St. Catherine's

B.M.E. Church St. Catherine’s

Venue Name *

B.M.E. Church

Type

Church

DATES

From

1853

Location

"B.M.E. Church, St. Catherines, Lincoln (lincstca00_001) (492909)"

Overview

Address: 92 Geneva St. (pp.47)

Vernon's City of St. Catharines Street, Alphabetical Business and Miscellaneous Directory for the Year 1916. Henry Vernon & Son, 1916. ia801601.us.archive.org/24/items/vernstcatharines00vernuoft/vernstcatharines00vernuoft.pdf

People of African descent began settling in the St. Catharines, Ontario area around 1788 and they brought their religion with them. Many were followers of Rev. John Wesley, the founder of Methodism and a staunch abolitionist. They also followed Bishop Richard Allen, the founder of the African Methodist Episcopal Church (AMEC).

An AMEC Society was established in the Queenston Street area in St. Catharines between 1814 & 1820 and a small chapel was built to serve the faithful. When construction on the first Welland Canal (1824-1833) began, most of the community relocated to the underdeveloped area of Geneva, Welland and North Streets.

The AMEC worshipers purchased land in 1835 on North Street from abolitionist businessmen, William Hamilton Merritt and Oliver Phelps to build specifically an "African Methodist Episcopal Church." This church would be the second in St. Catharines and it would house about 70 people. It was located in the center of the African Canadian community that was known as the “Colored Village”.

In 1837, the St. Catharines group sent a petition to the AMEC Conference in the US asking for pastoral care. As a result of this action, AMEC missionaries stationed in Upper Canada were instructed to regulate the existing Societies, organize more in other regions and also communicate that "… they shall be subject to the order of the Bishops, and amendable to the Annual Conference of the New York District." The following year, the New York AMEC Conference organized a church in St. Catharines with forty members and two local preachers. The church was named Bethel Chapel.

After the US Congress passed the 1850 Fugitive Slave Act many free and escaped African Americans relocated to various parts of Canada West. With so many fugitive slaves arriving by way of the UGRR it became necessary to build a larger AME Church in St. Catharines. As a Methodist meeting house, the church provided aid, assisted with temporary shelter for the newly arrived African Americans and hosted many anti-slavery lectures.

The third and current church was also built by African American freedom seekers. The construction began in October 1853 and AMEC Bishop Daniel Payne publicly dedicated the new church to the service of Almighty God on November 4, 1855.

"Welcome to the Salem Chapel Sanctuary of History" Salem Chapel BME Church Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad NHS Canada. Salem Chapel, 2016. salemchapelbmechurch.ca/index.html

Current Status

Salem Chapel BME Church

Website

salemchapelbmechurch.ca/index.html

Sources

Vernon's City of St. Catharines Street, Alphabetical Business and Miscellaneous Directory for the Year 1916. Henry Vernon & Son, 1916. ia801601.us.archive.org/24/items/vernstcatharines00vernuoft/vernstcatharines00vernuoft.pdf

"Welcome to the Salem Chapel Sanctuary of History" Salem Chapel BME Church Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad NHS Canada. Salem Chapel, 2016. salemchapelbmechurch.ca/index.html


Grand Opera House St'. Catherine’s

Grand Opera House Demolition

Grand Opera House Demolition

Grand Opera House - front view

Grand Opera House - front view

Grand Opera House - interior

Grand Opera House - interior

Venue Name *

Grand Opera House

Type

- None -BoatChurchCircusConcert HallHotelLecture HallMulti-useMusic HallPleasure GardensPrivate ResidenceSchooltest typeTheatreUnknown

DATES

From

1877

To

1998

Overview

Address: 47 Ontario St., St. Catherine's

In the late 1870s, influential forces in the city felt that the community needed a proper place for public gatherings, abandoning the former practice of holding such events in the Old Courthouse, in churches, or in the meeting halls of local fraternal societies.

A new purpose-built theatre opened in September 1877 and was initially known as the Academy of Music. The name was soon changed to the Grand Opera House, and later was often shortened to just “The Grand.”

There are two things worth emphasizing about our Grand Opera House – it was not very grand looking, and it didn’t offer just opera, either.

Physically, the building bore no resemblance to the grandiose opera houses of Europe. It was a multi-purpose building — part commercial, part residential, and part entertainment venue, with the public face of the building being the commercial-residential part of the building, facing Ontario Street. It didn’t look any different than a lot of other buildings along Ontario or St. Paul streets.

And the theatre’s offerings were by no means a steady diet of Wagner, Verdi and Puccini – as much or more time was devoted to a mix of choral concerts, plays, minstrel shows, lectures — once a troupe of trained horses took the stage!

The actual theatre space was at the back of the complex, reached by walking through the Ontario Street entrance and down a long corridor past the commercial tenants. The theatre’s exterior was pretty plain, constructed of the reddish-brown rubblestone widely used for other important buildings during the 1870s. But inside it was quite grand, judging by the drawing that accompanies this article, showing what a performer on the Opera House stage would have seen when looking out at the audience.

The Opera House survived one damaging fire in 1895, but another one in April 1926 was severe enough to end the building’s days as a theatre. After that the interior was stripped of whatever remained of its seats and stage and was ultimately filled with three levels of bowling alleys, thus being reborn as Dorado Lanes.

But Dorado Lanes eventually closed, and the commercial-residential part of the building on Ontario Street suffered another fire in the winter of 1992. Not long afterward that part of the complex was demolished and replaced with a parking lot. The shell of the former theatre building/bowling alley behind it remained until 1998, when it too was demolished.

Gannon, Dennis. "Yesterday and Today: Grand Opera House." St. Catherine's Standard. 28 October 2016. Accessed 4 June 2017.

www.stcatharinesstandard.ca/2016/10/28/yesterday-and-today-grand-opera-house


Sources

Gannon, Dennis. "Yesterday and Today: Grand Opera House." St. Catherine's Standard. 28 October 2016. Accessed 4 June 2017. www.stcatharinesstandard.ca/2016/10/28/yesterday-and-today-grand-opera-house

VENUE VIEWS

Show row weights

TITLE

STATUS

OPERATIONS

Grand Opera House Front

Published

Caption *

Grand Opera House Front


Image Date

1992


Textual Description

A photograph of the Grand Opera House/Dorado Lanes, and Peninsula Press St. Catharines, Ontario.

Taken after the March 1992 fire. Dorado Lanes was located at 47 Ontario Street.

"Grand Opera House." St. Catherine's Public Library. File Number: 02/pt1/18-1.2. March 1992. Accessed 4 Jun 2017. bmd.stcatharines.library.on.ca/en/3197374/data?n=2


Caption *

Demolition of the Grand Opera House

Image Date

1992

Textual Description

A photograph of the demolition of the Grand Opera House/Dorado Lanes, 47 Ontario Street, St. Catharines, Ontario.

Taken after the March 1992 fire.

"Demolition of Grand Opera House, 47 Ontario Street." St. Catherine's Public Library. File Number: 02/pt1/18-1.3. March 1992. Accessed 4 Jun 2017. bmd.stcatharines.library.on.ca/en/3197377/data


Caption *

Audience from stage/Former Opera Building

Textual Description

LEFT: A troupe of trained horses was one of the acts that took the stage at the Grand Opera House in St. Catharines. Photo credit: St. Catharines Public Library Special Collections Room. RIGHT: Site of the former opera building on Ontario St. Bob Tymczyszyn/St. Catharines Standard/Postmedia Network


Zion Baptist Church St. Catherine's

ZionBaptistChurchOriginal.jpg

Edited by

Beth Zdriluk, 24-Dec-10; David DeGrow - 11/16/16; David DeGrow - 4/25/17

VENUE OVERVIEW

Venue Name *

Zion Baptist Church

Location

"Zion Baptist Church, St. Catherines, Lincoln (lincstca00_002) (492910)"

Overview

Address: 84 Geneva St. (pp.47)

Vernon's City of St. Catharines Street, Alphabetical Business and Miscellaneous Directory for the Year 1916. Henry Vernon & Son, 1916. ia801601.us.archive.org/24/items/vernstcatharines00vernuoft/vernstcatharines00vernuoft.pdf

"The history of the Zion Baptist Church in St. Catharines begins with Elder Washington Christian, a West Indian from New York, who founded the First Baptist Church in Toronto in 1826 when he organized local worshippers along the north shores of Lake Ontario. The popularity of his congregation grew rapidly throughout the 1830's as word of its formation spread across Canada West.

Christian was responsible for establishing the First Baptist parish in the city of St. Catharines in 1838. Members of the city's Baptist community constructed a chapel, the Zion Baptist Church, on a piece of land granted to the congregation by William Hamilton Merritt in the early 1840's. The church building was located on Geneva St., just south of North St., and it was completed in 1844."

"Zion Baptist Church." The Underground Railroad St. Catherines. www.freedomtrail.ca/st_catharines/zion.html

Vernon's City of St. Catharines Street, Alphabetical Business and Miscellaneous Directory for the Year 1916. Henry Vernon & Son, 1916. ia801601.us.archive.org/24/items/vernstcatharines00vernuoft/vernstcatharines00vernuoft.pdf (pp.47)

"Zion Baptist Church." The Underground Railroad St. Catherines. www.freedomtrail.ca/st_catharines/zion.html

VENUE VIEWS

Caption *

Zion Baptist Church

Textual Description

"Zion Baptist Church." The Underground Railroad St. Catherines. www.freedomtrail.ca/st_catharines/zion.html