scout Troop, in remembrance of the 58th Battalion, and honouring Canon Hedley.
In 1922 the first church building was completed. The Scout troop continued to grow and a Girl Guide company was formed by Mrs. Paine. Brownies followed in 1926, under the direction of Miss Walker. Cubs started about the same time, but unfortunately, there is no record of their early activities.
In September, 1927, the colours of the 58th Battalion were paraded to the church and deposited at the altar and a memorial tablet was unveiled and dedicated. You can see the colours and the memorial today in the church. There is a photograph of the colours being paraded to the church. The church was filled for this service and more than 1000 people gathered outside to hear the service on a public address system.
Also in 1927, Mr. F.W. Brennand donated a handsome trophy to the Scout troop, to be used for inter-patrol competition. This trophy was in use until 1946 and is still on display in the church.
Canon Hedley, founder of the Church of the Transfiguration and Scout Troop, retired in 1936, and most tragically died of smoke inhalation while fighting a bush fire at a cottage where he was staying in 1938.
In 1962, our association with the 58th Battalion was recalled when the Royal Regiment of Canada, which carries on the traditions of the 58th Battalion, celebrated its 100th anniversary.
The success of any worthwhile cause depends on the volunteer efforts of many people. Scouting at the 58th, Church of the Transfiguration proves this rule. The success of the programs available to the 60 boys from ages 4 to 17 currently in our Beavers, Cubs, Scouts and Venturers requires a significant amount of time from 16 leaders. Most of these leaders are parents but we are fortunate to have several people who spend time with our boys because they believe in the Scouting movement. We are looking forward to another 75 years of Scouting at the Church.