Old Stone Church National Historic Site of Canada
Showing the fieldstone and low-pitched roof
© Parks Canada Agency / Agence Parcs Canada, 2006.
1490 Road 15 (Simcoe Street), Beaverton, Ontario
Historic Sites and Monuments Act (R.S.C., 1985, c. H-4)
1840 to 1853
Event, Person, Organization:
Thorah Township Congregation of the Church of Scotland
Old Stone Church
Research Report Number:
Existing plaque: inside wall to left of arch alongside highway 1490 Road 15 (Simcoe Street), Beaverton, Ontario
This building, constructed between 1840 and 1853 by the congregation of St. Andrew's, is remarkable both for its beauty and excellent state of preservation. The aesthetic appeal of this modest Presbyterian church derives mainly from its balanced proportions, the elegant simplicity of its stonework, and its finely detailed windows. Inside, the horseshoe gallery, raised pulpit, and box pews have survived virtually unchanged since the 1860s. A fine example of local craftsmanship, this is one of the few intact vernacular stone churches now remaining in Canada.
Description of Historic Place
Old Stone Church National Historic Site of Canada is a small rural fieldstone church located on the outskirts of the town of Beaverton near Lake Simcoe, Ontario. Presbyterian in denomination, this simple building with gracious classical features stands on a wooded lot separated from a regional road by a stone wall. The church's burial ground, which has become the municipal cemetery for Beaverton, flanks it to the south and west. The designation refers to the church and its legal lot.
Old Stone Church was designated a national historic site in 1991 because it is a particularly gracious example of the few early stone vernacular churches surviving in Canada.
Old Stone Church was built on a 100-acre lot in Thorah Township granted in 1835 to the Church of Scotland by the Legislature of Upper Canada. In 1840, the congregation contracted stonemason John Morrison to build a replacement for the first log church. Construction was completed in 1853. The church, known as St. Andrew's, has changed little since its construction. In 1991, the Beaverton Presbyterian Church undertook its restoration and currently uses it for special services and during the summer. The heritage value of Old Stone Church National Historic Site resides in the rare combination of its high degree of integrity and simple pioneer origins.
Sources: Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada, Minutes, June and November 1991.
Key features contributing to the heritage value of this site include: the rectangular footprint and single-storey massing of the church under a low-pitched roof; its balanced fenestration on both end and side facades; its end-gable entrance with a central door flanked by two large multi-pane windows; its simple, classically inspired features including high round-headed windows and oculi on the gable ends; its local fieldstone wall materials, granite surrounds and wood detailing; its solid wall construction above a log foundation; its auditory hall design with side aisle and rear gallery; surviving original interior furnishings and fittings, their materials, minimalist design, craftsmanship and finishes, particularly its plasterwork, wide pine board tongue-and-groove wainscoting, plank floor, gallery, pulpit, and precentor's box; evidence of the use of early utilities including stoves, and early lighting; its road-side setting within a walled and wooded lot with flanking cemetery.