Anniversary Vignette #3
Street Presbyterian Church
heritage of Dominion-Chalmers
began in 19th century Bytown, but was molded by
events in Scotland. The first Presbyterian
church in the area was
St.Andrew’s, built in 1828.
there was no Anglican church in the region at the time, St. Andrew’s,
associated with the established Church of Scotland,
benefitted greatly from
the practice of clergy reserves. When
the Free Church movement in Scotland,
led by Rev. Thomas Chalmers, spread to Canada,
some members left St.
Andrew’s Church in 1844 and established Knox Presbyterian Church in the
Hill district of Bytown.
As the population
1854) expanded, pressure mounted to meet the needs of the growing
Presbyterians in the city. The
enlargement of Knox
1860 provided temporary relief but by
August 1864, the Presbytery of Ottawa recognized the need for the establishment of a new
congregation west of
the Rideau Canal.
The proposal came to fruition after a
few months’ delay caused by actions taken in the church courts by a Nepean
minister who feared the proposed new church would erode his
27 August 1865, the unnamed
congregation held its first worship service of in the Hall above the
Institute at 58 Sparks Street. The
following evening, 19 members attended the founding Congregational
Meeting at which a Committee of Management was elected.
The Committee acted diligently and without
delay. At the first
Annual Meeting of
the congregation on 28 December 1865, plans were presented for a new
church to be constructed at the corner of Bank and Slater Streets. At
the same meeting, a process for securing a full-time pastor was adopted. Within two months, a call
was issued to the
Rev. William Moore, who was ordained on 28 March 1866.
In July 1866, the
still-unnamed congregation moved from
Mechanic’s Hall to a small frame building constructed on its lots at
Bank and Slater Streets.
congregation grew rapidly, plans for
their new stone church were accelerated. The
laying of the corner-stone of “Bank
Street Presbyterian Church” occurred on 08 May 1868; the
opened and dedicated on 21 March 1869 (Photograph).
was led by a Precentor until 1876 when the first organ was purchased. Growth slowed during the
the late 1870s but
resumed during the 1880s, related in part to the introduction of
near-disaster occurred in
1880 when, in the early hours of 04 April 1880, the church was broken
into and set
on fire. Although
the fire was extinguished
before the building was destroyed, the damage was severe enough that
had to be held in the Orange Hall for the next four months while
of a Sunday School
hall was completed in 1890.
Moore, the first minister of Bank Street Presbyterian Church who served
congregation for 36 years, retired at the end of 1902 and was succeeded
J.H. Turnbull. By
1907, the congregation
recognized the need to relocate. This
decision led to the building of Chalmers Church,
the topic of
Vignettes #4 and #5.