Simcoe Street United Church


Simcoe Street United Church has been a fixture in Oshawa’s downtown since 1867, the year of Confederation.  It started as a small bible class of nine members, whose first wooden building had boasted an orchestra of two clarinets, two bassoons, a flute and a bass violin.

The cornerstone was laid in June 1867,  and May 1868, eleven months later, the Simcoe Street Methodist Church was ready for dedication. There were services throughout the day. The morning services were delivered by the Rev. Dr. Egerton Ryerson, Chief Superintendent of Education of Ontario, delivered the morning service, while the Rev. Dr. Wellington Jeffers delivered the afternoon service.  Audiences for both services were large and filled the aisles. The evening sermon was delivered by the Rev. W. Morley Punshon, and it reportedly attracted such vast crowds that the service was held in the Rev. Dr. Thornton’s church across the street.

The Simcoe Street Methodist Church, described as both neat and beautiful, cost $15,000 to build and was designed by architects Thomas Gundry & Henry Langley.  It was built in the Gothic Revival style It could accommodate between seven and eight hundred people. Between 1911 and 1915, the church was completely renovated: the choir area was enlarged, new pews were added, and a new heating system was installed.  A new Sunday school building was built in 1913. The interior features a decorative tin ceiling and the majestic choir loft which is home to the Casavant organ.

In November 1919, a fire broke out and destroyed the Sunday School building and part of the sanctuary. The cause of the fire was believed to have been caused by the organ. The building was restored after the fire at a cost of $75,000.  While repairs were happening, church services were held at the Marks Theatre.

In 1925, The United Church of Canada came into being, and the Simcoe Street Methodist Church was renamed the Simcoe Street United Church.

With information from:

Ontario Heritage Trust Places of Worship Inventory:

Simcoe Street United Church Research Report, prepared in 2002 by Marg Jackson; Oshawa Museum archival collection.

Samuel Pedlar, Samuel Pedlar Manuscript (unpublished manuscript, 1904), made available online through the Oshawa Public Library, accessed from:

“Simcoe Street United Church gears up for anniversary celebration,” Oshawa This Week, November 30, 2006.

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