History of the Incumbents
at St. George's Memorial
the Rev. John Pentland, who was the incumbent of St. Paul's, Columbus
and St. John's Port Whitby, also became responsible for St. George's
of Oshawa, which at that time had no permanent place of worship.
Apparently, services were held in the old Court House because the
Council room was unoccupied on Sundays.
The first St.
George's Church in Oshawa was built on the north-east corner of
Park Road and King Street on land donated by a Mr. Warren in 1847
or 1848. It was a very simple wood structure and remembered by Mrs.
Blair, as "a pretty little white church." It served the
congregation until 1858 when the second St. George's was built.
First St. George's Church
The second church was built
on land situated on the north-east corner of John and Centre Streets.
It was a frame structure and although much of the old church was
used in the the building of the new church, it was more elaborate
than its predecessor. As well, the altar, retable and font are among
furnishings brought to the second St. George's and these items are
still being used in St. Peter's Anglican Church, Oshawa. A tower
and spire were added, as well as other exterior finishes, giving
it a more graceful appearance that the first church.
became an independent parish in 1873, during the incumbency of Canon
William Belt. He and his large family lived in the parsonage built
at the north-east corner of Centre and Bagot Streets. It was a frame
building which was replaced by a brick building in 1876.
In 1880, the
congregation felt the need for a permanent Sunday School and Parish
Hall. At the same time the church was in need of both enlargement
and repair. John and William Cowan, prominent members of the congregation,
offered to provide the funds for the renovations and enlargement
of the church, if the congregation would raise funds for the Parish
The Parish Hall
stood north of the rectory, facing Centre St. and was opened on
Sunday October 10, 1880, during the incumbency of of the Rev. J.
Middleton. The chancel of the church was extended to the east, a
gallery was constructed at the back of the church, the steeple repaired
and the whole building put in such good shape that it lasted another
In 1889, a charter
was procured by Mr. Middleton to provide for an Anglican girls'
college. This new school was opened in the former residence of T.N.
Gibbs located on Simcoe St. South where Central Collegiate now stands.
The official opening was held on October 1,1889. It was named Bishop
Bethune College after the second Bishop of Toronto. Because of financial
difficulties, the property and running of the school were transferred
to the Sisters of St. John the Divine. Under the direction of the
Sisterhood, the college carried on for another thirty years. They
were in close communion with St. George's Church, during that time.
In 1932 the College was closed.
On Feb. 1, 1910,
the Rev. C.R. de Pencier was inducted as rector. In the fall of
1912, a special meeting of the Vestry was held to consider offers
from the Pedlar People Ltd. to buy the church property. The company
paid a down payment of $3000.00 during 1913 with the rest to be
paid on possession of the church which was to be within 3 to 5 years.
They decided to build the new church on the land occupied by the
Rectory, on the north-east corner of Centre and Bagot Streets. A
building campaign began immediately, but because of the War the
plans were delayed. The Pedlar Co. extended permission to the vestry
to retain the use of the Church property. In 1919, the first sod
was turned by the Ninth Duke of Devonshire, Governor-General of
Canada. In 1922 the Cornerstone was laid by Major General J.H. McBrien,
Chief of the Canadian General Staff and the blessing was pronounced
by the Right Rev. James Sweeney, Bishop of Toronto. The Church took
the name of St. George's Memorial Anglican Church. The church was
built of Credit Valley whitestone and is of old English gothic architecture.
The church was designed and the building supervised by Eden Smith
and Son, Architects.
The final service
in the old church took place on May 4, 1924 and the new church opened
a week later. The tower and carillon of the church were given by
Thomas Houston of Cincinnati, Ohio in memory of Mrs. Houston's father,
Edward Carswell. The bells installed in the Memorial Tower were
made by the Whitechapel Bell foundry in London England. The bells
number 15 and the largest weighing fifty-two hundred weight.
on which the second church was built was purchased by the city to
use as a park and on April 23, 1939 the congregation dedicated a
new pillar in Memorial Park, commemorating the former church.
The Rector C.D.
Cross was inducted on Oct. 2, 1955. During his incumbency two memorial
windows in the chapel were dedicated to the memory of Canon Rose
who was the rector from 1934 to 1955, and during whose incumbency
the present parish hall was built. In 1958, a stained glass window
was installed in recognition of forty-five years of service by Edward
Drage, by the congregation. He continued as sexton until 1961. Canon
Cross left in June 1962 and was replaced by the Venerable Archdeacon
Fred Ongley in October, 1962.
In 1965 the
organ had to be replaced. A three-manual Casavant replaced the old
organ. The organist, Alan Reesor devoted a great deal of time working
with Casavant to ensure that the organ and the church acoustics
were carefully matched. The new organ was dedicated in Feb. 1966
by the Right Rev. F. H. Wilkinson, Bishop of Toronto.
In April 1977
Archdeacon Ongley preached his farewell sermon. In September, The
Rev. David Peasgood arrived to take over as incumbent. In 1978 the
Vestry approved a recommendation to restore and refurbish Cowan
House. It is one of the few remaining historic buildings in downtown
Oshawa. It had been used as a rectory and later as offices and apartment
for the assistant curates.
As the 60th
anniversary approached, much needed repair work was tackled and
the buildings were put into a structurally sound condition.
In 1981 David
Peasgood became a Canon of St. James' Cathedral and in 1994 became
Archdeacon of Trent-Durham and an assistant to Bishop Douglas Blackwell.
He left St. George's in January 1994 and in September of that year
we welcomed Paul Feheley as our rector.
The Rev. A.
Paul Feheley was inducted as the incumbent of St. George’s
on September 25, 1994. The sermon was preached by Archdeacon Colin
R. Johnson. The Reverend Paul Feheley has a Divinity degree, from
Trinity College, in Toronto and Bachelor of Music degree, from the
Faculty of Music, University of Toronto. During his incumbency a
third service, done in a contemporary format, was introduced; the
Parish Hall was air conditioned; a grand piano was purchased for
the sanctuary; an outside light was installed to illuminate the
east window, at night; a votive candle stand was placed at the entrance
to the Lady Chapel; a new stairway, to reach the chimes, was built
in the tower and a columbarium was erected in the church cemetery
on Park Road. He also oversaw a major restoration campaign which
undertook tower and drainage repairs as well as some repairs to
Cowan House. He was Regional Dean of the Oshawa Deanery. During
his time here we had our first female Assistant Curate in the person
of the Reverend Millie Hope. He was made a Canon of the Cathedral
Church of St. James in January 1997. In May, 2004 he became an Archdeacon.
He was a candidate for election to Bishop and celebrated the 25th
anniversary of his ordination here at St. George’s . In June
of 2005 he left to become the principal secretary to the Most Reverend
Andrew Hutchison, the Anglican Primate of Canada.
Ruth Park, Archivist, with special thanks to Kathleen Rose, author
of St. George's: Our Heritage.