Beaverdams Methodist Church & Graveyard

The oldest Methodist church still standing in Ontario

Beaverdams Methodist Church & Graveyard 1832

Beaverdams Church is the oldest Methodist church still standing in Ontario and also the oldest to have remained in continuous use. It was constructed three years following the passing of an 1829 Act “for the relief of religious societies” whereby trusteeships could be formed to own property and construct churches. Beaverdams was the oldest and chief settlement lying wholly in Thorold Township. This community had the first township post office, and other amenities.

On June 26, 1832 the deed of this one acre site was transferred from Hiram Swayze to the trustees of Beaverdams Methodist Episcopal Church. The date of construction and the contractor are unknown as some records have been lost to history. Warren Moore was the first child to be baptized in this church.

Sunday school was first organized in 1840. On June 19 & 20, 1932 the Centennial Celebration was conducted by Rev. Judson Kelly, a descendent of Isaac Kelly who was the first white child born in Thorold Township. Also participating in the service were Rev. T.H. Bole, Rev. Harvey Forster, and six other ministers of the United Church. In 1965 Ms. Ethel Swayze, a descendent of Hiram Swayze, unveiled an historical plaque. This church is the site of the first “free school” in Canada (1847) organized by Rev. Egerton Ryerson, the father of education in Ontario.

The site includes a cemetery in which are buried a number of notable people from the time of construction, before, and after that era. The first recorded burial is of Daniel Totten. Others interred therein include: Hiram Swayze, Isaac Kelly, and Obadiah Hopkins.

If you would like to contribute to or be part of the restoration of historic Beaverdams Church, please contact the Friends:

Twitter: @tweetBeaverdams.

Donations can now also be made directly and securely at the website through PayPal.

Map to the Church

Click pin on map for directions.