Several years after National Defence Headquarters granted permission to redesignate the Mississauga Regiment as The Toronto Scottish Regiment, it was suggested that the a regimental church be located. At the time, several regimental officers were members of Knox Presbyterian Church located at 630 Spadina Avenue, just south of Harbord Street in downtown Toronto. It was agreed that they would approach the church session about arranging an affiliation.
Following is a quote from the Session Minutes of Knox Church dated 26 May 1925:
"John Gibson Inkster, the Moderator, placed before the Session a suggestion that the 75th Regiment - "Toronto Scottish" - be invited to make Knox Church their church home, pointing out several close connections some Officers of the Regiment had with Knox. After a full and free discussion, on motion of Captain Sutherland, seconded by Mr Jamieson, it was decided to convey to Colonel Harbottle Commanding Officer of The 75th Toronto Scottish Regiment, an invitation to make Knox Church the Spiritual Home of the Regiment, and extending the usual courtesies relative thereto and that the clerk advise Colonel Harbottle accordingly".
The Session offer was duly accepted by Colonel Harbottle, and since 1925 Knox Presbyterian Church has been the Spiritual Home of The Toronto Scottish Regiment. Aside from being the site of the annual Regimental Church Parade ever since, following are some historical dates that connect the Regiment and the Church:
15 Nov 1925 The 75th Battalion Canadian Expeditionary Force Colours are laid up in Knox Church.
29 Nov 1939 The King's and Regimental Colours presented to the Regiment by Mayor Tommy Church in 1925, are laid up in Knox Church.
1940 to 1945 During World War II the church sent parcels to Tor Scots overseas; the Church Women's Association had teas and tried to assist lonely wives and children of overseas personnel, and the Regiment thought of Knox as their church for weddings, and baptisms.
02 May 1947 Reverend Robert Barr, Rector of Knox Church composes the Regimental Hymn.
30 Jan 1949 The Toronto Scottish Regiment memorial chimes and plaque are dedicated in Knox Church.
13 Nov 1947 A memorial plaque commemorating WW II is unveiled in Knox Church.
26 Jun 1965 The King's and Regimental Colours presented by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth in 1939, are laid up in Knox Church.
30 Jun 1974 The Queen's Colour presented by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother in 1965, is laid up in Knox Church.
In 2004 Major The Reverend Donald R McKillican CD who served as Regimental Chaplain for twenty years from 1953 to 1973, was appointed 'Chaplain for Life' for his years of devoted service to the Regiment which didn't end when he formally retired from the Reserves. Major McKillican recalls performing numerous weddings and baptisms for regimental personnel at Knox Church. In the years since his retirement he has performed many funeral services for departed “Tor Scots” at Knox and other churches.
REGIMENTAL HYMN: Tune: Eternal Father
Composed by Reverend Robert Barr in 1947
Our God we thank Thee for a name
Deep-rooted in the honoured soil,
Of those whose characters were built
By simple faith and honest toil,
Those loyal to home and church and state
Who made our country truly great.
We pray for all who suffer still
In broken body and in mind.
The unhealed casualties of war,
The lame, the limbless and the blind.
The orphaned child, the grieving soul,
Whose wounds the years have not made whole.
We thank Thee too, for all the youth
Who left this city by the lake,
And gave in distant lands their lives,
A sacrifice for freedom's sake.
Whose memories glow like living flame
Within our regimental name.
Help us to keep alive in peace
The comradeship of sterner days,
When hearts were strengthened under fire
Self-discipline and selfless aim,
May these add luster to our name.
OTHER CHURCH AFFLIATION
St John The Baptist Norway (Anglican Church)
The affiliation with this church came about through a William Leonard Baynes-Reed who was appointed its first minister in 1896. In May 1908 while still its rector, Baynes-Reed joined the 9th Mississauga Horse Regiment a unit of the Militia in those days. He was given the appointment of Chaplain with the rank of Honorary Captain. Several members of the Regiment came from his congregation in Norway, a tiny village to the east of Toronto. The church is located at 470 Woodbine Avenue, Toronto.
When war was declared in 1914, then Major Samuel Beckett of the 9th Mississauga Horse was promoted to Lieutenant-Colonel, and instructed to recruit the newly appointed 75th Battalion. Three quarters of the 9th Mississauga Horse Regiment Officers transferred to the 75th, including Honorary Captain Baynes-Reed. The 75th set sail for the United Kingdom on the 29th of March 1916, arriving in Liverpool, England on the 10th of April, and shortly afterwards moved to France. In August 1918 Baynes-Reed was awarded the Distinguished Service Order for his heroism during action at Amiens, one of only eight awarded to Canadian Chaplains during WW I. He was also mentioned-in-despatches in March 1919.
Baynes-Reed returned to St John Norway following the war, and kept active in the 75th Battalion Association. He decided to serve in the post-war Militia, and when the Toronto Scottish was formed in 1921, he was promoted to Honorary Major and served as the first chaplain of the Regiment. He was involved in all aspects of regimental life through the 1920s and 1930s and in 1937 he represented the Regiment at the coronation of King George VI and Queen Elizabeth.
He was promoted to Honorary Lieutenant-Colonel in 1936 remaining as Chaplain until 1938 at which time he retired. On his retirement he accepted the appointment of Honorary Chaplain of the Regiment. He passed away on 27 January 1939 at the age of 69 having served the congregation of his church for over forty years, and been Honorary Chaplain of the Regiment for the first seventeen years of its existence.
Sometime in the late 1920s Baynes-Reed had a stained-glass window created and installed at the back of the church of St John Norway, at his own expense. The window paid tribute to the officers and men of the 75th Battalion who served and fell in the Great War.
In addition to the window, on display nearby is a Union Jack flag with suitably inscribed plaque, and the Chaplain's wartime communion set. The flag was placed over caskets of the fallen during burial services Baynes-Reed conducted several hundred times. At the south side of the sanctuary there is a tiny chapel named, William Lyon Baynes-Reed Chapel, which contains numerous plaques placed there in remembrance of past parishioners. One such plaque pays tribute to Captain Ole Olsen, of the 75th Battalion, a holder of the Military Cross.
Each year on Remembrance Day the Regiment sends a delegation to St John The Baptist Norway, to participate in their Remembrance Day service.