Diocesan Archives

All Saints, Petawawa — Deanery of the Northwest

Diocesan Archives 51 P5 5

Promising Beginnings and Change

Petawawa is first mentioned in 1887 as a station of the Anglican Upper Ottawa Mission, based at Pembroke. A cornerstone for a church at Petawawa was laid on 22 August 1888, and it opened on All Saints Day. Was there another parish or mission where such speed resulted in the building of a purpose-built house of worship?  Here we see it while still new, as engraved in the pages of The Canadian Church Magazine and Mission News in 1890, with the insert showing an outlying log shanty in which services were held. 

Petawawa, in short, was promising. As early as 1890, the Upper Ottawa Mission was divided in two: Mattawa and Petawawa. The Mission of Petawawa consisted of All Saints; Saint George’s, Alice; and congregations at Chalk River and Tennant’s Station. By 1891, Petawawa had five stations with the addition of a new outstation at Point Alexander. Petawawa’s promise, it was assumed, was due to it being the central place in a large landscape.

The new church was so small it did not have a separate chancel wing. Perhaps the finest design features on the exterior were the ornate hinges on the pointed entrance door and the paired windows on this steeply gabled structure.

Tiny as it was, All Saints Church was consecrated on 27 October 1891 by Bishop Charles Hamilton of Niagara. The scattered mission had its challenges. In 1892, North Alice was added as an outstation, and in 1893, Saint Oswald’s, Chalk River opened. Although by 1896, Alice and North Alice were gone from this mission, in 1897 Saint Cuthbert’s and Tennant’s Station were added. In 1907, Petawawa briefly was listed as vacant, due to a shortage of clergy.

There were promising rumours. The buying up of farmland for a military base at Petawawa led to Saint Cuthbert’s being closed.  In 1908, Petawawa became a single point mission, only to be dissolved in 1910, as All Saints became an outstation of Mattawa. In 1915, a new mission of Petawawa was created: with outstations at Chalk River and South Alice. This lasted only six months, as Petawawa now was served by a military chaplain.

Promise at this point gives way to mystery. What happened between 1916 and 1926? It seems that the church closed due to most members moving away, only to reopen a decade later on 17 November 1926.  In 1927, the district of Chalk River, Deux Rivières, Mattawa, Petawawa, Rutherglen and South Alice was served by the Rev. Frederick Ellis and the Rev. Richard S.V. Crossley. Summer services were held at Algonquin Park and at the Petawawa military camp.

By 1930, the Rev. Mr. Jarvis at Petawawa travelled along the CNR line to Brent and along the CPR as far as Mackey Station, holding services. By now Petawawa had seven points, including Brent, Chalk River, Kathmore, Mackey, Point Alexander and South Alice, as well as summer services in Algonquin Park hotels.  In 1931, a Saint Francis’s Chapel established at Point Alexander, to be discontinued in 1934.  In 1939, a parish reorganization combined the Parish of Pembroke with Petawawa to be served jointly by two clergy.  By 1949, there was a new outstation at Rolphton where services were held in the recreation hall for people involved in the Des Joachims (pronounced Da Swisha) hydro project. In 1952, a church was being built at Hydro’s expense for the use of all clergy ministering in that community.  

The Diocesan Archives collects parish registers, vestry reports, service registers, minutes of groups and committees, financial documents, property records (including cemeteries and architectural plans), insurance policies, letters, pew bulletins, photographs and paintings, scrapbooks, parish newsletters, unusual documents.  


Keep on reading

Skip to content