Historic Beaverdams Church (1832) serves as an important testament to the resilience and fortitude of the people who have lived in this corner of the Niagara region for thousands of years.
A sleepy village located in the City of Thorold, Beaverdams only hints today at its historical importance. Long before it hosted the first post office for the entire Township of Thorold, it was the location of an important crossroads in an established network of Native trails – where a north-south route between Lakes Ontario and Erie intersected an east-west artery that followed the upper edge of the Escarpment from Niagara Falls to Burlington Bay.
The village of Beaverdams’ first European settlers were those loyal to the British Crown, people who fled the American Revolutionary War of the late 18th century and sought to build new lives. A generation later, as these new communities began to thrive, local farmer Hiram Swayze deeded an acre of his land on Beaverdams Creek to fellow Methodists for the building of a church.
One of the church’s first preachers was Egerton Ryerson, the father of public education in Ontario. Although regular services ceased after 1890, Trinity United Church in Thorold hosts an annual Beaverdams Heritage Day each year to commemorate this building’s rich history every June.
The two-storey frame church is characterized by a New England meetinghouse style construction, an almost a square plan, paired entrances for men and women, arched ceiling and flanking galleries (concealed in the 1890s) and minimal – but skillfully wrought – ornamentation. Today, it is one of the oldest Methodist churches still standing in Ontario.
The church received formal designation by the Ontario Heritage Foundation in 1965 and is also protected under the Ontario Heritage Act.
It was bought by the City of Thorold in 2010.
Visitors come each year to this popular destination to explore the adjoining graveyard and to take in the breathtaking beauty of the surrounding Lake Gibson Corridor, uniquely showcasing flora and fauna associated with the Carolinian vegetation zone of the Niagara Escarpment.
Please help support the restoration of historic Beaverdams Church!
Donations are gratefully accepted, by contacting either firstname.lastname@example.org or by sending a cheque payable to “City of Thorold (Beaverdams Church Restoration Fund)” via:
P.O. Box 70
8 Clairmont Street