• Michael

The First Unitarian Congregation of Ottawa

If you’ve ever travelled west to Woodroffe Avenue along the Sir John A. Macdonald Parkway chances are you are familiar with the sharp spire that peers out just above the treeline before the turnoff. I generally use this structure as a marker to remind myself that the Woodroffe Avenue exit is nearing.

I have always wondered what the rest of the church might look like and it turns out, it’s quite a sight.

Home to The First Unitarian Congregation of Ottawa, the church at 30 Cleary Avenue is a spiritual community made up of people from different religions, ethnicity, races, sexual orientations and socioeconomic backgrounds.

Designed by architect James B. Craig, this structure was built in 1967 using largely red cedar and concrete. I found when I first saw the church from the parking lot, it wasn’t at all what I was expecting having seen the spire so many times before. It was spectacular! The roof rises up progressively at a low angle and then quickly terminates into this spectacular spire.

When you look at the interior you really get a good sense of the structure of the roof. There are four large beams that seem to shoot up to the spire.

Interestingly the worship spaces and pews are arranged differently than in many more traditional churches. They appear almost as in an amphitheatre, but angled and focused largely on a naturally lit stage surrounded by windows.

The First Unitarian Congregation of Ottawa website has some scanned photographs of the building when it was being construct, here.

Location Address: 30 Cleary Avenue, Ottawa, ON K2A 4A1, Canada