BOARD OF DIRECTORS
Vice-President and Treasurer
Dr. Algis Valiulis
Rev. Vytautas Staškevičius
Dr. Kazimieras Jonušonis
Dr. Arūnas Dailydė
Anapilis' roots can be traced back to 1920 when a group of Lithuanian Catholic immigrants, who had formed the St. John the Baptist Lithuanian Benefit Society, decided they needed their own parish and community centre. In 1928, a small Presbyterian church was purchased in the inner city and named after their charitable society. The Lithuanian community at last had their own religious, social, political, and cultural centre, large enough for the estimated 500 Lithuanians residing in Toronto at that time.
A mass migration of Lithuanians fleeing USSR oppression followed World War II with thousands coming to Toronto. The existing facilities of St. John the Baptist parish, even with the opening of a second Catholic parish in Toronto and the establishment of a Lutheran parish, were insufficient to adequately serve the community. Father Petras Ažubalis, a young dynamic priest was among those arriving. As pastor, he undertook a major renovation initiative to enlarge the church, its hall, and build an addition to house the Lithuanian weekly newspaper "Tėviskes Žiburiai". He was also instrumental in establishing a community centre in Wasaga Beach where many Lithuanians had purchased properties to build cottages.
In 1960, Father Ažubalis bought a section of an apple orchard in Port Credit (now Mississauga) and developed a cemetery with its own indoor/outdoor chapel. In 1970, more land was acquired which sparked the beginning for building a non-denominational community centre for all Lithuanians. In 1972, the community centre, designed by architect Walter Liacas, was constructed. The complex was given the name "Anapilis" meaning "a city beyond"; a name appropriate for a place that bridges time and location between the living and the deceased. In 1974, the original Lithuanian parish, with the permission of the Archdiocese of Toronto, was relocated from Toronto to Anapilis and renamed in honour of the Lithuanian Martyrs. This newly built church and church hall belong to the archdiocese of Toronto, while the cemetery and remaining facilities in Mississauga/Wasaga Beach are vested to the Lithuanian community.
The first chairman of Anapilis was Antanas Rinkūnas and after his death this position was assumed by Jonas Andrulis. Under the guidance of the next pastor Msgr. Jonas Staškevičius, an addition to the centre was built in 1988 to house the Lithuanian Canadian Museum Archives, administrative and cemetery maintenance offices. In Father Vytautas Staškevičius was appointed as the new pastor of the parish and guided the flock until the end of June 2017. With the retirement of Jonas Andrulis in 2011, Rimas Paulionis was elected chair of Anapilis, while in July of 2017 Father Nerijus Šmerauskas was appointed as the new pastor of the parish.
Anapilis is not only a multi-purpose institution, but also the largest of its kind in Canada. It is used mainly for cultural events-musical performances, folklore dance groups, sports clubs, meetings, banquets, receptions and major Lithuanian national commemorations. Anapilis is also the home of the newspaper, museum-archives, a Lithuanian book/souvenir shop and a credit union branch. The centre at Wasaga Beach has a winterized hall and chapel, and is used by an ever-growing community of Lithuanians living there year round.