Parish History

The history of the Parish of St Columba is rich with generous and hardworking individuals coming together to grow and celebrate their Christian beliefs as a faith community. The following is a brief overview of the church history.

The community of Manor Park began as a suburb of Ottawa in the 1940s. On the present site of the church, General Churchill Mann owned a stable which he sold to the City of Ottawa in the late 1940s to become Manor Park School. The Reverend John Stewart, who had been looking for a building in Manor Park to hold regular Anglican services, asked the City if he could rent the school. Worship began in the converted stable in 1949 with a congregation that had been organizing services and Sunday School in homes in the Manor Park community for a number of years.

Manor Park School moved to its present location on Braemer Street, and the old school on Sandridge Road was purchased to become a church in 1951. The Church of St Columba grew and became a separate parish within the Ottawa Anglican Diocese in 1957. That same year, the construction of the rectory was completed to serve as a residence for the rector and his family. The construction of the church was started in 1959 and completed in 1960. The church was designed by ex-Air Force officer, John Devries, and built under the direction of Art Smith, chief engineer for CMHC and a St Columba parishoner. The pews and chancel woodwork were purchased from the famous organ makers, Casavant Frères. Beneath the east window, is a small granite stone from the Island of Iona where our patron saint, St Columba, established a Christian mission in 563 AD.

The church was built with an upper hall to the back and a lower hall below the sanctuary. The halls were in constant use for a variety of church functions such as Sunday School, bake sales, bazaars, parties, dinners, and the Altar Guild’s annual holly sale. On the occasion of Canada’s centennial year, Rod Williamson, a resident of Manor Park and parishioner at St Columba, painted a mural around the walls of the lower hall depicting key events in Canada’s history over the course of the first 100 years. In 1998, the upper hall was dedicated to St Columba’s first rector and has since been known as John Stewart Hall.

The altar is carved oak with a Celtic cross in the centre, one of many donations by parishoners to the church. The Hammond organ was made in Holland and acquired from Peterborough in 1975. In 1989, the east window was replaced with an intricate Memorial Window of stained glass, designed and crafted by Christopher Wallis of London, Ontario.

In 1981, in honour of the Year of the Handicapped, the Parish made modifications to the Church to improve accessibility. Door widths, railings, and improvements to the washrooms were some of the changes. In 2010 and in honour of the 50th anniversary of the Church, an electric chair lift was installed between John Stewart Hall and the sanctuary, dedicated in memory of two founding members, Kenneth Maclure and Peter Sinclair.

The nave of St Columba proudly displays the Regimental Standard of the 4th Princess Louise Dragoon Guards. The Standard was presented to the regiment in 1963 by Her Royal Highness Princess Alice. It was placed in the church for safekeeping in 1965.

A memorial book, displayed in the narthex, lists the many wonderful donations present in the church by St Columba parishoners.

Clergy of St Columba

The Reverend Canon John Stewart1950–1972
The Reverend James Ibbott1972–1983
The Reverend Ralph Smith1983–1992
The Reverend Jeffrey Hall1992–2004
The Reverend Major John Organ2004–2005
The Reverend Richard Vroom2005–2009
The Reverend Major John Organ2009–2010
The Reverend Canon James Beall2010–2012
The Reverend William Sheppard2012–2015
The Reverend Kenneth Spear2015–2016
The Reverend Canon Robert Heard2016–2019
The Reverend Karen Coxon2019-present