The organization began its work in 1882 fifteen years after the Confederation. The first worship services were held in Toronto in 1882 and in London, Ontario five months later. They were led by British immigrants. A major Thomas Moore arrived from the United States and took charge, There were eleven church congregations in Ontario and year later Canada was declared and independent Territory. They adopted William Booths philosophy that there is little point to preaching salvation to hungry people. So the concept of “soup and salvation” took hold. Many of the Salvation Army’s now work in partnership with the government.
The organization started as the Christian Mission in the East end of London in 1865. It was renamed the Salvation Army in 1878. The vision of the Salvation Army has always been to get people interested in a relationship with God. They practise an integrated ministry with uniting the spiritual, social and physical support. They aid everyone no matter what their race, creed or beliefs and never force their principles on anyone. There is Emergency Housing for people and programs specifically for women and children. They fight against crime and human trafficking and have programs and help for seniors.
Unfortunately, in 1914 the Army shared in a national tragedy with the sinking of The Empress of Ireland in the St. Lawrence. On board there were more than 120 Salvationists bound for an international congress in London. Most of them drowned including the commander. The Salvation Army responds to urgent needs like the Halifax explosion and the Winnipeg flood helping people with whatever they need. There was a trust formed between people and the Salvation Army got the name the “Sally Ann.” The Salvation Army now worships in 11 languages and provides services in many others. The Army has produced many outstanding leaders like Clarence Wiseman and Arnold Brown.
The Salvation Army is now the largest non-governmental provider in the country. It supports vulnerable people and has 400 communities across Canada and 117 countries around the world. They even offer rehabilitation to people who want to get over addictions. The Salvation Army has 915 active soldiers, 23,000 soldiers and close to 48,000 adherents. There are almost 9,000 people employed in Canada and Bermuda. 55 Canadians serve overseas from Papua to South Africa. Unfortunately, because of the economic downturn some Salvation Army’s are being forced to downsize around the country.