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St. Andrew's United Church

500 Fourth Street, Kaslo, British Columbia, Canada

Formally Recognized: 1990/09/25

500 Fourth Street - St. Andrew's United Church; Village of Kaslo, 2012
St. Andrew's United Church view of street frontage 2011
500 Fourth Street - St. Andrew's United Church; Village of Kaslo, 2012
St. Andrew's United Church, front view in winter, historic image.
500 Fourth Street - St. Andrew's United Church; Village of Kaslo, 2012
St. Andrew's United Church painting

Other Name(s)

St. Andrew's United Church
St. Andrew's
Robertson Presbyterian Church
St. Andrew's By The Lake

Links and documents

Construction Date(s)

1893/01/01 to 1896/01/01

Listed on the Canadian Register: 2012/08/22

Statement of Significance

Description of Historic Place

St. Andrew's United Church is a modest white-painted wood frame Gothic style building with an imposing belfry and spire, and a cedar shingle roof. It is located on the corner of B Avenue and 4th Street in Kaslo, British Columbia. The designation applies to the building on its footprint.

Heritage Value

St. Andrew's United Church, originally named Robertson Presbyterian Church, is valued as the first church in Kaslo. Constructed in 1893, it is believed to be one of the oldest continuously operating churches in British Columbia. St. Andrew's United Church is a testament to the spiritual beliefs and commitment of the early settlers in Kaslo who donated materials and volunteered their labour to build it.

The cultural and social value of St. Andrew's United Church is demonstrated in the tradition of providing sanctuary and charity for the community in times of need. For example, the church provided sanctuary to people who lost their homes in the large fire of 1894, even before interior construction of the church was completely finished; it also provided refuge for more people following the flood later that same year. When, from 1942 to 1945, St. Andrew's United Church welcomed the Japanese Canadian (Nikkei) Mission under the leadership of Rev. K. Shimizu, the church was shared for services, reflecting the accepting and embracing spirit of the church members.

This church is a landmark in Kaslo and is valued for the modest Gothic design, including the spire-topped belfry. The bell, which was purchased in 1896 and used as an early warning system for the village, is still in use today. The spacious sanctuary, with its high ceiling and windows that let in natural light, contributes to the sense of quiet and reverence in this place of worship. The design of the sanctuary and the superb resulting acoustics are valuable for church and community musical events such as concerts, chorale workshops and jazz vespers.

With many intact original features and furnishings, the church interior is valued for its ability to evoke the sense of early twentieth century life; the original flooring, pews, the first Estee organ, and the pot-bellied stove all remain. The church also houses the original Methodist organ, pulpit and minister's chair from the local Methodist church (built in 1895) which joined congregations with the Presbyterian Church in 1925 to form St. Andrew's United Church.

Value also lies in the fact that St. Andrew's United Church has been maintained by volunteers ever since 1893. It is regarded as a vibrant "people centre", and a symbol of the resilient spirit of the people who live in the Kootenays. This historic place is further valued for its role as a social and community service centre, providing resources for cultural, recreational, educational, and spiritual needs within the community. In recent years the basement level has housed the regionally-significant North Kootenay Lake Community Services Food Security Project, which operates a food bank and other food-related initiatives. It is notable that St. Andrew's Heritage Hall, rebuilt in 1967 following a fire and located at the south end of the sanctuary, is used by over thirty different community groups.

Source: Village of Kaslo

Character-Defining Elements

Key elements that define the heritage character of St. Andrew's United Church include its:
-definitive church form with belfry and spire
-wood frame structure and cedar-shingle roof
-historic materials dating to the time of construction, such as flooring, pews, pulpit, church bell, Estee organ, pot-bellied stove, Methodist organ and minister's chair
-windows, including four sets of double windows on both the east and west sides, and triple windows on the north end
-sanctuary with high ceiling and excellent acoustics
-Heritage Hall community space
-brass recognition plaque commemorating the role of St. Andrew's Church in providing sanctuary in 1894 and 1942-1945, mounted at the exterior sanctuary entrance
-signage at the hall entrance reading "St. Andrew's By The Lake, Established 1893, Community Heritage Resource"
-ongoing use for spiritual, cultural, and social activities including musical events



British Columbia

Recognition Authority

Local Governments (BC)

Recognition Statute

Local Government Act, s.967

Recognition Type

Heritage Designation

Recognition Date


Historical Information

Significant Date(s)

1896/01/01 to 1896/01/01
1967/01/01 to 1967/01/01
1894/01/01 to 1894/01/01
1925/01/01 to 1925/01/01
1942/01/01 to 1945/01/01

Theme - Category and Type

Building Social and Community Life
Social Movements
Building Social and Community Life
Religious Institutions
Expressing Intellectual and Cultural Life
Philosophy and Spirituality
Building Social and Community Life
Community Organizations

Function - Category and Type


Religion, Ritual and Funeral
Religious Facility or Place of Worship
Food Supply
Food Storage Facility


Architect / Designer



Rev. D.A. Martin and volunteers

Additional Information

Location of Supporting Documentation

Source: Village of Kaslo Office

Cross-Reference to Collection

Fed/Prov/Terr Identifier




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