Description of Historic Place
St. Andrew's United Church is located in downtown Sydney, on Bentinck Street, on Cape Breton Island in Nova Scotia. It is one of the few brick buildings in the area, and is impressive for its size and beauty.
The Cape Breton Regional Municipality has designated St. Andrew's Church and the property it sits on.
The Cape Breton Regional Municipality recognizes St. Andrew's United Church for it's early and continuing presence in the community as well as the striking architecture.
This church, started in 1910 and completed in 1911, is the third church built by the Sydney and Mira Presbyterian congregation, originating from 1852. The congregations outgrew the two previous Sydney churches, so the current St. Andrew's was built to contain 1,000 people for services.
The pastor at that time, Rev. Dr. John Pringle travelled to Toronto and met with architects Curry and Sparling to develop the plans for the church. Constucted by Rhodes and Curry Company using red brick from Mira, a local brickyard, the cost was $62,945. The 3,000 pipe, pipe organ made by the famous Casavant Frères in Quebec and engraved 10 bell chimes installed at that time, are still in use today.
Architecturally, the end result was a beautiful house of worship, with impressive towers, bells chiming on Sundays and the steadfast permanence of the Gothic Revival style, rare within the Cape Breton Regional Municipality.
In 1925, St. Andrew's Church joined with Methodist and Congregational churches to form the United Church. This was a dramatic change for some members of the congregation and many members were lost, however new were gained. St. Andrew's United Church is still operational today as a church with full-time clergy.
Source: Cape Breton Regional Municipality, Municipal Heritage files
Character-defining elements of St. Andrew’s United Church relate to its Gothic Revival style and include:
- buttressed belfry towers of differing heights;
- arched windows;
- dentil moulding on belfry towers;
- cornice on the belfry towers;
- three-over-three arched windows in upper belfry of taller tower;
- three arched windows in upper belfry of lower tower;
- wide entry staircase;
- three arched entries containing two wooden doors each;
- Palladian derivative window above entry;
Other character-defining elements of St. Andrew’s United Church are:
- constructed of locally made brick;
- all original interior elements including: Casavant Frères pipe organ, pews, railings, vaulted ceiling, columns and trim;
- ten bells, inscribed with Biblical verses in bell tower.