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Nazrey African Methodist Episcopal Church National Historic Site of Canada

277 King Street, Amherstburg, Ontario, Canada

Formally Recognized: 1999/05/04

Corner view of the Nazrey African Methodist Episcopal Church National Historic Site of Canada, after renovations.; Agence Parcs Canada / Parks Canada Agency
Corner view
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Other Name(s)

Nazrey African Methodist Episcopal Church National Historic Site of Canada
Nazrey African Methodist Episcopal Church
Église African Methodist Episcopal Nazrey
Amherstburg Freedom Museum
Musée Amherstburg Freedom

Links and documents

Construction Date(s)


Listed on the Canadian Register: 2006/10/25

Statement of Significance

Description of Historic Place

Nazrey African Methodist Episcopal Church is a simple fieldstone chapel, now part of the North American Black Historical Museum complex in Amherstburg, Ontario. Remarkable as an expression of the determination of the Underground Railroad refugees who settled in this area, the church has been restored for special religious ceremonies and as part of the museum's mandate to present the history of the Black community. The designation refers to the building on its footprint.

Heritage Value

Nazrey African Methodist Episcopal Church was designated a national historic site of Canada because:
- it is a remarkable vernacular stone chapel erected in 1848 descended from an early Methodist congregation established in 1826;
- it is the building type perhaps most representative of the Underground Railroad (UGRR) community and values, and stands out as a religious icon throughout the Black community;
- it is distinctive architecturally as an early and excellent example of the many small refugee churches found throughout Ontario; and
- it has an important association with Bishop Willis Nazery, the first leader of the British Methodist Episcopal Church, a denomination established by UGRR refugees, a wholly Canadian denomination expressive of their allegiance to their new homeland.

In 1848 refugees from American slavery built this church by hand to serve Amherstburg's growing Black community. Its simple auditory-hall form is typical of many of the churches established by the UGRR communities in Canada.

The church is named for Bishop Nazery, who led many congregations, including this one, from the American-based AME Church conference into the new Canadian-based British Methodist Episcopal Church. The denomination flourished until the late 20th century when many dwindling congregations consolidated and reunited with the AME Church. It is now managed as part of the North American Black Historical Museum.

Source: Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada, Minutes, Dec. 1998

Character-Defining Elements

Key elements that contribute to the heritage value of this site include:
- its location in a historic section of Amherstburg;
- its single-storey rectangular massing under a pitched roof;
- its three-bay side elevations with pointed windows;
- its central entry door on the gable end;
- its timber and limestone rubble construction;
- its open auditory hall plan;
- surviving evidence of original exterior stucco and original interior finishes including plaster, v-matched wooden ceiling and wainscotting.




Recognition Authority

Government of Canada

Recognition Statute

Historic Sites and Monuments Act

Recognition Type

National Historic Site of Canada

Recognition Date


Historical Information

Significant Date(s)


Theme - Category and Type

Building Social and Community Life
Religious Institutions
Expressing Intellectual and Cultural Life
Architecture and Design
Building Social and Community Life
Community Organizations
Peopling the Land
Migration and Immigration

Function - Category and Type



Religion, Ritual and Funeral
Religious Facility or Place of Worship

Architect / Designer




Additional Information

Location of Supporting Documentation

Indigenous Affairs and Cultural Heritage Directorate Documentation Centre 3rd Floor, room 366 30 Victoria Street Gatineau, Québec J8X 0B3

Cross-Reference to Collection

Fed/Prov/Terr Identifier




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