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St. Thomas' Anglican Church

(Left) The Richardson Romanesque arcitecture of St Thomas Church is an impressive site.(top right) Built in 1877, by an architect from Buffalo, the original mason's stone is hidden in the garden surrounding the church. (bottom right) Beautiful grounds, stone work, and custom windows add to the impressive building.                                                   Photo: Marita Ragheb.
 

GENERAL INFORMATION

     St Thomas Anglican Church was erected in 1877, and its impressive architecture is a beautiful sight on Ontario Street. It is located near Montebello Park, an extra bonus for those who visit it. St Thomas' is a community of God's people seeking to "Walk in the Light, Know Peace and Live Love in Worship and Action".

 

Outreach


The St. Thomas’ Parish chooses to reflect its' spirit by reaching out. They participate in many causes, and contribute to the community. Including:

 

Community care, Bethlehem Place, Women's Place, REFT, St George's Breakfast program, habitat for humanity, Salvation Army meal tickets, Out of the Cold, Hospice Niagara, and others!


Their members give countless hours of volunteer work at the above organizations, as well as spreading outreach around the world.  

 


Photo Gallery

 


TripClip Audio File

(more about TripClips...)

 

 

 

 

  

 

 

Click to play or download the St. Thomas' Anglican Church TripClip (mp3 format).


This destination is also part of the TripClip tour entitled Churches of Downtown St. Catharines. 

 


Hours of Operation

Office: Mon-Thurs 8am-4pm

Services: Wed - Spoken Eucharist at the Side Alter 10 am

Sun - Said Eucharist 8:30am, Choral Eucharist 10:30am.

 


DIRECTIONS

From Toronto:
From the QEW, take the ON-406 S toward Thorold/Welland/Port Colborne. After 6.1 km, take the Regional Road 91 W exit toward Westchester Avenue. Merge onto Westchester Ave, and continue straight onto Ontario St. Destination will be on your Right after 400m.

From Niagara:

From the QEW, take exit 46 toward Regional Road 44/Lake Street. Turn Right on to Lake St and continue for 1.9km, than turn Right onto Welland Ave. After 450m, turn Left onto Ontario St, Destination will be on your Right after 600m.

 

*The ramp at the front of the church makes easy access for the handicapped and there is parking at the back of the church off Cherry St. (access Cherry St. by either Salina St. or Norris Place on either side of the church).

 

 


Historical


     When a number of members from the Christ Church recognized the need for more space, they began the process for building a new Anglican church in St Catharines. On August 20, 1877 the sod was turned for the new church of St Thomas'.


     M.E. Beebe was an architect from Buffalo (see more on M.E. Beebe below), and his Richardson Romanesque design was chosen for the new church building. This was unusual at the time, as the popular choice for Anglican churches was the Gothic style. Richardson Romanesque design is typically known for its' massive stone walls, small windows, dramatic semicircular arches, and at least one outsized tower - all of which are included in the St Thomas design. The Richardson Romanesque design was created for Trinity Church in Boston, and was widely used in North American public buildings for a century following.

 

     Only a few months after the completion of the Trinity Church in Boston, the meeting was held in St Catharines regarding the expansion of the Christ Church.  The parish was a highly evangelical group who wanted to distinguish their church visually from more ritualistic churches, especially nearby St. George's, which was Gothic. Beebe built them a beautiful church, and in October 1879, the first worship service was held.

 

     As with many churches, additions have been made slowly over the years. In 1905, the window depicting St. Thomas was dedicated as a memorial to Augustus Halliday. Mr. Halliday was a freed slave who farmed a small property on Wellington St. and attended church regularly every Sunday.

 

     Further expansions included the establishment of a mission church in 1920, the Parish Hall was built in 1925 and the present rectory was completed in 1929. During the 1980's the turrets were restored, a columbarium (public place to house cremated remains) was built and the nursery centre created. St. Thomas’ Day Care Centre was established in September 1981, and continues to serve the children of the community.

 

     During a time of renewal in 1990, the Church decided to make some changes. The building was a problem, especially the entryway, and lack of accessibility from the street (Originally, ten steps needed to be climbed, and the entraces were dark and off to the side). A sloped forecourt was created and the street-facing wall was opened and fit with glass doors. The furnishings in the interior of the church were made entirely flexible and moveable, allowing a greater variety in worship and services. During this time an elevator was also installed making all floors of the church building accessible, as well as improvements made to the lighting and sound system for the hearing impaired.

 

     For more information about the re-design and the architect, please visit http://www.geraldrobinson.ca and go to case study 3

 

     More renovations in the summer and fall of 1998 saw the replacement of the slate roof and decorative copper work.

 

Architect Milton Earl Beebe:

    

     The grandson of Abel Beebe, one of the first settlers in Buffalo, N.Y., Milton E. Beebe abandoned the family farm at age sixteen to became a mechanic. He apprenticed with Mr. Levi Totten to learn the trade of a carpenter and joiner at a compensation of ten dollars per month. Having a natural taste for and skill in mechanics made him proficient in his calling, and before long he was carrying on the business of erecting buildings.

 

     For about ten years he followed this vocation in the vicinity of his native home, finding employment in the area. When he was nineteen years old, he began teaching school during the winter seasons, and worked at his trade during the summer months.

 

     Mr. Beebe continued the building business in and around Cassadaga after the war, while devoting leisure time to the study of architecture. Borrowing some books and buying others as his small wages allowed him to, he had an uncontrollable desire to be a master of the profession. M. Beebe had an ambition, and wanted to know how to plan and originate, as well as to execute the designs of others.

 

 


Further Information

 

www.stthomaschurch.ca

 

http://www.niagara.anglican.ca/parishes/index.cfm?PID=418

 

http://www.niagara.anglican.ca/newspaper/article.cfm?article=St.%20Thomas%2C%20St.%20Catharines%2C%20Defied%20Fashion%20in%201877&page=1

 

http://www.geraldrobinson.ca/case-study-st-thomas-church.php

 

http://www.buffaloah.com/a/archs/beebe/beebiog.html

 

 

Accessibility

wheelchair accessible, handicapped parking, accessible washrooms,.

Address

99 Ontario St.
St. Catharines, Ontario
L2R 5J6

Telephone

905-684-2339

GPS Co-ordinates

Latitude 43.156631
Longitude -79.25027

Administration

Tel 905-684-2339
Email church.office@stthomaschurch.ca

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