Description of Historic Place
Built in 1894-95 to replace an earlier wooden church which stood on the same property about 50 feet to the north, the Trinity United Church is a rock faced stone building of irregular shape, with an off centre tower, flat mill cut trim and a large accenting window in the east wall. Featuring elements of the Gothic Revival architectural style popular in Canada in the late-nineteenth and early-twentieth centuries, the Trinity United Church has long been a landmark in the village.
The Trinity United Church is recognized for its heritage value by the Township of Rideau (now the City of Ottawa), By-law number 49/84.
The land on which Trinity United Church stands today was owned by Robert Johnson Eastman, a son of John Eastman, when it was donated by the former for the construction of the first Methodist church in Kars. The first church was a white painted clapboard building, made with logs supplied by James Hyland, a local farmer. This structure was built by carpenter James Latimer with general labour supplied by members of the congregation and friends. After the construction of the Trinity United Church, the old church was rented out by the Ladies Aid for a number of uses. Originally Methodist, the new church became a part of the United Church of Canada, in 1925. The new building was so generally admired that when the Manotick Methodists decided to build a church a few years later (Manotick United Church) an almost identical plan was used, though without the two porches and with a somewhat altered tower.
The stone for the foundation was drawn by horses from Limebank Road, four-and-one-half miles east of Manotick; the quarried facing stone was from O. Wright Bros. in Hull and came to Kars by boat up the Rideau River. Masonry work was completed by T. Ivason (Ottawa), carpentry by Joseph Johnson (Ottawa) and the architect was Mr. McCartney (Ottawa).
The waterway also brought many visitors; Mr. and Mrs. Henry Birks (the jewellery firm of Ottawa) used to come up the Rideau on their great white cabin boat and tie up at the Kars Bridge on a Sunday night. Members of the Birks family were staunch Methodists and on Sunday morning all the family, staff and crew walked around from the dock in Kars to the Methodist Church to attend services.
The architectural style of this church was very modern for its day. It abandoned the traditional centre or twin towered plans of earlier churches for a more complex asymmetrical arrangement. The Gothic arched windows, however, assured that it would still be readily identified as a church. Decorative details, that still please the eye, include pillars on the porches, the elegant finials at the peak of the centre gable and the porch roofs, the handsome bargeboards, and the woodwork delineating the tower arches. The church has remained in continuous use and has been well maintained over the years with relatively little change to the original structure.
The Trinity United Church is a reflection of the hard work and religious faith of the congregation and also their faith in the future of a developing community.
Sources: Rideau Township Archives LACAC files, City of Ottawa (3428); The Township of Rideau (now the City of Ottawa), By-law number 49/84.
Character defining elements that reflect the heritage value of Trinity United Church includes the:
- rock faced stone building
- irregular shape of the structure with its off centre tower, flat mill cut trim and a large accenting window in the east wall
- Gothic arched windows
- pillars on the porches
- elegant finials at the peak of the centre gable and the porch roofs
- handsome bargeboards
- woodwork delineating the tower arches
- landmark status in the village