The Oldest Building in Kamloops: St Andrews on the Square

The oldest public building in Kamloops, St Andrews on the Square, was constructed in 1887 and has stood in place while the city itself has grown and developed around it.

The church peeking through the foliage.  Image from:

The church peeking through the foliage. Image from:

When it was first constructed in the late 1800s, in response to the growth of the city, the church was built on land that had been donated by the Canadian Pacific Railway.  The land which, at that time, had actually been located on the very outskirts of the town as it had existed at that time.  In addition to the gift of the land itself, the construction costs for building this structure were actually raised, in large part, by the CPR employees themselves.

Photo from

Photo from

The building served in its original function as a Presbyterian church until 1925 at which time the United Church of Canada was formed as a result of unification. It then continued in this function until 1942 when it was purchased by the Pentecostal Assemblies of Canada (a Pentecostal Christian domination – the largest evangelical church in Canada) and renamed the Calvary Temple which I think might be one of my favorite building names of all time. During this period of ownership in the late 1950’s and 1960’s the St. Andrews building was the host of the largest Sunday School in Canada.

An old look at the building. Photo from st andrews.

An old look at the building. Photo from st andrews.

As a historic place, this building is also noteworthy for its association with the Reverend Phil Gaglardi (1913-1995) who was responsible for the leadership of this church during a period of time which included the 1945 restoration and the large addition to the south of the building that occurred in 1958.  Prior to his taking a position with the church, Reverend Gaglardi had been the provincial Minister of Highways and played a huge role in the expansion of the province’s road and ferry systems.

A picture of the statue of Revered Gaglardi

The statue of Revered Gaglardi located on the grounds of the church.

Purchased by the City of Kamloops in 1991 in order to prevent its demolition, St Andrews had been experiencing years of neglect which had led to the significant decline of the building.  However, since this purchase, the building has undergone significant restoration (with this work being completed in 1996) and is now managed by the Kamloops Heritage Society where it is frequently used for events which include weddings, concerts, and meetings.

Architecturally, this building is a prime example of a late Victorian Gothic Revival style which can be seen, predominantly, in the Gothic pointed-arch windows, the steeple, the corner buttresses, and the scalloped wooden roof ridge (as per the St Andrews page on

A more modern look at St Andrews. Photo courtesy of

A more modern look at St Andrews. Photo courtesy of

Finally, St Andrews on the Square is important for being one of the surviving pieces of work of the architect Robert Henry Lee (1859-1935) who was also central to the organization of the town sites of Nicola, Merritt, and Princeton amongst a number of additional, individual, buildings.


One thought on “The Oldest Building in Kamloops: St Andrews on the Square

  1. Oh my gosh! I remember Rev. Phil Gaglardi, or “flying Phil” as he was known back in the day. We have a number of churches of similar design and vintage as St. Andrew’s in Ottawa. They are a welcome site in the ugly rectangular towers that make up many downtowns.

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