Visit Old Hay Bay Church on Facebook or on their website at Old Hay Bay Church | Ontario, Canada.


Did you know that Old Hay Bay Church is open for visitors through the summer months, seven days a week? Stop by for a visit between the hours of 9:30-5:30. The church will be open for viewing. Come in and experience the hard pews and the soft breeze from the Bay. Custodians are available in the adjacent cottage on the grounds to give you a tour and share some of the history. Inside the church, you will find books, prints and various other souvenirs for sale. Payment by cash or cheque.


Donations can be made year-round at or by mail to:
Harvey Nikkel, 1400 Benn’s Point Road, Napanee K7R 3K7.

Hello ECORC Family!


I hope you are enjoying the long summer days. Enjoying days of rest. Relaxation. Enjoying time with family, friends. I am seeing a lot of photos on Facebook of summer adventures, summer reads, grandchildren - all lovely to see and thank you for sharing!


Something I have loved to do since I was a child is write. And so, this summer, as we slowed down a little, I decided I would write an article or two to share with you outside of our regular newsletters. Recently I was sent some photos of a new fence that had been installed at the cemetery across the road from Old Hay Bay Church and I thought, well, this is a sign. I want to thank Elaine Farley and the Trustees of Old Hay Bay Church (OHBC) for their encouragement and support.


Back in 2021, I had the opportunity to visit OHBC. I can honestly tell you that 'The Grand Ole Lady' had my heart the moment I walked through the doors.


The day I arrived was quite warm but the breeze blowing off Hay Bay certainly helped! Walking up to the front of the church, you felt welcomed immediately. A sense of "I'm happy you're here."

When you arrive, a custodian that is staying in the nearby cottage will greet you and talk to you about the history, the stories and will take you inside for a tour. There is so much history here that highlights the fact that some consider this to be the birth place of Methodism in Upper Canada and is the oldest still standing Methodist Church. When you walk inside, the history is almost palatable. You can see a gallery of photos at Gallery | Old Hay Bay Church. While you're on the website, have a look at 'The Guardian' archives - I found these so interesting!


I loved seeing the original posts and beams which also speak about the history of this beautiful space, including the extension of the original worship space in 1835.

Throughout the interior, there are snippets of information that share it's history such as these ...

You're invited to go up to the gallery but be prepared, you may be greeted by someone from days gone by and they ought not move!

Come for the Annual Pilgrimage Service on August 27 @ 3:00 pm - 5:00 pm where Rev. Rosemary Lambie will be the Guest Speaker.


I invite you to visit this beautiful place. Be open to what you may experience here. I had my own experience, but that's for another day. This year I will be staying in the cottage as a Custodian for the first time from September 11-18 so stop by and say hello!

Restoration Project

Beginning in 2019, a restoration program for the church began. The exterior of the building was completed in the fall of 2019. And in June of this year, a new fence in front of the Old Hay Bay Church Cemetery. The white picket fence was replaced with a new cedar rail fence. The picket fence served well from 1996 to this year. As of this publication, the interior has begun it's restoration.


Be sure to come out for the Pilgrimage Service as the service will be held indoors where you will have the opportunity to take in it's character and charm. Come and step back in history!


Exterior Photo's credit Phil Wilson

Interior and fence photos credited to the Old Hay Bay Church website

History of Old Hay Bay Church

Old Hay Bay Methodist Church - Part 1


Who were the people who built this church and brought Methodism to Upper Canada?

On June 16th, 1784 United Empire Loyalists from Major Van Alstine’s military regiment arrived in the Township of Adolphustown, on land that is now the United Empire Loyalist Park in The Town of Greater Napanee. It was a wilderness that had been quickly surveyed the previous fall, but not divided into lots, while the future residents waited in Sorel, Lower Canada, now Quebec. There were 258 people of all ages, who quickly made camp. The group contained a wide diversity of: military rank, counties of origin, religious beliefs and skills. Their loyalty to British rule had bound them together, with a strong sense of community and a will to survival.


Each family was provided with a tent, some clothing, farming implements and tools, and a cow. They would live in the village of tents during the summer until their lots were surveyed. The British government had promised them support for three years.


Their first ‘need’ for religious ceremonies occurred within days of arrival, at the death of a young child, who was buried beneath a tree. The first burial in what would become the “Loyalist Cemetery”. The cemetery was restored by the St. Lawrence Seaway and the United Empire Loyalists, and is located inside the United Empire Loyalist Heritage Centre and Park and is open during the summer to visitors.


Continue this article, which includes Part II - The Subscribers of the Meeting and Part III - Methodism, by visiting Did You Know? History + | Old Hay Bay Church

1819 Drowning - The Great Drowning
from the Napanee Beaver, April 30th, 1897

Probably the most memorable drowning accident that ever occurred in this county was just in front of the old Adolphustown Methodist Church, on Sunday morning, August 29th, 1819. Though nearly seventy-nine years have since elapsed, and every one who ever witnessed that sad catastrophe has long since passed away, yet the remembrance of it still remains fresh with nearly all the descendants of the families of those days.


The circumstances were substantially as follows; There had been a great revival in the Methodist societies in nearly every part of this county that year, and the preachers then in charge of the Bay of Quinte circuit, Revs. Isaac Puffer and James Wilson, had arranged for a special quarterly meeting in the Adolphustown church for that day. A quarterly meeting at that time was almost sure to bring out a number of the zealous people from every society in the county. Those from all parts of North Fredericksburgh and the northern part of Adolphustown had to cross Hay Bay in small boats; the bay just opposite the old church is about a mile and a half wide. Barnard Cole and his family lived across the bay from the church; he owned a pretty large, skiff which was quite a rarity then, as the old time log canoes were much in use. That Sunday morning more assembled to cross at that place than it was safe for even his large boat to carry.


Some, it is said, would not venture in the boat at all, under the circumstances, and some who did so got out again and strongly urged their friends to do so. Among the latter was the late Gilbert Bogart, who died years ago at his farm at Riverside, on the Deseronto road now owned by Mrs. R Thompson. Feeling there was so much danger he went away crying because he could not prevail on his brother Peter to get out also. Peter was one of the victims. They were both young men at that time.


To continue reading this story and learn of the victims names and who they were, please visit 1819 Drowning | Old Hay Bay Church. You will also find "A Ballad On The Death Of Ten Young People, Drowned In Hay Bay" on this page as well as a newspaper article.


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All rights reserved.


Mailing Address:
East Central Ontario Regional Council
225 50th Avenue
Lachine, Québec
H8T 2T7



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