Visiting Britannia United Church, Mississauga, Ontario: almost 200 years of history in a modern city
Pointed arches and flying buttresses from the 19th century
Mississauga, Ontario, one of Canada's largest cities, in the Province's Peel region, is very much a modern place, but it has corners which have a lot of history.
One such locality is at 5961 Hurontario Street (1), where Britannia United Church stands. Although the building dates initially from 1843, its current exterior reflects enlargements made in 1864 and 1897.
The adjoining cemetery is older than the building itself; it dates from 1830 and is well preserved.
However, as a site, the church's history goes back nearly 200 years. Close to the location of the current structure, a wooden church building was erected in 1821.
The building reflects Gothic style popular in the 19th century; indeed, the term Victorian High Gothic is sometimes applied to this noteworthy structure on Hurontario Street. Thus we see recurring instances of pointed arches and prominent, flying buttresses. Executed in mainly red brick, some of the brickwork is also in patterned yellow.
The location of Britannia United Church on busy Hurontario Street in urban Mississauga belies the originally rural nature of its setting. Today the structure counts as being among the oldest of Mississauga's buildings.
While the Britannia congregation meeting in this historic building is now affiliated with the United Church (2), its roots are Wesleyan Methodist (3), and it was as a centre for local Methodist activities that the building was first known for several decades.
The word 'Britannia' in 'Britannia United Church' reflects the strong identification of many Ontarians with the British Empire in the 19th and early 20th centuries. The building has also been variously known in its history as Gardner's Chapel or Gardner's Methodist Church, referring to the name of the landowner on whose land the structure was built.
December 29, 2014
(1) Hurontario Street is one of the major north-south road arteries of Mississauga, linking with the 401 Freeway.
(2) In 1925 the Methodists and Presbyterians united to form Canada's largest denomination, except for 'a sturdy core', as historian Desmond Morton put it, who did not. (Desmond Morton, A Short History of Canada , Toronto, Ontario: McClelland & Stewart, 1997, p. 192.) Desmond Morton served as Principal of the University of Toronto's Erindale campus, in what is now Mississauga.
(3) Primitive Methodists were also active in the wider district. In the 19th century, tendencies within Ontario Methodism would typically reflect ongoing, theological debates among Methodists in Great Britain. When Methodists and Presbyterians merged in 1925, this was billed by some commentators as an expression of Canadian cultural independence from Great Britain.
Also of interest
Also worth seeing
In Mississauga itself, among the many visitor attractions, a few of these include: St Peter's Anglican church, Erindale, dating from 1825, and its former Rectory; the leafy Sawmill Valley Trail, and many others.
Ebenezer Hall, Brampton, (distance: 24.4 kilometres), formerly a schoolroom, now a community centre, dates from the late 19th century; it has a distinctive bell-tower.
How to get there: Air Canada flies to Toronto Pearson Airport, with wide North American and other connections, from where car rental is available. (Distance from Toronto Pearson Airport to 5961 Hurontario Street, Mississauga : approx. 10.2 kilometres; buses to Mississauga from Toronto Pearson Airport run from Terminal 1, Ground Level, second curb, Column S4.) No. 19 bus stops near 5961 Hurontario Street. Please check with the airline, your travel agent, or transportation company for relevant up to date information. Please refer to appropriate consular sources for any special border crossing arrangements which may apply to citizens of certain nationalities.
MJFenn is an independent travel writer based in Ontario, Canada.
- Visiting Erindale Presbyterian Church, formerly Springfield Methodist Church, Mississauga, Ontario:
Provincial flag of Ontario FlagPictures.org Erindale Presbyterian Church, formerly Springfield Methodist Church, Mississauga MJFenn When this fine structure in what is now Erindale, Mississauga, Ontario, was built in 1877, it was known as...
- Visiting the leafy Sawmill Valley Trail, Mississauga, Ontario: with its Creek strategically importan
Provincial flag of Ontario FlagPictures.org Sawmill Valley Trail, Mississauga MJFenn In the urban environment of Erindale, Mississauga, Ontario, the sudden immersion of the walker into this 2.2 kilometre trail evokes impressions describable in...
- Visiting the Glen Erin Hall Gatehouse, Erindale, Mississauga, Ontario: entrance to a former Estate
Provincial flag of Ontario FlagPictures.org Glen Erin Hall Gatehouse, Erindale, Mississauga MJFenn Glen Erin Hall was an Estate built from 1926 by William Watson Evans (1891-1957)(1), and extended to 80 acres. The Estate was intended to be the...
- Visiting Ebenezer Hall, Brampton, Ontario: a typical, former one-room schoolhouse, dating from 1892
Provincial flag of Ontario FlagPictures.org Ebenezer Hall, Brampton MJFenn Located In Brampton, situated in Ontario's Peel region, Ebenezer Hall is a former one-room schoolhouse, of a type which were note so unusual in late 19th and early 20th...
- Visiting Eastbourne Park and Old Grahamsville Cemetery, Brampton, Ontario: some Wesleyan Methodist h
This is an interesting, historic site, linked with a former schoolhouse and cemetery in what is now the City of Brampton
Also of interest
More by this Author
- 0Visiting Laguna del Sauce: An Uruguayan 70 square km reflecting pool of multidimensional refractions
An inland lagoon in Uruguay reflects light, hills and history. Nearby Punta del Este - whose airport is named for Laguna del Sauce - served as an ideological crucible pitting JFK against Che Guevara.
- 0Visiting Mexico City, and its Venustiano Carranza suburb and airport: remembering figures of Mexican history
It is well known that Mexico City's international airport is named for Don Benito Juárez (Spanish: Aeropuerto Internacional de la Ciudad de México Benito Juárez ). Texans and American travellers to Mexico will also...
- 0Visiting Lougheed House, Calgary, Alberta: a National Historic Site of Canada, this sandstone mansion dates from 1891
Lougheed House, Calgary, has been a real witness to the history of Alberta. Associated with a dynasty of Provincial leaders, its 19th century sandstone walls have harboured many distinguished visitors
No comments yet.