Thefts spur tighter security

Published April 1, 2005

A series of burglaries at 80 Hayden, the Anglican Church of Canada’s new office in Toronto, has prompted national church officials to tighten security in and around the building.

There have been three recent incidents of theft from the building, which staff of General Synod, the church’s national office, have occupied since June 2004. The first involved the loss of $200 in “float money” from the Anglican Book Centre in the building’s basement; the second, the loss of more than $100 raised by staff for charity, which was stored in a locker on the fourth floor; the third, the loss of a computer monitor at the ground floor reception area.

(A few months after the move, some items also went missing from the old offices at 600 Jarvis Street, including the cornerstone and a time capsule, which had been laid in that building 51 years ago.)

The incidents have been reported to the police, said Peter Blachford, General Synod treasurer. He said someone used a key to enter the offices, which are accessible to staff only through pass cards assigned to each of them.

“Of course, when you started with a building that’s under construction, how many keys are around, who knows?” asked Mr. Blachford. Locks have now been changed with security keys accessible only to a few staff.

Management is also considering installing a security camera, hiring a security guard and cordoning off the reception area using a sliding door.

“When you move into any new structure, there’s always a bit of learning curve,” commented Mr. Blachford. The treasurer added that no one knows when the cornerstone disappeared. “The idea was that if the building was going to be demolished, it (cornerstone) was supposed to be cut and given to us,” he said. “Now somebody with a concrete saw cut it out … and they did a good job.”

Why someone would want the stone is a mystery, he said. “It really has no value except for us,” he said.

The cornerstone was laid in an elaborate ceremony led by then-primate Archbishop Walter Barfoot on Nov. 25, 1953. The event was covered by Toronto newspapers and the CBC.

The cornerstone contained a copper box which included Coins of the Realm, the 1952 synod journal, the 1953 minutes of the executive council, a 1953 yearbook of General Synod, copies of church newspapers and Toronto dailies, and a copy of a speech delivered by treasurer A.F.D. Lace on the significance of the cornerstone.


  • Marites N. Sison

    Marites (Tess) Sison was editor of the Anglican Journal from August 2014 to July 2018, and senior staff writer from December 2003 to July 2014. An award-winning journalist, she has more that three decades of professional journalism experience in Canada and overseas. She has contributed to The Toronto Star and CBC Radio, and worked as a stringer for The New York Times.

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