A History of Trinity Anglican Church, Barrie

Trinity about 1880 with the Parish Hall that was built in 1870

Trinity about 1880 with the Parish Hall that was built in 1870


Overview of Trinity's History

Trinity Church, Barrie is a Christian community in the Anglican tradition and has been part of Barrie for 182 years. Anglican worship began in Barrie as early as 1833 when the Rev.Adam Elliot, a travelling missionary, conducted an Anglican service in a log house in Barrie.In 1834, the Rev. T.H.M. Bartlett became the first rector of Shanty Bay, but also came to Barrie to hold Prayer Book services in private homes. In 1835, Mr. Bartlett conducted the first services and preached the first sermon in the new Trinity church building on Berczy Street, in Barrie. The Rev. Samuel B. Ardagh came from Ireland as a missionary and became our first rector in 1842. We occupy the present site because ice and snow made it impossible for parishioners to climb the hill to the first church building on Berczy Street during the winter. Until then, for over 20 years, winter services were often held in the parish schoolhouse in Marks street (now Simcoe Street).  To read more, CLICK HERE

In the Beginning

(This story has been taken from the Trinity Anglican Church 150th Anniversary book.)

“Three hundred years ago, thirty thousand Indians dwelt in their camps in the terrain between Lake Simcoe and Georgian Bay. Three hundred and twenty-five years ago, Champlain stood on the north shore of Lake La Clie (Lake Simcoe), the first white man to view its fresh looking expanse. Two hundred and fifty-five years ago, La Salle came up the Humber River into Lake Simcoe, around the needle-like Big Bay Point, up to the head of Kempenfelt Bay, where the beautiful sandy beach made canoeing easy” (probably where the bus station now stands).

In this epic manner May Creswicke began her history of Trinity Church 80 years ago for its Centennial, and her historical sketch is too good not to copy (except that you have to add 80 years to each of her ago’s). Mrs. Creswicke tells us that after the War of 1812 half-pay officers were, “induced to settle around the shores of Lake Simcoe, where they carved out of the bush those estates whereon they maintained the habits and culture of the homes they had left in the old land.” She suggests that this formed the nucleus both of “Trinity Church and the aristocracy of the early days.” To Read More, CLICK HERE.

Our Early Ministers

The Rev. Samuel Brown Ardagh (Trinity 1842–1869) was born in Fethard, County Tipperary, Ireland on the 8th of April, 1803. He was the eldest son of Rev. Arthur Ardagh, A.M. and Anne, daughter of Samuel Brown, of Fethard, a gentleman of independent means. His father was spoken of as a man of profound scholarship, and of wild and restless temper. He has 13 brothers and sisters, two of whom followed Samuel to Canada.[1]

Samuel graduated from Trinity College, Dublin in February 1927 and was admitted to the Diaconate by the Bishop of Meath. “While passing through College he was one of the gayest and brightest members of a society”[2] To Read More, CLICK HERE

[1] Samuel J. Boddy’s book, “A brief memoir of the Rev. Samuel B. Ardagh, A.M., T.C.D., late rector of Barrie and incumbent of Shanty Bay, Lake Simcoe, Upper Canada”. [Toronto]: [s.n.], 1874. Pg 3-4.

[2] Ibid Pg 5-6.

The Morgan Years 1855 - 1886

In 1850, Rev. Samuel B. Ardagh applied to the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel (SPG) for an assistant, and Rev. Garret Nugent was sent out in 1851 from England. He lived in Barrie but did not take any services there, having the outside missions in his care. He returned to England in 1854 as Mr. Ardagh refused to separate Innisfil and the no parsonage had been built for him in the township, as promised, and altogether he was dissatisfied with the arrangements under which he lived and returned to his native country. He was greatly beloved, but the vestry commended Mr. Ardagh for his stand in regard to Innisfil.

The “Morgan years” began in 1855 when Canon Edward Morgan was appointed by the Bishop to be a missionary assistant to Rev. Ardagh, at the age of 49. His life story reads like fiction: he was born in St. Vincent, West Indies, and educated in England; at the age of 14 he was orphaned and returned to run the large plantations left him by his father. At 20 his sense of vocation was such that he became a catechist, and being denied ordination (which involved residence at Codrington College, Barbados) he devoted himself to his slaves; building them a church, supervising their spiritual welfare, freeing many of them, and studying medicine so that he could doctor them. To Read More, CLICK HERE

Building the New Church and Sunday School

In 1856 the Building Committee reported the church was no longer suitable owing to age, and inaccessibility of location, and mentioned the offer of two lots on Worsley Street valued at £125 sterling, on condition a brick church be built to seat 500, the offer including the lot next door at a price of £50 if the parish would erect a plastered house for the sexton. The plan did not materialize, as the following year the vestry arranged to add a cancel to the old church, which would allow for increased sittings for about 100 persons. The alteration cost £116. 18s. 9d.

In 1861 the rector and wardens were appointed a committee to arrange for a nucleus of a fund for building a new church. In 1862 a motion was passed by the vestry authoring Mr. E.A. Walker to “solicit subscriptions in England for fellow churchmen in the Colonies.” To Read More, CLICK HERE

The Venerable A.R. Beverley – Vicar of Trinity 1919–1934

On August 4th, 1919, at a special Vestry, His Honour Judge G.R. Vance, acting as chairman, passed a resolution asking the Rector, the Rev. Canon Reiner, to appoint the Rev. A.R. Beverley of Quebec as “Vicar” at Trinity and Mr. Beverley entered on his duties.

Both Mr. Beverley and his energetic and enthusiastic wife gained the hearts of the parishioners at once, and a new era arose for Trinity Church. Fifteen years of peace and happiness and growth and development have made Trinity prominent in the town, and noted as one of the best worked parishes in the Diocese. Under Mr. Beverley’s care and guidance the services were dignified, well conducted and devotional. As he himself stated, having no use for “swank” and “affectation”, he never intruded himself but gave a service that drew the soul into the upper sphere where it could make of church attendance a true and real offering of worship. Particularly in the Lord’s own service, his quiet dignity and simple reverence made of this meeting with one’s Lord a place where one could shut out the world and hold close communion with Him. Of a kindly, even disposition, withal possessing a hint of austerity and reserve that will not be amiss in the high office of bishop to which he has been called, he was ever ready to more than meet half way overtures of friendship and goodwill, and these he drew from all he met. Deeply affectionate, he was a man’s man, and drew the men of the parish together as never before. To Read More, CLICK HERE