Former Churches Re-Purposed

The former Garden Hill United Church, 3964 Ganaraska Road, Campbellcroft Ontario. This church is the direct descendent of the Perrytown Presbyterian, built c 1838 on lot 15 in concession 6, just west of the present St. Paul’s Anglican Church and replaced with a new church with a seating capacity of 400 worshippers in 1851. When Thomas Albert Gray died in 1877, he left a good part of the money needed for the construction of a new brick church. The congregation decided to build their new church in Garden Hill. When the new church was completed in 1879, the congregation moved from Perrytown to Garden Hill and the church became the Garden Hill Presbyterian Church. In 1925, when the Methodist and Presbyterian Churches in Canada joined to form the United Church, this church was renamed again as the Garden Hill United Church. With the c 2012 amalgamation with Canton and Welcome the church building now vacant was sold. For a short period of time this church housed a bakery, appropriately called “Heavenly Treats”.

Canton’s former Hope Chapel, was built by the people of Canton in 1832 making it one of the smallest Methodist Chapels and one of the first churches in the area. A log cabin on Hawkins property was first used as a school and chapel. The first church was in the abandoned log cabin and was used as an “all denominational” meeting house by the early settlers, then taken over by the Bible Christians. In later years the chapel was covered with rough clapboards to keep the out the winter winds. When the ‘new’ chapel was built, the old one was said to be added to the rear of the church hall, an early patron of the new church was Vincent Massey whose home ‘Batterwood’ stands nearby.

The chapel and grave yard are located on the 4th Line east of County Road 10 in Canton. The oldest grave here is that of  Susan (Woodworth) Hawkins, Wife of James Hawkins Sr.  who arrived in Port Hope from Vermont in 1801, a relative Dr. M. S. Hawkins has a school in Port Hope named in his honour. In 1819 the Weslyan Methodists Methodists gathered in Canton, the first Methodist Church was erected on Hawkins land north of the Hawkins Cemetery. The wooden church now Hope Chapel was for many years a community mainstay of the community until the brick church was built beside the chapel. The chapel was then used as the “Ladies Aid Hall” and for entertainment and teas. The Royal Orange Lodge and the Canton band also held sessions there for some time.

In 1927, the Massey Foundation and the Canton United Church provided funding to move the Chapel from it’s original location on the north-west corner of the property to its present site. The building was placed on cement foundations, lengthened to include a stage, a kitchen and a dining room and was now known as the Canton Hall.

The former Canton United Church had its roots as a Methodist Church constructed in 1876 by local craftsmen. This attractive red brick church was built to replace the Hope Chapel next to it. The church was listed for sale because of declining attendance and held its last service in July 2016. The church was purchased in early 2017 by private interests to convert it to a single, detached dwelling with the Hope Chapel building as an accessory building.

The former Elizabethville Church was a Wesleyan Methodist built in 1856. The story is told that the trustees, Francis Tamblyn, John Barkwell Sr. And Thomas McBirney would not allow strong drink to be used for raising the building, so it was not until the third day after they were told men could be brought up from Hope Chapel in Canton that the church was raised. Of the two church cemeteries in the village neither had stones, so it is unknown how many were buried in the village. In 1900, the Good Templers installed a basement under the church and a furnace was installed. A Women’s Institute was started here in 1911. A melodian organ was acquired for the church in 1912, and the building was wired for hydro in 1939. An electronic organ was dedicated in 1953 and a memorial window was installed to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the church in June 1956. The last regular service was held on June 29, 1969. Today the church has been re-purposed as a an attractive private residence.

The former Sackville Church situated on Cavan Road north of Oak Ridges Drive is now an attractive private dwelling. James Sackville Jr. Purchased the land here from William Banks the founder of Bewdley who built a water powered sawmill and a log house on lot 31 on Cold Creek, James had been employed as a sawyer for some time here. James Sackville (1845-1917) was born and lived his life here For many years he operated the successful mill powered by a huge pond south the of Sackille bridge, was known as a very religious man and a devout member of the Plymouth Brethren religious sect. It was here in1855 that Joseph Scriven (What a Friend We Have in Jesus) came to live and spend the summers. It was in 1886 that Scriven drowned in the millpond.

James built a small frame church here and for some time he led weekly church services for the locals. In later years he converted the church into his dwelling, living a bachelors life for many years. James was well known by the locals for establishing an apiary of some 50 colonies of bees that provided him with a good living. In 1876 he married a Mrs. Porter from Port Hope and they lived in an attractive brick house (still standing) at Sackville. James had also built a school south the the church.

In 1956, the Navy League Branch purchased the former St. Mark’s Parish Hall on Mill Street Port Hope for $20,000. Built in 1865 as a Presbyterian Church north of Walton Street it was moved to it’s present location in 1907 to become St. Mark’s Parish Hall. After extensive renovations, it was officially opened in April 1958 by Hope Township Resident the Right Honorable Vincent Massey, Governor General of Canada. This building at 17 Mill Street has been the Sea Cadet Headquarters ever since.

In 1977, responding to the need for extensive repairs and renovations and a refit, the Towns of Port Hope and Cobourg and 258 individuals, businesses and organizations throughout the County, contributed close to $60,000. The ACO, Port Hope Branch was the leading donor. The Ontario Trillium Foundation grant of $57,000 enabled the Navy League Branch to make further improvements so community organizations could use the building. A new roof, entrance, furnace and electrical panel were completed. Two windows at the front of the building were uncovered and dedicated to the HMC ships Cobourg and Port Hope. A bronze plaque in memory of the Corp’s namesake the HMCS Skeena was added to the front of the building.

The private duplex building on Baldwin Street in Port Hope at the north end of Church Street started its life at the south end of the Bruton Street cemetery. The Presbyterian Church began in a small frame building in 1831 on land purchased from William Baldwin in1827, John Cassie preached here for any years. The church was located in the woods separated from Walton Street by a deep gully known to the locals as ‘Skunk Hollow’. This gully caused a detour to the west for worshippers to reach the church. Some time later the gully was bridged which was later filled in to become Church Street. In 1854 the church was replaced by a new large brick church at a cost of $8,000, it was adorned by three attractive tower-like spires (now gone) at the front of the building.

The former Bailieboro United Church began as Methodist Church in 1833, erected on land purchased for $100 from Robert and John Kerr a local contractor was the builder. The cornerstone laid by George Hilliard of Peterborough with the opening services held Sunday July 1st, 1883. This church replaced

the former old frame church located about three miles east of the present day site. The church now serves as a residence and antique store.

The Bailieboro Christ Church (Anglican) at 181 County Road #28 (Cavan Township) was built in 1891 and is now home to Sanctuary Antiques. The interior and stained glass windows are as they were when the church was an active Anglican Church.

The former Bible Christian Church located at 7 Hagerman Street Port Hope was built on land purchased by trustees of the church from Charles Cameron in 1867 with the church being built in 1867. A further portion of land was purchased in 1885 by Reverend John Bredin. Land Registry records are confusing, but the church was still in operation in1885 and may have been sold by the trustees to John Wallace in 1887. Today the church is an attractive private residence.

Regards, Ranger


  1. PamelaPerraultPhotography · · Reply

    Thank you so much for the history. I’ve shot these churches many times but have never known the background stories. I’m curious, have you visited/do you know anything of St. Andrew’s church in Vernonville? It is beautifully maintained but not, I think, used as a church nowadays. Thanks again for this post. pp


    1. Pamela, thanks for comment, have not visited this church yet but looking forward to doing so. I am now doing some research on it as I have found several more churches previously unknown about. Possibly another post in the future. Thanks again, will keep you updated.


  2. Doris Goheen · · Reply

    Thank you so much for your article on the churches in Hope Twp. I was married in the Canton church, grew up going there on Sundays and for many activities through the week in the church and hall. I sadly watched over the years as it lost its Methodist roots and original purpose as its followers left for Bible based teaching elsewhere.


    1. Doris, thank you for your comment. It is rather sad to see churches especially in the rural areas closing. The Canton church was a beautiful building and it seems to have found a use as a great home, so it will be around for many years to come. The cemetery there is very attractive as well and is maintained so well.


  3. Patricia Davidson · · Reply

    I’d like to advise a correction to the information about the Canton Church cemetery. The first burial was in 1811 and was Susan Hawkins. Please check out the website for more information.


    1. Patricia, thank you for your interesting comment. We appreciate your information on the Hawkins family, the information has been corrected.


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