Thursday, October 25, 2007

The United Church Archives Finds a New Home

Toronto: In a statement released today, The United Church of Canada is pleased to announce a new location for its archives that are housed in Toronto.

In early 2008, The United Church Archives (Toronto) will be moving from the Victoria University campus at the University of Toronto to The United Church of Canada's General Council Office at 3250 Bloor St. West in west-end Toronto.

Currently The United Church of Canada supports a regional network of archives situated in 10 different locations throughout Canada. In Ontario, the United Church Archives (Toronto) manages the records of the General Council, the antecedent denominations, and the records of Bay of Quinte, London, Hamilton, Manitou, and Toronto Conferences and their respective presbyteries and pastoral charges.

In announcing the decision regarding the new location for the United Church Archives (Toronto), Nora Sanders, General Secretary of the General Council, said, "As General Secretary, I want to assure all those who value the rich heritage of the United Church's archives of my personal commitment, along with that of the General Council, to the careful stewardship of this unique archival collection."

Public access at this new location will be facilitated by its proximity to major transportation routes, the Islington subway station, and on-site parking. The new location will also allow for more immediate access and integration of the archives collection into the life and work of the church's national office and the church's governing body, the General Council.

The archives will be housed in space vacated by The United Church of Canada's television and audiovisual production facility, Berkeley Studio. The studio space becomes available as a result of the decision in June 2007 to cease in-house, on-site audiovisual production effective December 31, 2007. The Berkeley Studio audiovisual collection will also be preserved as part of the General Council's archives.

Bernard Granka is the project manager for the archives transition. He and Sharon Larade, The United Church of Canada's General Council Archivist, will oversee the monumental task of moving close to 20,000 boxes of records to the new site of the United Church Archives (Toronto). He explains that the church will be contracting specialized movers for the relocation of the archives collection.

Granka says that the studio space has great potential for storing archival records. The studio is self-contained, with a separate, existing heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) unit, allowing precise control of the environmental conditions of the storage vault. Immediately adjacent to the archives' new vault are offices that will become the new reading room and staff workstations. Compact shelving will be installed to maximize archival storage capacity in the available floor space in a single vault.

Granka explains that the new location for the United Church Archives (Toronto) will meet the institutional standards set by the Canadian Council of Archives and all the records of the General Council and the Ontario Conferences will be administered by professional staff. He says that while there is much work to be done, the General Council Office and the five Ontario Conferences are confident that the new location will serve the purposes of both the General Council Office and the five Ontario Conferences.

Granka adds that while planning and preparations are underway to move the collection from its current location at Victoria University, the collection will be temporarily unavailable for research after December 21, 2007. The United Church anticipates reopening its reading room to the public by Monday, May 5, 2008 at the 3250 Bloor St. West location.

Granka emphasizes that throughout the United Church Archives (Toronto) transition, the church remains committed to providing continued access to all archival records related to residential schools, and will offer full co-operation with all aspects of the Indian Residential Schools Settlement Agreement. This includes uninterrupted, open access to its archival records for the purposes of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.

The Conference archives outside of Ontario are not affected by this transition at the United Church Archives (Toronto). For up-to-date information about their programs, see **.

Additional information with regard to the move of the United Church Archives (Toronto) will be posted to the archives website at **.

Questions and concerns about the transition should be directed to the United Church's General Council Archivist, Sharon Larade, at * *or to the project manager, Bernard Granka, at **.

Media enquiries should be directed to:
Mary-Frances Denis
Communications Officer
The United Church of Canada
416-231-7680 ext. 2016 (office)