I stopped at St. Andrew's Presbyterian Church on Canada Day while coming back from the War Museum. The church is the only non-government building along this stretch of Wellington Street, set across from the Supreme Court of Canada. It is the oldest Protestant church in the city, with a church first erected here in 1828, founded for and built by the Scottish and Irish crews working on the Rideau Canal at the time. The current building was erected from 1872-74, and is in the Gothic Revival style. It is typical for the church to open up through the day on Canada Day, and at this time of year it is open for a few hours mid-day through the week for visitors to stop in.
A homeless Jesus sculpture stands near the main entrance, done by Timothy Schmalz, the same Canadian artist who did a different take on the theme, one that I showed you at Christ Church Cathedral during my Doors Open series. In this case the tell-tale is the mark of a nail in the outstretched palm. These two sculptures are also in other places around the world. Scripture is inscribed at the base, the passage from Matthew 25 verse 40: "Truly, whatever you did for one of the least of these my brothers and sisters, you did for me."
The sanctuary inside features prominent stained glass windows, majestic in sunlit conditions.
The organ stands high over the sanctuary, which is organized with the pulpit off on the side as opposed to being at one end.
The church has quite a history with prominent worshipers and events. The baptism of Princess Margriet of the Netherlands happened here during the Second World War. Photographs from the congregation's history are often on display in the sanctuary, including the one below from the Great Fire of 1900, taken from somewhere on Parliament Hill. The inferno started on the Quebec side of the Ottawa River, destroying much of old Hull (present day Gatineau) before springing across the river at the islands around the Chaudiere Falls. The spire of the church can be seen against the backdrop of the smoke; the fire was brought to a halt west of there, at Lebreton Flats. Seven lives were lost, two thirds of Hull and a fifth of Ottawa were destroyed, and 15 000 people were rendered homeless.