Knox Building

In 1882, after the opening of the Canadian Pacific Railway between Winnipeg and Rat Portage, a pioneer superintendent of Missions for the Presbyterian Church came to Kenora to see what could be done to provide religious services. A mission was organized: it was arranged that a student of Manitoba College would come and conduct the services during the winter months.

The only available building was the log school building on Hennepen Lane behind the present-day Salvation Army Citadel. It was put at the disposal of the members by the Trustees. The church, desiring its own building, bought two lots on First Street North from the Hudson’s Bay Company. During the summer of 1883, with the help of a loan from the Presbyterian Church and Manse Building Fund of $850.00, they built not only a church but a manse. They were opened in the fall of 1883.

By 1897, the need for a larger building was apparent. A financial drive was started, tenders were called and the contract was awarded to Stephen and McKinnon. Their tender of $11,600 was the lowest by $1,000. The total cost of the present-day building, including the two lots, pews and furnishing, electric lights, organ, leaded glass in the windows, was $19,380. In 1998, the value of the building was estimated at $2.5 million and over $7 million in 2022.

On September 15, 1898, the cornerstone was laid and the building was completed and formally opened on April 23, 1899. In 1906, a manse was bought on Third Street South for $6,000. It was sold in for $.

A pipe organ was installed in 1906 and the choir seating in the chancel was rearranged. It was, again, refigured in 19 and the flooring replaced with hardwood.

In 1917, the Methodist congregation suffered a great loss when its building burned down. The members of the two churches discussed the possibility of rebuilding the Methodist Church. It was finally decided, in view of the fact that the Presbyterian, Methodist and Congregationalist congregations would soon unite, the two churches should set an example by joining together as a United Church. On June 19, 1917, the union took place and was known as the United Church of Kenora, eight years before Church Union in Canada

The mortgage was burned on June 18, 1921. On February 24, 1954, we celebrated the official opening of the rebuilt Lower Hall. In 1963, a committee was formed to oversee the building of a Christian Education wing to meet the growing needs of the congregation. The estimated cost including architect fees and furnishings was $120,000. The architect was Earl Nelson. It was dedicated on October 21, 1965 and the mortgage was burned at a dinner on May 27, 1976.

In 2017, Knox was approached by Kenora District Services Board about the possibility of leasing the Christian Education wing for a Shelter for people who are homeless. After many meetings and discussions, the congregation agreed to this request and renovations began in July 2018. Because of the issues with inhabiting a building during construction, the congregation moved to First Baptist Church for joint services and returned to Knox on Easter Sunday in 2019. Changes in the Christian Education wing necessitated changes in the rest of the building to accommodate the loss of space. The minister’s and church offices were relocated to the Lower Hall, as well as the Lounge. An elevator accessing all three levels was incorporated into the Board Room on the sanctuary level, the Second Street entrance and the lounge in the Lower Hall. The rooms leading from the Sanctuary were redecorated for a Godly Play room and nursery. And an accessible washroom was added to what was originally the hall leading into the Christian Education wing. A new kitchen complete with a commercial dishwasher was incorporated into the old “freezer” room that was part of the old kitchen and the Hearts of Knox storage room.





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“May the grace of Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the holy spirit be with you all”
2 Corinthians 13-14