Saturday, December 8, 2007

Centenary United Church

For as long as I have wandered around downtown, I have wondered about the Centenary United Church. The massive size of it, the bright purple entrance, the location, everything about this place has been peaking my interest for years. One day, this past October, I finally decided to put my curiosities to rest. I googled the name, and found that there was an official website for the church. How modern, and convenient! After reading up on the history, and some happenings, I discovered Reverend Wayne Irwin's email. I quickly sent an email asking if I could have a tour of his stunning building, and he agreed!

I really have to thank Rev.Wayne Irwin for his informative tour, he answered all of my questions, and gave me plenty of opportunities of take pictures along the way. I really appreciate his kindness and willingness to help me.

Instead of reading my summary of Centenary United's history, you can find it - in rich detail, on the website.

This amazing building opened in 1868, and has had minor renovations, additions, and subtractions, since then. For example, the back end - facing the office building on King St., was once extended. Sometime in the not too distant past, the back end of the building was destroyed, and the land sold to be used for parking - as it is still being used today.

The purple entrance that first caught my eye. This entrance, that faces Main St., used to be the main way in - this has been changed to a side door.

..and this is it. The main entrance.

Tucked away in that small charming building are the administrative offices.

Since 1868, people have been walking up and down these original marble stairs. It is amazing to think of all of the people who have used them, and their stories and reasons for visiting the church.

Those chairs provide additional seating in the front, and can be moved around to accommodate wheel chair users. For the most part,
Centenary United is very accessible.

This is my favourite picture of the set.

This, brand new, state of the art keyboard, controlls one of the oldest, and biggest organs in Hamilton.

These are massive in size, and were being maintained when I was there on my tour.

This is facing Main St.

My partner in crime, along on the tour. The wooden floors were so squeaky.

This is an example of some of the beautiful stained glass I saw.

Mixing the old with the new: This mixing board controls all of the audio.

The view from the top.

Hidden deep in the basement of the building, this is the power house of the organ. The air that powers the pipes is pumped from this central location. It is very clausterphobic in there.

United Centenary participates in the "Out of the Cold" program, and provides shelter and food for people seeking it, in the cold months of the year. This kitchen is where the food is prepared by the numerous volunteers that support the program. Rev. Irwin told me that another place of worship that supports this program is the synogauge in Westdale, along with other churches downtown.

This is a very charming tea room, this can be rented out for celebrations.

One of the few meeting spaces.

A feature on Taize - The Christian worship focusing on silence and meditation. This article is about their visit to Centenary United.

This room is dedicated to Taize worship, and is filled with beautiful orange furniture and fabrics.

This is one of the many things dedicated to the memory
and work of Martha Cartmell.

These 2000 cranes were a gift to the chuch from the Japanese students who went to Martha Cartmell's church.

As I learned, these gates were used back when the church was first built, and when the main entrance faced Main St.

The biggest reason for why I have been sitting on this adventure for months ( I went there before Hallowe'en ) is because I was overwhelmed by the amount of pictures I took. I came home with 100 pictures, and I knew there was no way I could describe and display all of them, and It took me a long time to sift through them and pick the most appropriate ones to show.

This was a really special adventure for me, and I high suggest that you to stop by and check out the beauty of one of Hamilton's oldest churches.

Canterbury Hills

I stumbled upon Canterbury Hills yesterday. We took a side street in Ancaster and I saw a sign pointing to a road going uphill, the wooden sign said Canterbury Hills, I was intrigued.

It turns out that Canterbury Hills is an Anglican camp ground / Conference Centre / Brownie's Station /Environmental Preserve.

This is what their website says, "Canterbury Hills is situated in the Dundas Valley on 72 beautiful acres of unique Carolinian Forest, just 18 minutes from downtown Hamilton."

This place was so quiet, and creepy, and beautiful. I am disappointed that I didn't discover this place before the snow fell. It was hard to walk around and check out the property, when everything was covered in snow, and I was grossly under dressed for the weather - as per usual.


This is the main building, and the icy icy parking lot

One of the many marked trails

..And one of the many charming bird houses

I could not believe the amount of deer tracks I saw on the property - an overwhelming amount. Sadly, no deer sightings.

I risked my life, and the life of my camera, climbing down these ice covered wooden steps.

These wooden steps are all over the place. Can you see the deer tracks?

Sadly, I did not go down to the water. By this point, my walking shoes and jeans were soaked.

This is looking at the narrow dirt road that takes you to the property. I was scared for my life on these roads because there was so much ice and they are so narrow, I don't know what I would have done if another car tried to drive past us in the opposite direction.

Walking around, I realized that this place is just begging to be explored -by me. I saw signs pointing to turtle ponds, creeks, and I even saw a babbling waterfall from a distance. And you know how I love a good waterfall! Sadly, the snow put a real damper on my exploration. I will be back in the spring Canterbury!