The All Saints’ property at the northwest corner of Dundas and Centre streets in Whitby was a sheep grazing pasture at the time of its purchase. It was secured early in 1862 for a hefty sum of $700, to be paid in cash by September of that year. A subscription was immediately put into circulation to raise a building fund.
By 1865, the name All Saints’ was decided upon, a building committee was formed, and on June 29, 1865, the cornerstone was laid. The doors of the church were opened to worshippers on November 4, 1866, the first Sunday after the feast of All Saints. The total cost of the building was about $10,000, and at the time of opening, about $700 had yet to be raised. That first Sunday’s offering was $465.43, more than half of the balance, and the remainder of the debt was made up during the first week.
A local history notes that “All Saints’ Victorian gothic steeple has been a prominent landmark on the Whitby skyline — a landmark that has even served as a surveyor’s reference point for past historic town surveys.” Even present-day parishioners recall knowing as children that they were close to home after family trips when the All Saints’ steeple came into view.
The Victorian tower was part of the original construction. In 1870, the spire was added. It is covered with slate of various colours. The ribs were covered with galvanized iron. The spire is topped with a wrought iron finial. The cost was nearly $1,000.
The contract was extended to include the construction of a schoolhouse-type building at the rear of the church, which would serve as a church school and meeting room. An extension for office space, meeting rooms, and individual classrooms was added in 1958. In July 1987, a campaign of repairs and improvements on the tower and spire was completed, and the original 1870 pattern and colours were restored.
The tower originally held five bells that were installed in 1874−5. They were cast by the Meeneley Bell Foundry in West Troy, New York. Each of the five bells is engraved with a year date and an inscription in praise of God; one bell is dedicated to the memory of a boy who died in March 1871 at the age of five. The bells are in the keys of A, B, C#, D, and E, and weigh a total of 2,350 lbs. The bells are numbered according to size. It was the custom in the past to mark the change of the year with bells. Slowly at midnight on December 31, the bells were rung in a solemn chant — 123 221 13432 — followed by a merry peal on the first minute of the New Year. In 2013, a sixth and seventh bell were added to the carillon.