The following list shows a sample of notable Unitarians, Universalists and Unitarian Universalists. Click on the person’s name to find out more.

Note that for privacy reasons, we have listed people who are alive only if they have publically spoken about their faith.

Louisa May Alcott 1832-1888 Abolitionist, author of Little Women
Susan B. Anthony 1820-1906 Activist, publisher
Hossea Ballou 1771-1852 Universalist minister
P. T. Barnum 1810-1891 Showman
Bartók Béla (aka Béla Bartók) 1881-1945 Hungarian composer
Clara Barton 1821-1912 Organizer of the American Red Cross
Sir Tim Berners-Lee b. 1955 Physicist, inventor of the World Wide Web
Peter Brock 1920-2006 Historian, pacifist scholar, member of this congregation
Robert Burns 1759-1796 National Poet of Scotland
Annie Clark (aka St. Vincent) b. 1982 Musician
James Coyne 1910-2012 Governor of the Bank of Canada (1955-1961), member of this congregation in the 1960’s
E. E. Cummings 1894-1962 poet, painter
William Dennison 1905-1981 Mayor of Toronto (1966-1972), member of this congregation
Charles Dickens 1812-1870 Novelist, author of A Christmas Carol and Oliver Twist
Ralph Waldo Emerson 1803-1882 Unitarian minister, essayist, poet
Lloyd Francis 1920-2007 MP for Ottawa area ridings (1962-1984), parliamentary speaker (1980-1984)
Robert Fulghum b. 1937 Unitarian Minister, author of All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten
Buckminster Fuller 1895-1983 Engineer, designer, inventor, futurist
Gary Gygax 1938-2008 Creator of Dungeons and Dragons
Edvard Grieg 1843-1907 Norwegian composer
Edmond Halley 1656-1742 Astronomer, discoverer of Halley’s comet
Nathaniel Hawthorne 1804-1864 Author of The Scarlet Letter and The House of the Seven Gables
Dr. Lotta Hitschmanova 1909-1990 Canadian humanitarian, founder of USC Canada
Bruce Hyer b. 1946 MP for Thunder Bay-Superior North (2008-2015)
Rev. William P. Jenkins 1911-1985 Minister of First Unitarian Congregation of Toronto, 1943-1959. Known as the Canadian Unitarian Moses. Spread Unitarianism across Canada. Had a radio program on CHUM in the 1950s called “Let’s Think Together”.
Margaret Laurence 1926-1987 Canadian author of The Stone Angel and The Diviners
Arthur Lismer 1885-1969 Canadian painter, member of the Group of Seven, member of this congregation
Dorothy Livesay 1909-1996 Canadian poet
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow 1807-1882 Poet, educator
Herman Melville 1819-1891 Author of Moby Dick
John Molson 1763-1836 Canadian brewer, Member of the Legislative Council of Lower Canada
Robert Munsch b. 1945 Canadian author of Love You Forever and The Paper Bag Princess
Paul Newman 1925-2008 Actor
Sir Isaac Newton 1642-1726 Physicist and mathematician
Florence Nightingale 1820-1910 Nurse, humanitarian, statistician, Inventor of the Pie Chart
Linus Pauling 1901-1994 Chemist, peace activist, double Nobel Laureate
Randy Pausch 1960-2008 Computer science professor at Carnegie Mellon University, author of The Last Lecture
Sylvia Plath 1932-1963 Poet, author of The Bell Jar
Beatrix Potter 1866-1943 Conservationist, author of The Tale of Peter Rabbit
Joseph Priestley 1733-1804 Scientist, natural philosopher, political theorist
Christopher Reeve 1952-2004 Actor
May Sarton 1912-1995 Poet, author of Coming Into Eighty and Mrs. Stevens Hears the Mermaids Singing
Alyson Schafer   Canadian parenting expert, TV host, Author of Ain’t Misbehavin, Honey, I Wrecked The Kids, and Breaking the Good Mom Myth
Pete Seeger 1919-2014 Musician, social activist
Rod Serling 1924-1975 Screenwriter, TV producer
Michael Servetus 1511-1553 Theologian, Unitarian martyr
Vilhjalmur Stefansson 1979-1962 Arctic explorer, champion of Native American rights
Emily Stowe 1813-1903 Toronto physician, suffragette, first woman doctor in Canada
Margaret Sutton (aka Rachel Beebe) 1903-2001 Author of children’s books, including the Judy Bolton series
Henry David Thoreau 1817-1862 Author, poet, abolitionist, naturalist
Luigi Von Kunits 1870-1931 Founder and conductor of the Toronto Symphony, violinist, member of this congregation
Kurt Vonnegut 1922-2007 Author of Slaughterhouse-Five and Breakfast of Champions
Zach Wahls b. 1991 Activist, author of My Two Moms
Josiah Wedgwood 1730-1795 British potter
Dawud Wharnsby b. 1972 Canadian musician
Walt Whitman 1819-1892 Poet, humanist
Dr. Joseph Workman 1805-1894 Toronto psychiatrist, educator, mental health advocate, co-founder of this congregation
Frank Lloyd Wright 1867-1959 Architect
N.C. Wyeth 1882-1945 Illustrator
John II Sigismund Zápolya 1540-1570 King of Hungary

For more notable UUs, please see these other lists:

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Read “What We Wish People Knew About Unitarian Universalism”


Most faiths are based around a specific set of beliefs; Unitarian Universalists are united primarily not by “beliefs” but by “values” including tolerance, compassion and a desire to make the world a more just and humane place for all.

We believe it makes no difference whether you are agnostic or atheistic or believe in Jesus, Buddha, or another deity, but rather how you live your life.

We draw from many religious and ethical sources, but the covenant which binds us together is the affirmation of our seven principles.

Our Seven Principles

As Unitarian Universalists we covenant to affirm and promote:

  1. The inherent worth and dignity of every person;
  2. Justice, equity, and compassion in human relations;
  3. Acceptance of one another and encouragement to spiritual growth in our congregations;
  4. A free and responsible search for truth and meaning;
  5. The right of conscience and the use of the democratic process within our congregations and in society at large;
  6. The goal of world community with peace, liberty, and justice for all;
  7. Respect for the interdependent web of all existence of which we are a part.

Our Sources of Tradition

The living tradition which we share draws from many sources:

  • Direct experience of that transcending mystery and wonder, affirmed in all cultures, which moves us to a renewal of the spirit and an openness to the forces which create and uphold life;
  • Words and deeds of prophetic women and men which challenge us to confront powers and structures of evil with justice, compassion, and the transforming power of love;
  • Wisdom from the world's religions which inspires us in our ethical and spiritual life;
  • Jewish and Christian teachings which call us to respond to God's love by loving our neighbours as ourselves;
  • Humanist teachings which counsel us to heed the guidance of reason and the results of science, and warn us against idolatries of the mind and spirit;
  • Spiritual teachings of Earth-centred traditions which celebrate the sacred circle of life and instruct us to live in harmony with the rhythms of nature.

Grateful for the religious pluralism which enriches and ennobles our faith, we are inspired to deepen our understanding and expand our vision. As free congregations we enter into this covenant, promising to one another our mutual trust and support.

These principles and sources were written by members of the Unitarian Universalist Association.

What religion are you? Use the Spiritual Belief System Quiz (Belief-o-matic) to find out how closely what you believe matches what many of the world’s religions believe. (There are lots of ads, but it’s worth the effort.)

Music is important to enhance worship in our Sunday services and the choir is an important means of deepening the worship experience. We come together to share our joy of singing and strive for harmony in our music and our choir.

The choir has grown to the point where we have had to cap its membership due to limited physical space in Sunderland Hall. Vacancies are filled as they become available. It is a non-auditioned group and you don’t need to be a member of the congregation to join.

There are no fees. There is, however, an expectation of commitment, that singers will be available for Thursday rehearsals and for Sunday services.

If you are interested in joining the choir, please download, print and complete the Application for Choir Membership Form and bring it to our Sunday Service. Our Engage and Connect team, located at the top of the stairs outside Workman Hall, will be happy to receive it. Once we have your application, a choir representative will contact you to let you know whether there is a vacancy or, if that is not the case, to ask whether you would like to be placed on our waiting list.

These page shows links to official Unitarian sites. If you’re interested in seeing other sites that we think are worth a look, see Cool Links.

Unitarians in CanadaNearby UnitariansOther Canadian UnitariansUnitarians in the U.S.International Organizations

Unitarians in Canada
Canadian Unitarian Council www.CUC.ca
Unitarian Congregations of Greater Toronto (UCGT) www.ucgt.ca
Canadian Unitarians for Social Justice (CUSJ) www.CUSJ.org
Canadian Unitarian Universalist Historical Society www.CUC.ca/links/CUUHS.htm
St. Lawrence District www.SLD.UUA.org
USC Canada (Founded in 1945 as the Unitarian Service Committee of Canada) www.USC-Canada.org
Nearby Unitarians www.CUC.ca/Congregations
Neighbourhood Unitarian Universalist Congregation (Dundas East & Coxwell) www.NUUC.ca
Don Heights Unitarian Congregation (Don Mills & Eglinton) www.DonHeights.ca
Unitarian Fellowship of Northwest Toronto (Lawrence & Weston Rd) www.UFNWT.com
Unitarian Congregation in Mississauga (QEW & Cawthra) www.UUCM.ca
Huronia Unitarian Fellowship (Barrie) www.HUUF.ca
Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Durham (Oshawa) www.UUCD.ca
Elora & Fergus Unitarian Church www.EFUUC.org
Unitarian Congregation of Guelph www.Guelph-Unitarians.com
First Unitarian Church of Hamilton uuhamilton.ca
Unitarian Congregation of Niagara (St. Catharines) www.Unitarian-StCatharines.org
Unitarian Fellowship of Peterborough www.PeterboroughUnitarian.ca
First Unitarian Congregation of Waterloo www.Waterloo.Unitarians.ca
Unicamp of Ontario (near Shelburne) www.UnicampOfOntario.ca
Other Large Canadian Unitarian Congregations
Universalist Unitarian Church of Halifax www.UUCH.ca
Unitarian Church of Montreal www.UCMTL.ca
Mouvement Unitarien Universaliste au Québec www.UUQC.ca
First Unitarian Congregation of Ottawa www.FirstUnitarianOttawa.ca
First Unitarian Universalist Church of Winnipeg www.UUWinnipeg.mb.ca
Unitarian Church of Calgary www.UnitariansCalgary.org
Unitarian Church of Edmonton www.UCE.ca
Unitarian Church of Vancouver www.VancouverUnitarians.ca
First Unitarian Church of Victoria www.VictoriaUnitarian.ca
Others www.CUC.ca/Congregations
Unitarians in the U.S.
Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA) (Based in Boston) www.UUA.org
UU World - The magazine for Unitarian Universalists. www.UUWorld.org
Skinner House Books - a publisher of books to aid individuals and congregations in their search for truth and meaning www.UUA.org/publications/skinnerhouse
Beacon Press - an independent publisher of books that promote freedom of speech and thought, religious pluralism and respect for diversity in all areas of life www.Beacon.org
International Organizations
Unitarian Universalist United Nations Office (UU-UNO) www.UU-UNO.org
International Council of Unitarians and Universalists (ICUU) www.ICUU.net
British General Assembly of Unitarian and Free Christian Churches www.Unitarian.org.uk
Australian & New Zealand Unitarian Universalist Association (ANZUUA) www.ANZUUA.org
International Association for Religious Freedom www.IARF.net
Unitarians in Hungary (Magyarországi Unitárius Egyház) www.Unitarius.hu

Unitarian Universalism (UUism) is a liberal religion that promotes freedom of belief and respect for all people. We provide a warm, open, inclusive supportive community for people who believe “how we live is more important than what we believe.”

Unitarian Universalism is approximately 400 years old and there are more than one thousand UU congregations in the United States, Canada, and around the world.

We do not need to profess a “creed” in order to be a UU. We believe that an individual's theology is a result of their own search for truth and meaning, not obedience to an outside authority. Instead, we are united by shared values including tolerance, compassion and on-going commitment to making the world a more humane and peaceful place. Read about our Principles and Sources.

Unitarian Universalism welcomes people with different beliefs and there is rich dialogue in our congregations about spiritual issues. We welcome and embrace all who share our values and principles regardless of their religious beliefs, sexual orientation, race, age or gender.

Unitarian Universalism attracts people who are uncomfortable with the “dogmas” of the most organized religions. As a result, most of us arrived at Unitarianism from either a different faith tradition or from an un-churched background.

Toronto First Unitarian, founded in 1845, is a place where theists (believers in a personal God) and non-theists, Christians, Jews and Buddhists, the rational and the spiritual, can come together in a community of common purpose and mutual respect.

For parents of young children, we provide an alternative to more traditional approaches to religious education.

Toronto First Unitarian also provides a liberal alternative to Metropolitan Community Church as a religious home for gay and lesbian individuals and families.

Our Unison Affirmation

We recite this affirmation in unison as part of our service every Sunday:

Love is our doctrine,
The quest for truth is our sacrament,
And service is our prayer.
To dwell together in peace,
To seek knowledge in freedom,
To serve life,
To the end that all souls shall grow
into harmony with the divine —
Thus do we covenant with each other
and with all.

Adapted from L Griswold Williams

About Our Congregation

Toronto First Unitarian, like all UU congregations, is autonomous, self-funding and governed by a Board of Trustees elected annually by our members. However, we gain great strength and numerous services by being a member of a larger movement. We are one of more than 45 congregations in the Canadian Unitarian Council (CUC). Learn more about our administration and governance.

About Unitarian-Universalism

Unitarian Universalism is a liberal religious tradition that was formed from the consolidation of two different religions: Unitarianism and Universalism. Both began in Europe hundreds of years ago. After consolidating in 1961 in the U.S., these faiths became the new religion of Unitarian Universalism through the Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA). In Canada, Unitarian and Universalist congregations have been active since the mid-1800's. The Canadian Unitarian Council (CUC) includes congregations that call themselves Unitarian, Universalist and Unitarian Universalist (UU). In practice, we use the word “Unitarian” as a shortcut for “Unitarian Universalist”.

Both religions have long histories and have contributed important theological concepts that remain central to Unitarian Universalism. Originally, all Unitarians were Christians who didn't believe in the Holy Trinity of God (Father, Son, and Holy Spirit), but in the unity, or single aspect, of God. Later, Unitarian beliefs stressed the importance of rational thinking, a direct relationship with God, and the humanity (not divinity) of Jesus. Universalism emerged as a Christian denomination with a central belief in universal salvation; that is, that all people will eventually be reconciled with God.

Learn more about the history of our denomination from the UUA, and learn more about other Unitarian congregations and notable Unitarians.