By : Dennis Stein
One thing the city of Brockville has an abundance of is churches. A person can barely make it a few blocks in our city without seeing one. The churches in Brockville are among the oldest buildings in the city, and regardless of the denomination, add to the beauty of our town's architectural heritage.
A church which definitely stands out is the First Presbyterian Church on aptly named Church St. The ministry for this church began exactly 200 years ago in 1811, and is credited with the very first Sunday School in Canada. The pastor began its ministry on horseback, carrying his bible in his saddle bag. The church building itself is an amazing example of nineteenth century architecture, and was rebuilt three times over its history, now having a 100 x 110 foot main sanctuary to seat 900 people. It shares Court terrace with the First Baptist Church on the corner of pine St., built around the same time period, and having similar features, and Wall St. church, adjacent to the courthouse on its east side.
St.Paul's Anglican church on Pine St. is another shining example of beautiful architecture in Brockville. It is one of the most original historical buildings in town, having few restorative modifications over its history.
Trinity Anglican Church on George St. has an uncertain future. This month may see it purchased along with the rest of its property by a developer. Plans for a condominium project on the site, and the eventual marketing of the church for commercial purposes are in the works, although the church is on the city's heritage list. It is in need of expensive restoration work however, and eventual demolition of the church building has not been entirely ruled out over the long term.
Another beautiful building whose church bells can be heard on a daily basis is St. Francis Xavier on Church St. It does not share the neo-gothic style of the First Presbyterian, or First Baptist, but has an immense front entry, with terraced steps, and a tall bell tower directly up front. It's ministry began in 1858, proudly displayed on a plaque above the front entrance.
All of the church buildings in Brockville are filled with beautiful stained glass windows, and are immaculate in architectural detail. Their high spires and bell towers add to the rich history of Ontario's oldest city...