The Methodist congregation, led by Reverend A.T. Bole, hired an Edmonton architect to design a church that would accommodate hundreds of worshippers. The large-scale project demonstrates the optimism and enthusiasm regarding Athabasca’s growth that was prevalent before the First World War. Construction began in 1912 and was completed in 1913, with the opening ceremonies in May, 1913.
The church was built in the Gothic Revival Architectural style. The main auditorium could seat 300 people with an adjacent Sunday school that could accommodate 150. The church housed a men’s club, a ladies parlour, gymnasium and a minister’s vestry among other amenities. The church also had a bell tower and lighting was provided by natural gas lamps. In 1925, the Methodists, Congregationalists and Presbyterians united to form the United Church of Canada.
In 1985, the United Church underwent extensive renovations which resulted in the discovery of a few hidden treasures including a secret staircase and an 1880’s leather bible. Both of these treasures can be seen at the church.
Members of the Athabasca United Church wish to share their beautiful building and its rich history with the public. They are hosting guided tours of the building. A Labyrinth has also recently been built in the backyard for visitors to enjoy.
Guided tours will be provided from 9:00a.m.-4:00p.m. from Tuesday to Friday for the summer. You can drop-in or phone and book an appointment. During the off-season, call ahead of time to book a tour.
Address: 4817 48st
Phone: 780-676-0830 (Off-Season 780-675-2341)