Until 1990, the church located at 486 Simcoe Street South was known as the Ukrainian Presbyterian Church. This building became home to Oshawa’s Ukrainian Presbyterians after many temporary locations.
The congregation arose from an English language classes offered by Rev. Kupchnyski who came to Oshawa from the Ukraine in 1912. He taught language classes and later conducted services from his home at 486 Albert Street, and this was the beginnings of the Ukrainian Protestant church in Oshawa.
As the congregation grew so did the need for larger premises. With assistance from Col. R.S. McLaughlin and Alex Storie, a building at 46 Albany Street was purchased (near today’s Northern Portugal Cultural Centre). This became known as the Albany Street Mission and became a centre of Ukrainian culture offering lectures, Girl Guides, Boy Scouts, church services and Sunday school.
Rev. Kupchnyski moved to New York in 1925, and when the United Church was formed, the Ukrainian Presbyterians once again found themselves looking for a new home. The Ukrainian Presbyterian Mission was formed; they first met at a private home on Oxford Street before renting a premises owned by the Chamara Brothers at 68 Oshawa Street. Services were led by a deaconess until the arrival of Reverend Luke Standrat. They worshipped there until 1930 when they were finally able to erect their own church on Simcoe Street South at a cost of $8,000. The new church was located at 619 Simcoe Street South between Jackson (Lviv Blvd.) and Bloor Street. The church was built largely by members who though unable to donate money were willing to give their labour. A commemorative corner stone was laid by Rev. Andrew S. Grant MD, DD., Secretary of the General Board of Missions, with a history of the congregation was sealed within the corner stone.
Once again this was proved to be a temporary location for the 24 families of the congregation when the government expropriated the land to expand Highway 401. In 1942, a new church was dedicated at 486 Simcoe Street South. The corner stone was taken from the church at 619 Simcoe Street South and placed in the new building. It can still be seen today.
In 1990 the name of the church was changed to St. James Presbyterian Church to reflect changes in the congregation and appeal to a wider community. The Oshawa Korean Church also offers services from the church on Simcoe.