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: standrewssquare.sampaguita.biz

The church peeking through the foliage. Image from: standrewssquare.sampaguita.biz

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 truomega.ca

Photo from truomega.ca

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 www.historicplaces.ca st andrews.

An old look at the building. Photo from http://www.historicplaces.ca 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 http://www.historicplaces.ca).

A more modern look at St Andrews. Photo courtesy of www.atyourservicecatering.ca

A more modern look at St Andrews. Photo courtesy of http://www.atyourservicecatering.ca

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.

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10 Facts – Kamloops, B.C.

On July 3, 1893 the city of Kamloops was incorporated into the province of British Columbia. So, in honor of its 121st birthday, here are 10 facts about the city:

Image via: www-kamloopsvoterssociety-ca.jpg

Image via: www-kamloopsvoterssociety-ca.jpg

  1. The first inhabitants of this area were the roughly 3000 members of the Shuswap tribe which was widespread throughout the region.
  2. The name Kamloops comes from a Secwepemc word, T’kemlups, which translates to ‘the meeting of the waters’ as it is the location where the South Thompson and the North Thompson meet to form the Thompson River.
  3. The first Europeans arrived around 1811.
  4. In its early days, the city was known for being a trade route (mainly fur) based on its proximity to the river.
  5. The discovery of gold in the late 1850’s played a substantial role in further populating the area as some settled in what would become Kamloops in order to pan for gold which others passed through the region on their way to the gold mines on the Cariboo Chilcotin Coast.
  6. This area was the site of the first European baby girl born in B.C.
  7. It is one of only two places in Canada where the two national railways meet inside city limits.
  8. The city of Kamloops was the first in Canada to elect a First Nations member of Parliment.
  9. Due to the harsh climate of the area, Kamloops and its surrounding area have an inverted tree line (where the trees won’t grow below a certain level due to a lack of precipitation).
  10. The city is known as the tournament capitol of Canada as it hosts over 115 tournaments each year.
Image from Wikipedia

Image from Wikipedia

For more information check out the City of Kamloops website as well as the city’s tourism page.