Parish History

The history of the Parish of St. Columba is rich with generous and hardworking individuals coming together to grow and celebrate their faith. Here, we give just a brief overview of the church, but a more detailed history can be provided on request.

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 in the late 1940s to become Manor Park School. The Revd 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 couple years.

The city moved Manor Park School to its present location on Braemer, and the old school on Sandridge was purchased to become a church in 1951. St. Columba grew and became a separate parish in 1957. That same year, the building of the rectory was completed. The building 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 St. Columba parishoner. The pews and chancel woodwork was purchased from the famous organ makers, Casavant Frères. Beneath the east window, is a small granite stone from the Island of Iona where 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 bake sales, bazaars, Valentine card parties, dinners, and the holly sale. On the occasion of Canada’s centennial year, Rod Williamson painted a mural around the walls of the lower hall. In 1998, the upper hall was dedicated 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.

For the Year of the Handicapped, 1981, 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, an electric chair lift was installed between John Stewart Hall and the sanctuary.

The nave of St. Columba proudly displays the Regimental Standard of the 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.

A memorial book, displayed in the narthex, lists the many wonderful donations present in the church by St. Columba parishoners. Each week, the Altar Guild displays a new page of the book.

Rectors of St. Columba

The Rev’d Canon John Stewart 1950–1972
The Rev’d James Ibbott 1972–1983
The Rev’d Ralph Smith 1983–1992
The Rev’d Jeffrey Hall 1992–2004
The Rev’d Major John Organ
(Priest in Charge)
The Rev’d Richard Vroom
(Priest in Charge)
The Rev’d Major John Organ
(Priest in Charge)
The Rev’d Canon James Beall
(Priest in Charge)
The Rev’d William Sheppard
(Priest in Charge)
The Rev’d Kenneth Spear 2015–2016
The Rev’d Canon Robert Heard
(Priest in Charge)