GRACE UNITED CHURCH
Did You Know?
Nellie McClung, the Canadian feminist, politician, author, and social activist visited Grace Church and gave the address at a service. She is listed in the Ministers Register on September 27, 1931.
Rev. Marmaduke Louis Pearson (1844 - 1915),
minister at Grace from 1894-94 was the grandfather of
Lester Bowles (Mike) Pearson (1897-1972)
Nobel Peace Prize winner in 1957 and Canadian Prime Minister 1963-68.
L.M. Montgomery, 1874-1942,
author of the “Anne of Green Gables” books, was known to attend service at Grace from time to time when her husband served as minister in nearby Norval beginning in 1926. It is said that she always made a grand entrance after the service had started.
Dr. Egerton Ryerson, 1803-1882, Methodist minister, educator, politician, and public education advocate in early Ontario, conducted the official ceremonies for the opening of the current sanctuary at 156 Main St. N, and also the opening ceremonies of the 1848 church building on Elizabeth St. N. near Nelson St. W.
William Forster was the first sexton of the 1948 church building. He was also the Recording Steward of a Board that had not met for the transaction of business for six years. One very cold Sunday morning, Brother Forster and the church key were both missing as was also the smoke which usually curled from the chimney. Minister and people came as usual, but the door remained locked. It would be needless to add that the long delayed meeting was held and business matters attended to.
Sir Charles Augustin Hanson, Baronet, 1846 – 1922
When the stonework was completed for the first permanent church on Elizabeth Street in 1948, the minister was sent for to lay the first brick. He could not be found but his assistant, Mr. Hanson, a theological student came instead. Charles Augustin Hanson, later went to work for his brother, a broker, in Montreal. In 1890 he was sent to represent the firm in London, England and went on to become a Member of the British Parliament and the Lord Mayor of London 1917-18.
The cornerstone of the current church, built in 1867, was laid by John Macdonald of Toronto assisted by three of the women who had been active in the subscription campaign and at whose insistence the church was to have a spire.
The 1867 sanctuary was lit by a great chandelier which hung from the ceiling with fifteen or twenty coal oil lamps.
At one time, a water motor was used to pump the original organ. When a train at the Railway Station “took water”, during an evening service, the congregation sang along unaccompanied while the organist waited with hands poised over the keys for the power to come on again.
For 25 years, ending in 1980, the Grace Church Sunday service was broadcast on local radio station, CHIC.