Address: 9 Sparks St. Box 7 Magnetawan Ontario P0A 1P0

Pastor: Christian Schweter, (705)387-4939,

Service: Sunday 10:30


This history has been compiled from information in reports written by Stanley Raaflaub, on the occasion of church anniversaries and dedications and from the comments by Vern and Fred Raaflaub in church bulletins. September 1995.

With the influx of settlers to Magnetawan and Chapman Township in the years 1875-85, came more than twenty-five families of German and Swiss ancestry, many of them Lutheran faith. They came in from Rosseau via the Nippissing Road which was by all reports still a hard trip at that time. They arrived in Magnetawan and Chapman to build new homes.

Some of the German Settlers came from lower Ontario and United States, but most of the Swiss families came directly from Switzerland. Some of them had quite hard times at first because they did not settle on good land and had to relocate; but they were pleased to be in this great new country of peace free from military service and free to work their own way.

They were a determined people and stayed together to form what was later called the German settlement on the north side of the river around the fourth and fifth concessions of Chapman Township and east on what was called the Hungry Lake Road, at Port Carmen, Cecebe and towards Burk’s Falls. With so may Lutheran people in one settlement they must have felt a great need for a pastor to serve their spiritual needs. Since the records arte few it is not known how the word got around but about 1878 Rev. J. Adams Ernst of the Missouri synod at Elmira made a trip to the area. The government gave him some land for church purposes and he in turn gave it to the Lutheran congregation. However, the church was not built on this lot perhaps because there was

No road to it, but they did use a potion of a Lutheran Cemetery. The lot also provided logs and timber to build a church on Lot 25, concessions 5 of Chapman, about three miles from Magnetawan. Wm. Hoerner had donated an acre of land in 1882. The church was built well up on the hill on rock bottom.

In 1880, a missionary was sent to hold services, but he stayed only for one service. For the next two years two different pastors served during the vacancy. In 1882, a candidate, W. Gans came. He was ordained and installed, and the new church was dedicated at this time, taking the name Immanuel Lutheran Church. The German language was used in the services for about twenty years. The salary for Pastor Gans was $300.00 per year plus transportation, which was mainly a horse and saddle. The parsonage was completed in 1882. Later a classroom was added to it and used for general education before there was a public school, and later for religious instructions.

About 1887, services were being held in Magnetawan and some of the members moved to the village and attended services there. By 1916, the “Chapman” church was closed and the remaining members joined the Magnetawan congregation. The church in Chapman was taken down after about thirty-five years use.

In the 1880s the Lutheran in Magnetawan had been holding services in homes and other places in the village until the first Lutheran Church in the village was built on the east side of Albert Street up on the hill. Some of the Lutheran who had helped build the Chapman Church and later joined the Magnetawan congregation were involved in the building of this second Lutheran church in the area, just about twelve years after the first one was built. It is believed that this church was dedicated in 1885.

Services were held in this church until it suffered quite severe wind damage in 1913. The congregation in Magnetawan had taken the name St. Paul’s Lutheran and used this first building for about twenty years. Because of the wind damage to the church and because the congregation did not own the land, the land was very stony and also because the owner wanted twenty-five dollars for the property, it was decided to move to another location which had been purchased several years before by the congregation. When it was purchased there was a house on the property which was used as a parsonage in later years.

In 1913, a start was made on the foundation for the new church and the building was completed in 1914 using some of the material from the church on the hill. This second church was only about fifty feet north of the present building. According to the records available, no special dedication services were held, but it was in use for the Christmas season of 1914. The church was used until February 1964, for a period of fifty years. At this time the present church was far enough advanced to hold services. Between February 1964 and the dedication of the present church on October 10, 1965, much of the interior, window, finish, etc., was taken from the “old church” and installed in the new one.

The year 1995 marks the thirtieth anniversary of this present Lutheran Church. It also marks the one hundredth anniversary of the Lutheran congregation in the village.


Address: 28 Sparks St, Magnetawan, Ontario P0A 1P0

Office Phone: 1 (877)-387-4882

Rev. Dr. Walter Winger, (705)387-0303
Rev. Les Drayer, (705)495-4660

Email Address:

Service: Sunday 10:30


This account was written in 1995 from information supplied by church bulletins and church programs used for special occasions.

Knox Presbyterian Church in Magnetawan was built in 1978 but the congregation in Magnetawan had been established before that. In the year 1872 a missionary was sent out from Knox College in Toronto to Muskoka. This part of the country was just being settled by immigrants. He traveled from Muskoka on the south to Magnetawan on the north-east. In Magnetawan area there were three charges opened. Each charge promised a pledge of $2.00 per Sunday, giving the minister a salary of $312.00 per year. The church progressed rapidly and it wasn’t long before there were congregations at Spence, Port Carman, Beggsboro, Croft and at Magnetawan.

A church building was soon erected by these new congregations. The church building at Magnetawan was used as a way station for new settlers coming into the area, and many stayed in the church while being located on their own homesteads. Knox Magnetawan is one of the few older Presbyterian Churches that has retained most of its original furnishings.

The interior of the church is unique in that it offers a wonderful example of a wooden tonque and groove type of finishing. The walls and ceiling of the church are as they were originally constructed. The original brass hanging lamps are also on display in the windows.

The congregations sometime had a struggle to survive through periods of depressions, sometimes having to resort to students and lay ministers and to uniting congregations for periods of time. During the years of the Great War 1914-1918 and then considerable time after, the Methodist and Presbyterian congregations united because of the shortage of ordained men and for financial reasons. During this period, the Methodist Church supplied a minister for two years: then the Presbyterian Church supplied the minister for the next two years.
Church union took place in 1925. This was the Union of the Methodist and Presbyterian Churches to form the United Church of Canada. Knox Presbyterian Church decided after a vote to continue as the Presbyterian Church. The Presbyterian congregation was still struggling to survive. Finally, the Croft, Spence and Port Carmen churches closed and their properties were sold. Their congregations joined the Magnetawan Congregation. It is now part of a three point charge along with Sundridge and Burks’s Falls with the minister living in the manse in Burk’s Falls. The present ministers are Freda and Graham MacDonald.

The first ordained minister to come to the area was Rev. Mr. Hush Thomson. He came to Canada from Scotland in 1875 with his family, and remained in the Magnetawan district until his death at 95 years of age. In his memory, his children, Bessy, Hugh Jr., May and Robert, established a legacy to benefit the village of Magnetawan and Know church. This bequest which was received in 1975, was designated to provide medical services in Magnetawan and to aid in supporting the Presbyterian ministry in the village. The building which houses the Credit Union also contains a medical clinic staffed by doctors from Medical Associates in Parry Sound. This was made possible by this bequest.

As happened so often in the early days, not too much attention was paid to the exact location of lot lines. When the manse was no longer needed, it was sold. It was discovered that the church was sitting on part of the sold property. The decision was made to move the church over two lots to another lot owned by the congregation.

This took place on Monday morning July 27,1987. Preparations for the move had been carried out over a period of several weeks by movers from Dunchurch. The move itself took over three hours and most of the population of the village turned out to watch its progress. When the church left its old location it had to cross a small ditch. The church quivered slightly and the church bell rang. The rest of the move went smoothly and by the end of the day, the church was sitting on supports above its new footings awaiting its new foundation and completion. It gives a large basement meeting room and a new narthex at front. Wheel chair access to both meeting room and the church was made possible.



Address: 9 Miller Rd., Sundridge, Ontario P0A 1Z0

Contact: Herb West, (705)384-5280

Services: Sunday, Breaking of Bread: 9:45 am
Service: 11:30 am Wednesday
Prayer Meeting and Bible Study: 8:00 pm


Address: 144 Sparks Street, Magnetawan, Ontario P0A 1P0

Reverend: Rev. Maureen Ellison, (705)382-0044

Service: 9:15 am


Like many United Churches in Canada today, Trinity United started as a Methodist congregation. The exact date of the first services held in or around Magnetawan is unknown as is the name of the first minister to be here. The congregation was officially formed in 1873 under the leadership of Rev. H. Battrick. It is known that religious services were held in the area even prior to that date. At first the services were held in the homes of members.

In 1878 under the leadership of Rev. W.H. Hall, the first Methodist Church was built in Magnetawan. Missionary Society reports held in the United Church Archives state that it was a wooden structure but do no give its location. On an old map of Magnetawan which locates some buildings, a Methodist Church is shown on the west side of King Street just north of Albert Street. This may have been its location but no one can recall parents or grandparents speaking of it. It was burned in 1888. The reports of that year state that a new brick church was being built in the village. The following years report stated that the new church was completed in 1889 at a cost of $1100.00.

In 1879, the first resident Methodist minister came to town. He was the Rev. Wm. Emsley. It was reported that a manse had been started in the village that year but no completion date or cost was given. It is the building that stand next to the Post Office. When the minister resided in Dunchurch for a time, the manse was rented. Mary and Glen Putman and family lived there from the fall of 1961 to the fall of 1962. Mr. and Mrs. Norman Stewart also lived there in 1957. When it was no longer needed as a manse it was sold to Lila and Bill Boettger in 1968. They owned it until 1979 when it was sold to Howard and Marilyn Raaflaub. It was turned into a Barbershop and Craft shop with an apartment upstairs.

In the early days Magnetawan was associated with Bloomfield, Chapman and other points. At one time there were no less than eight churches in the pastoral charge under one minister. At one time Dunchurch became part of the pastoral charge. The minister resided then in Magnetawan and objected to all the travelling required. A say supply was appointed to help him.

On June 10, 1925 when Rev. F.J. Vowels was minister, church union took place. This was the union of the Methodist, Presbyterian and congregational congregations to form the United Church of Canada. The Presbyterians in Magnetawan decided not to unite and continued to worship in their regular church building under their usual name Knox Presbyterian. The Methodists took the name Trinity United. On January 1, 1969, Trinity United Church became part of the Burk’s Falls Pastoral Charge. It is now a three point charge along with Burk’s Falls and Katrine. The minister resides in the manse in Burk’s Falls.

The following are the names of those who have served this congregation in the role of minister since its inception:

1872-1984—Rev. N. Barrtick, assisted by Mr. Much
1874-1875—Rev. Almond, and P. Lyons
1875-1876—Rev. Wm. Rimlott
1876-1879—Rev. W.H. Hall
1879-1881—Rev. W.H. Emsley
1881-1883—Rev. Geo. W. Hewitt
1883-1884—Rev. H.W. Brown
1884-1885—Rev. Wilson McDonald
1885-1888—Rev. Samuel Brown
1888-1889—Rev. R. Toye
1889-1891—Rev. H. W. E. Kemp
1891-1894—Rev. T.V. Plunket
1894-1896—Rev. R. Roach
1896-1898—Rev. Wm. G. Marshall
1898-1900—Rev. C.W. Follet
1900-1904—Rev. John W. Wilson, B.A.
1904-1910—Rev. John Gibson assisted by Mr. Albert Bushel
1910-1913—Mr. John Collan
1913-1916—Rev. A.L. Atton
1916-1917—Rev. A. Jenner
1917-1921—Rev. J.F. Hickson
1921-1925—Rev. F.G. Vowels, B.A.
1925-1930—Rev. J. Veals
1930-1935—Rev. E.O. Young
1935-1936—Rev. E. Lautenslager,B.A., B.D.
1936-1938—Rev. A J. Lawton
1941-1942—Rev. Norman Langford
1942-1944—Rev. B.W. Hall
1944-1946—Rev. R.M. Dingwall
1946-1949—Rev. H.R. Monkman
1949-1949—Rev. Salton (from July to Sept.)
1949-1952—Rev. Clarkson Smith
1952-1954—Rev. Wm. Glenesk
1954-1955—Rev. Wm. Glensk
1954-1955—Rev. W.J. Cook
1955-1957—Rev. Douglas Muir
1957-1958—Rev. Wm. Dobson
1958-1961—Rev. David Reeve, B.A.,B.D
1961-1963—Rev. George Doney, B.A.,B.D.
1963-1964—Rev. Donald Atkinson, B.A.,B.D.
1964-1969—Mr. John Firmin
1969-1971—Rev. Richard C. Boehme, B.A.,B.D.
1971-1976—Rev. David M. Iverson
1976-1979—Rev. Michael C.H. Locke
1979-1979—Rev. Robert Peebles (6 months)
1979-1981—Rev. Wm. Smith
1982-1985—Rev. Robert Hiltz (6 months)
1982-1985 Rev. Albert J. Cook (on sick leave Aug. 11, 1985)
Anglican Church Canon Ken Cleator supplied from Sept. 1985 – June 1986
1986-1991—Rev. Bruce McLeod Thomson
1992-1996—Miss Jean Pauley
1996-? —David LeGrand
2005- —Rev. Dennis Laundry

The brick church that was completed in 1889 is the church still used for worship now in 1996. There have been some changes made in that time.

The original seats in the Methodist Church were box seats with a door on the end. The seats themselves were benches inside the box. Each family was assigned a box and no one else sat in it. In later years the boxes were done away with and new pews were put in the church. There were two aisles, one down each side with a row of long pews in the middle and shorter ones along the walls.

A Box stove five to six feet long which took 4 foot wood sat half in the vestibule and half in the church with the stove pipe running the full length of the church to the chimney in the front wall. That was the means of heat for the entire church. The railing across the front of the church was made by Herb Taylor who also made the wooden candelabra. The pulpit stood in the middle of the platform with steps going up each side of the pulpit. There were doors you opened to go onto the platform. When the doors were closed, the railing was solid from one wall to the other. The Junior Choir benches were to the right of the pulpit and the Senior Choir sat to the left of the pulpit. When the choir entered the church, one choir walked down one aisle, the other choir down the other aisle. The rooms off the vestibule were used as Sunday School Rooms.

Church was held twice each Sunday, at 11 a.m. and again at 7 p.m. Sunday School was held while the morning service was being conducted. Miss Emma MacMillan and Lena Irwin were Sunday School teachers for many years.

In the early 1900s, a member of the U.C.W. donated a propane furnace which was installed under the platform at the front of the church. This served as the heating system until an electric furnace was installed in the 1980s and sits in the room to the left of the vestibule. The balcony was built in the early 1960s and a small washroom was installed in the cloak room to the right of the vestibule. The balcony was to be used as a Sunday School room and also to make more seating for weddings and funerals.

A large donation was made to the church in the mid 1960s and a major renovation took palace. At this point the two aisles were eliminated and one wide aisle was put down the centre with double doors. This allowed funeral caskets a much easier entrance to the church. The old tonque and groove lumber on the upper walls was covered with paneling. The pews went to the right hand side and the short side pews were pieced together on the left side of the church. This made long pews on both sides. The platform had wide steps made in the centre with the pulpit to the left and the lectern to the right of the steps. The choir benches sit behind the lectern and the organ to the right of the steps just in front of the pews. The wooden railing extended from the steps to the wall and was the gift of Mr. Firmin, the resident minister. Mr. Firmin also built a large cross which was hung on the wall and is lighted. The light fixtures for many years were large hanging globes. These were replaced with hanging three-globe lights in the mid 1980s, a memorial to a life-long member of the United Church.

In the spring of 1988 a start was made on the addition of a room to the back of the church. A washroom and a small but adequate kitchen were included in the plans. By the spring of 1989 it was close enough to completion that it was used for the Maundy Thursday supper. It provides a much needed Sunday School room and a room for small meeting and gatherings. It is called the “Sunshine Room.”



Address: 124 Sparks St., Magnetawan, Ontario P0A 1P0

Reverand: Jeffery Hooper

Parish of Almaguin and the Good Shepherd

Address: 2180 Hwy 592, Box 160, Emsdale, ON, P0A 1J0

Contact: (705) 636-7038

People’s Warden: Sandra Tucker (705) 387-3724

Service Sundays at 11am (Easter through Thanksgiving)


Written by Mary Putman in 1984

The Anglican Church in Magnetawan was constructed in 1880, one of the most unique buildings in the area. In that year the Rev. Crompton and parishioners built the “Church on a Rock.”

In 1880, Magnetawan served as the centre of the Anglican Mission. Wm. Crompton, as well as building churches, served the pioneer communities and their churches.

In July of 1884, the Rev. Arthur Young arrived in Magnetawan to become the first resident minister in the village. Rev. Young took part in the consecration of the church in 1887. He remained until 1892.

In 1896, after being without a minister for a few year, Rev. D.A. Johnson arrived and remained until 1899, when Rev. W.H. French took over. Before leaving in 1905, Rev. French saw two more churches consecrated, St. Andrew’s in Dunchurch and St. Peter’s in Midlothian, by the Bishop on September 4, 1902. Rev. S.F. Yeomans took over the charge from Rev. French. He was followed by Rev. P. Bull who served from 1090 to 1912. Rev. W.H. Trickett served the mission for the next two years.

On February 14, 1915, Rev. J. Thompson was inducted by Bishop Thornloe. It was thought that this was the first and only time that an induction service by a Bishop was held in St. George’s.

On arrival of Rev. W.H. Smith on September 2, 1921 at St. George’s, he said, “The faithful are few.” About five years later upon his leaving St. George’s he said “The few are faithful.”

In the late 1920s, St. George’s was added to the Burk’s Falls Mission, which had grown larger over the years and has remained so.

In 1980, St. George’s celebrated one hundred years in Magnetawan with Rev. Duncan Lyon, whoserved the parishes of Burk’s Falls, Magnetawan, South River, Sundridge, and Eagle Lake. To mark this occasion, church members refurbished the exterior of the building with new siding. Also installed were new stained glass windows, a new dorsal curtain and chancel steps.

On August 3, 1980 a special ceremony took place, with the Bishop of Algoma, the Very Rev. Frank Nock officiating at a special communion service. By this time, the church had approximate congregation of fifteen to twenty members. In the summer months, with the influx of American tourists, the congregation increases to 45 and 60 each Sunday.

The first minister, Rev. Compton, was well known in the area, having been instrumental in the building of twenty-two churches in the Parry Sound area and Muskoka. Some are All Saints in Burk’s Falls lost to fire in 1881, St. Mark’s in Emsdale, St. Paul’s in Sequin, St. John’s at Dufferin Bridge, Holy Trinity at Pearceley and St. Peter’s at Midlothian. The latter four are no longer standing.

The pioneers were dedicated Anglicans. A quote from Historical Notes by T.B. Higginson bears this out ‘Sunday, October 2 was a very cold and stormy one. Just as I (Rev. Crompton) was going to service in Magnetawan church at 2 p.m. , I was told by the church warden that some parents were coming a great distance to have their children baptized. Knowing that the lake (Se-Sebe) was exceedingly rough, I waited half an hour, but as I had another service ten miles away at 7 p.m . I could wait no longer. We had a goodly congregation of about 50 and a hearty service. We were leaving the church, when we saw people coming along waving their handkerchiefs. It proved to be the parents and their friends. The father had rowed thirteen miles down the lake in real danger. I got to Midlothian with eight minutes to spare, but no time so much as to eat, but just time to wash my hands and go into the service. I had about 67 adults at the service, eight of whom had come eight miles and four thirteen miles.”

In 1953 to mark the fact that many of the parishioners in the summer are American, a flag was presented. The Stars and Stripes now hang in the church along with the Union Jack.

In 1981, The Rev. Duncan Lyon left St. George’s and the Rev. Elliott Shepherd took his place.

A painting by A.J. Casson, one of the later “Group of seven” Canadian painters, entitled “The Anglican Church at Magnetawan” hangs in the National Art Gallery in Ottawa. In 1980 Mr. Casson gave permission to have prints of his painting made to celebrate the Centenial Year. The following year this painting was produced on a limited number of plates by the Franklin Mint.