Abandoned Indigenous Church and Burial Ground – An Ongoing Documentation of Natural Decay
(See bottom of page for annual location updates on this abandoned church)
Since the summer of 2012 I have been visiting this small Abandoned Ontario Indigenous Church and Burial Ground to document the natural decay from elements. Every year i will make a point to travel to the church and if I am able to access the interior I will capture and document for this ongoing project.
Summer of 2012, My Discovery of the Abandoned Church
A rarity among Ontario’s abandoned places are things like this abandoned church, Ontario’s back roads are full of vacant and abandoned homes and buildings, however an abandoned church can be a rare find. Cities like Detroit, Buffalo and other U.S. cities offer a full range of abandonment’s, including churches from large cathedral like to smaller community churches.
Located in a small town in Southern Ontario, many people have probably driven past this abandoned church and paid it no attention. The grounds seem to be maintained and there is a cemetery on the property, many of the graves with freshly laid flowers. The outside looks like most older rural churches and there are no real external signs of abandonment.
I walked the perimeter of this seemingly abandoned church looking for any signs of life or recent activity, no signs of activity could be found anywhere and it was quickly determined that this church was abandoned.
The interior smelled of dust and years of abandonment. Oddly, the inside looked almost as though the last service had taken place just last Sunday. All of the chairs were perfectly lined up inside, a pillow still sat on the front row pew and bibles still stacked on some chairs.
The chairs, bibles and floors were coated with a thick layer of dust, the air inside was thick and old and there was a great deal of water damage and mold growing on the walls. Spider webs stretched from the walls onto the perfectly lined up chairs.
At the front of the abandoned church sits the piano, silenced from years of vacancy and also coated with dust and topped off with a bouquet of artificial flowers.
Sitting, still opened to the last song played was the song book. “Songs from Testimony,” from which the last song to be played was “O How I Love Jesus” written and composed by Frederick Whitfield in 1855, 42 years before this church was opened.
“There is a Name I love to hear,
I love to sing its worth;
It sounds like music in my ear,
The sweetest Name on earth.”
As I explored this small room, periodically interrupted by the pitter-patter of the raccoon’s now living in the ceiling, I found a number of very interesting items:
Sitting on a wooden table behind the alter was a large heavy leather bound bible, worn and weathered from years upon years of use. With the church being over 100 years old, it’s a great thought that this bible may have been here since the churches opening day:
Not wanting to overstay my welcome I grabbed a few more shots of the stained glass windows and of the cemetery outside. Since this visit, I have seen a few other small rural abandoned churches, but none with the atmosphere or quality of this one.
November 2015 Abandoned Church Update: Before and After Pics
2018 Abandoned Church Update
2019 Abandoned Indigenous Church Update with 360 Degree Photography
2020 Location Update
My Spring 2020 visit showed one of the most drastic changes that I had seen over the years, the floor has started to buckle from the middle down so each side of the church has now sunken. Also, much more roof damage and more ceiling damage with much more of the ceiling having fallen onto the floor.