The red brick church at the corner of Somerset and Bell streets has been a landmark in Ottawa’s Chinatown neighbourhood for almost 100 years. It houses two ministries of the Anglican Diocese of Ottawa: St. Luke’s Anglican Church and St. Luke’s Table, a day program for neighbours that provides fellowship, food and a variety of social services. In 1922, former Prime Minister Sir Robert Borden laid the cornerstone for St. Luke’s Anglican Church, replacing the original 1889 church built on this site that had been partially destroyed by fire in 1903. A heritage designation recognizes its Gothic revival style, the square entrance tower and belfry, the narrow lancet windows, and the stained-glass windows that date from Depression-era days. A bell in the belfry is still in use when services are held. By 1989, the congregation realized a desire to provide greater social value for the community and demolished the parish hall to build a non-profit social housing development. In the interior, pews were unanchored from the floor, and labyrinths were installed on both levels. Renovations in 1992 transformed the interior, with seating capacity reduced to 200, and most of the pews removed. This flexible and creative space is now used for performances, recitals and monthly labyrinth walks, as well as community meeting space. The three-manual Casavant pipe organ, installed in 1937, shows off the building’s wonderful acoustics. Painted Christian symbols around the upper walls are an unusual decorative feature. These include a descending dove, a winged ox (associated with St. Luke) and a harp, a symbol of praise. With a recent $300,000 grant from the City of Ottawa, St. Luke's is working on adding additional washrooms, showers and laundry facilities to support the work of St. Luke’s Table. During Digital Doors Open, learn more about this church through the video below.
- Digital Doors Open
Contact info760 Somerset Street West
ArchitectureYear built: 1922
Building type: Place of worship
Dates/hours openFriday January 1 – Friday December 31, 2021
Part of Digital Doors Open Ottawa