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Toronto Conference

Montreal Conference





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In 1952 Canon Bryan Green led a nine-day mission at the Coliseum on the Exhibition grounds in Toronto. The Rev. Canon J. Douglas Paterson chaired the mission. Charlie Storton was asked to arrange for ushers. Going to the mission night after night made Charlie understand his need to take Christ fully into his life. Upon hearing Charlie’s testimony, Canon Paterson invited him to join the Committee on Evangelism.

Charlie sensed that women were the spiritual strength of the laity. He felt that men would be more ready to discuss and accept their faith if given the opportunity to hear about Christ in this sort of conference setting. The Committee agreed. Charlie was asked to set up a Laymen’s Conference open to all men in the Ecclesiastical Province of Ontario.

This 1954 conference at Wycliffe College was led by Bishop Gough. About 60 men attended including a number of clergy. Among them was Archdeacon Desmond Hunt of Kingston, a person whom Charlie sensed had an obvious rapport with men.

The 1955 conference focussed on the Diocese of Toronto. Fortunately, Canon Green was again available to lead this Men’s Conference. Seventy-five men attended this first FLAME Conference (as we know it today) at the Guild Inn.

The next year, to cut costs the Conference moved to Big Chief Lodge at Orillia. More than 100 men attended, and although it was well received, the facilities were not suitable for a growing need. The Conference returned to the Guild Inn for several years. Some of the speakers during this period were Desmond Hunt, Jack Clough, Reg Howden, Leslie Hunt and Herb O’Driscoll.

A location outside of Toronto was desired to encourage attendance from a wider area. Gil-Mor Lodge in the Peterborough area was booked, and Canon Ledrew Gardner from the Maritimes led the conference. This was a grand conference, but still most of the men came from Toronto.

At this time, The Guild Inn was renovating and increasing their costs. Geneva Park, the Y.M.C.A. Lodge at Lake Couchiching became the home for the Flame conference until 2003.

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