BEGINNINGS AND EARLY HISTORY OF DONWAY
Donway Baptist Church was officially established in June 1955. At that time, Don Mills was a new "planned community" - a model for the rest of Canada. The community was concentrated at Don Mills Road and Lawrence Avenue East. Dust, mud and gravel roads were the norm.
In the early 1950's, the Don Mills Development company laid out plans for a church and school in each quadrant of the new community. Through the far-sightedness of a few people, the Toronto Baptist Association Extension Department secured a commitment from the Development Company for a building lot for a Convention Baptist church. This was to be deeded to the church free of charge upon completion of certain building conditions. These arrangements were actually made as early as 1952 or 1953.
In 1955, a nucleus of interested people came together to form Donway Baptist Church. The initial services were held in the old Bethesda United Church at the corner of Leslie and Lawrence. The firm of Bruce Brown and Brisley Architects was engaged to draw up building plans. A retired minister, the Rev. L.H. Thomas, became the first part-time minister. By the Fall of 1955, negotiations were made with the Dominion Rubber Plant at the corner of Green Belt Drive & Don Mills Road, to use their facilities for our services until our church was built. Weekly meetings were held in homes in the area.
In the Fall of 1956, Dr. E. J. Barrass was called as the full-time minister. Sod was turned for the new church in May, 1957. The builder was John Goba Limited. Bethel Baptist Church took a mortgage on their property to advance Donway the first $50,000 needed. Sacrificial giving from the charter members and some assistance from the Church Edifice Board of the Baptist Convention of Ontario and Quebec aided in financing. The new building was dedicated in December 1957.
In the 1960's, with the community growing and with the Sunday School enrollment rapidly expanding, space became a problem. In 1968, the Christian Education wing was added, providing enlarged classrooms and space for our Library, Nursery, and our comfortable Donway Room which was renamed to the Stan Treeby Room. Membership increased from the original thirty-seven charter members to over one hundred and fifty. Many groups were established and flourished: Women's Fellowship, Cubs, Scouts, Explorers and C.G.l.T. Donway's friendly, welcoming atmosphere was enjoyed by newcomers, and the church continued to grow.
We, as a Church family, will always be grateful to God for the sacrificial giving of individuals and sister churches. Without their dedicated help and faithful service, Donway would not have flourished in those early years.