About Us

Our Story

A youth worship movement akin to the “Jesus People” arose in Toronto and was called The Catacombs. This movement evolved into a church in the 1970’s called Christian Church on a Hill located in the east end of Scarborough. They bought property (which is now Toronto Jaffray Chinese Alliance Church, at Sheppard and Meadowvale) and planned for a great future. However, the church came into hard times and the resources were transferred to the Christian and Missionary Alliance. Two new churches were planted in 1988 — Toronto Jaffray Chinese Alliance Church and Rouge Valley Alliance Church.

Brimley Road Alliance Church began when a small congregation at Greenwood Avenue was forced to relocate due to property expropriation by the Toronto Transit Commission. A suitable site was generously donated in Scarborough at 724 Brimley Road where a new building was finished and dedicated on Sunday, September 29, 1963. This church experienced cycles of growth and decline until 1994.


The Christian and Missionary Alliance encouraged a merger between Rouge Valley Alliance Church and Brimley Road Alliance Church. The newly merged congregation, still numbering only around 50 people, became Scarborough Centre Alliance Church and met in the Brimley Road building.


Scarborough Centre Alliance Church was now approaching a Sunday attendance of about 100 and it became clear that the church building was not conducive to further growth. To break the cycle of growth and decline, the congregation made the bold decision of selling the building and moving out into an uncertain future. They knew that if God wanted a future for their church, there would be one. If not, the church’s days were numbered.


Scarborough Centre Alliance Church rented space at Centennial College Conference and Residence Centre (Markham Road and Progress Avenue). The church was active in looking for a new property but found that zoning regulations restricted their search. In addition, many of the buildings they looked at were just too expensive.


The church signed a 3-5 year lease to occupy a lower level facility at Ravine Park Plaza in the east end of Scarborough (Port Union Road). No longer in the centre of Scarborough, the church assumed a new name — Community Alliance Church.

Relocation resulted in several of the congregation, for differing reasons, to attend other churches. At the same time, several new people and families, especially from the east side of the GTA and Durham Region joined the church. Attendance stabilized at about 60 on Sunday mornings.


A new vision for ministry continued to arise — would it be possible to develop a Christian Ministry/Community Centre as a tangible means of demonstrating God’s love to our city? 

At the same time, a church building with an exact “fit” to this vision came up for sale in the heart of Scarborough (1 McCowan Road). The small but faith-filled congregation took bold, sacrificial steps to purchase the building.


The purchase of 1 McCowan Road was completed on July 3, 2007. The church relocated and immediately began to host a Toronto Daily Bread Foodbank ministry. At the same time, ministries in Chinese, Filipino, Spanish, Haitian, Persian, Hungarian, and other languages were initiated, some of which evolved into church plants. 1 McCowan Road became a multi-lingual partnership of churches with the English congregation retaining the leading role.


2010 to 2011 were years of significant transition for the English congregation. One of the outcomes of the transitional period was a realization that it was time to withdraw from the happy and fruitful relationship with the Christian and Missionary Alliance. The church would return to its roots as city-oriented and non-denominational. A new name was adopted, "Joy City Church." The vision of the church, based on Acts 8.8, became more explicitly articulated: "Through new life in Jesus, much joy in our city."


The Joy City Church "Snowball" was launched. The "Snowball" is an implementation strategy in pursuit of the church vision. It is primarily a relationship based discipleship strategy designed to ensure that every person who chooses to be part of the "Snowball" will enjoy meaningful, mutual relationships that contribute to a successful experience in following Jesus.