Montreal – Saint-James Church and Square

463 rue Saint Catherine Ouest

Built in 1889, the Saint-James Church was, for a long time, from 1926 to 2006, hidden while standing on a major street. At the time of its construction, the Methodist Church was standing on   quiet Sainte-Catherine Street.  It was later, in the 1920’s, that the zone was starting to progress and the tramways were running on the street but the church was facing financial challenges. In 1925, the St-James Methodist Church merged with the Presbyterians and Congregationalists to become St-James United Church. In addition, to ensure a longer existence, the chosen solution was to have stores/shops in the front premise of the church.  While it was supposed to be temporary, it lasted 80 years. The reestablishment was found to be expensive and impacted more than the church. However, the city and the province both acknowledged the historical value of the church and, in 2006, the building façade was again revealed to the public without any blockages.   The arrangement of the square totally emphasis the beauty of the front of the church which is named Square Saint-James.

The St-James Church has supported important new visions for years. The community supported the first YMCA in North America. They also actively supported the rights for women to vote and raised their voices against slavery.  The pulpit in the church has an historical attachment to the latter.  The American author and speaker, Harriet Beecher Stowe, who had a recognized role in the abolishment of slavery, actually gave a speech on this subject from this pulpit.  It is one of the few items that survived the previous St-James churches.

If you have the chance to visit, turn your attention to the World War I memorial Window (1924) dedicated to the members of the community who served their country.

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