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Advocate United Church

3680 Highway 209, Advocate Harbour, Nova Scotia, B0M, Canada

Formally Recognized: 1998/06/02

Front and west elevations, Advocate United Church, Advocate Harbour, NS, 2009.; Heritage Division, NS Dept of Tourism, Culture and Heritage, 2009
Front and West Elevations
Front elevation detail, Advocate United Church, Advocate Harbour, NS, 2009.; Heritage Division, NS Dept of Tourism, Culture and Heritage, 2009
Front Elevation
Rear and east elevations, Advocate United Church, Advocate Harbour, NS, 2009.; Heritage Division, NS Dept of Tourism, Culture and Heritage, 2009
Rear and East Elevations

Other Name(s)


Links and documents

Construction Date(s)

Listed on the Canadian Register: 2009/03/23

Statement of Significance

Description of Historic Place

The Advocate United Church, built circa 1857, is a large wooden church sitting on Highway 209 in the rural community of Advocate Harbour, Nova Scotia. The two-and-one-half storey church is set slightly back from the edge of the road on a flat, open parking lot with no trees or greenery to hide its unique features. The building faces the village’s main street, that is dotted with large homes built in the same era, and is backed by the Bay of Fundy. The municipal designation covers the building and property.

Heritage Value

The Advocate United Church is valued for its unique form and plan, which is atypical of the Protestant country churches usually built in Cumberland County during the mid to late nineteenth century. Value is also found in the church’s role as a gathering place for the community and congregation.

Architectural Value

The Advocate United Church is a symmetrical, wooden, three-bay church with a number of unique architectural features that make it unlike most early Cumberland County churches. On the front of the church is a centered, two-and-a-half storey frontispiece that rises from the ground, passes through the pedimented gable and roof’s peak, and becomes a square tower topped with a bell tower, a hipped roof and an eight-sided steeple. The frontispiece has a double door entry on the ground floor, and near the roofline is an unusual twelve-sectioned round window. These two features are separated by a large, pointed-arch stained glass window that is Gothic Revival in style. The church’s side windows with their pointed arches and dog-eared labels also reflect the Gothic Revival influence. The Classical Revival influence is evident in the church’s symmetry, its pedimented front gable, the wide mounded frieze, and in the prominent pilasters that accent the outer edges of this unique church. The church was built circa 1857. In 1896 a number of alterations were made to the interior by local carpenters Alex and Clem McLellan. At that time, the church was raised, and the bottom level was added to be used for a vestry.

Historical Value

The Advocate United Church is regarded as having a central position in the community’s important role of offering spiritual and social comfort and support. Because of the rugged terrain, land travel was difficult in this area of Cumberland County; many communities were directly tied to the ship-related economy. Vessels, crews and cargoes travelled the rough, dangerous Nova Scotia shoreline along the Bay of Fundy, and many people sought comfort within the walls of the church.

The Advocate United Church was built for the Methodist congregation in Advocate Harbour and surrounding area. Methodism was a major Protestant denomination in the Maritimes and New England in the nineteenth century, and this church was built during a time when Methodism was rapidly spreading, and congregations were growing. In 1925, the Advocate Harbour congregation voted to become part of the United Church of Canada when the Council of Union Churches joined with other Canadian Methodists, Congregationalists and seventy percent of Presbyterians to create a unified Protestant denomination.

Source: “Heritage Properties County, Advocate United Church” File, Cumberland County Museum

Character-Defining Elements

Character-defining elements of the Advocate United Church include:

- original site, form and massing;
- two-and-one-half storey, wood construction with main floor of church on the second storey;
- frontispiece rising through pediment and roofline to square bell-tower topped with square windows, hip roof and eight-sided steeple;
- distinctive twelve-sectioned round window in frontispiece.

Character-defining Classical Revival elements of the Advocate United Church include:

- symmetry and balance in shape, form and placement of windows;
- medium-pitch roof with pedimented front gable and return eave on back gable;
- three-bay façade with central, double-door entry in front-facing gable end;
- wide, moulded frieze;
- prominent pilasters as cornerboards.

Character-defining Gothic Revival elements of the Advocate United Church include:

- four pointed-arch windows topped with dog-eared labels on each side of church;
- side windows edged in tracery and stained glass;
- four pointed-arch windows in steeple top;
- decorative stained glass Gothic window in frontispiece.



Nova Scotia

Recognition Authority

Local Governments (NS)

Recognition Statute

Heritage Property Act

Recognition Type

Municipally Registered Property

Recognition Date


Historical Information

Significant Date(s)


Theme - Category and Type

Building Social and Community Life
Religious Institutions
Expressing Intellectual and Cultural Life
Philosophy and Spirituality
Expressing Intellectual and Cultural Life
Architecture and Design

Function - Category and Type


Religion, Ritual and Funeral
Religious Facility or Place of Worship


Architect / Designer



McLellan, Alex

Additional Information

Location of Supporting Documentation

"Heritage Property County, Advocate United Church" File, Cumberland County Museum and Archives, 150 Church St, Amherst, NS B4H 3C4

Cross-Reference to Collection

Fed/Prov/Terr Identifier




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