Soon after its formation in 1969, the Islamic Foundation of Toronto went looking for a home. It found one in an area now known as the Gerrard India Bazaar on Rhodes Avenue in a small building that had served to house the local chapter of the Orange Order, a Protestant fraternal organization. With the Orange Order in decline, the building was put up for sale, and in moved the Islamic Foundation, which made the building into its mosque.
The Islamic Foundation of Toronto was one of the earliest Islamic centres in Toronto. Like other mosques, it became the religious and social hub of its community. By 1984, the facilities on Rhodes Avenue had become insufficient to serve the growing Muslim population, and the Islamic Foundation of Toronto purchased a site off Markham Road in Scarborough. Here, the first multi-purpose mosque in Canada was built. In addition to religious services, the Islamic Foundation of Toronto offers recreational programming and educational services, including a full-time school and evening and weekend courses. On Fridays, approximately 2,000 worshippers attend the congregational Jumuah (Friday prayer).
By Kaitlin Wainwright