Local heritage church celebrates 157th anniversary
by Sandy Lindsay

August 2, 2016


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Canoeists paddled in on the Saugeen River for the anniversary as the pioneers did in earlier times ....

The church was filled as Rev. Dr. Dwight Biggs officiated

The staunch Scottish settlers who came to the Queen's Bush in what is now Bruce County, built a little country church on the Saugeen River ... the Dunblane Presbyterian Church and, on Sunday, July 31st (2016), it celebrated its 157th anniversary.

Thanks to the efforts of the Dunblane Church Committee of volunteers, the little historic country church continues to be remembered and, therefore, so are the pioneers who first settled the land in Queen's Bush and built the church.

One of the oldest churches in Bruce County, Dunblane Presbyterian Church has been formally designated a heritage site on August 2, 2009.

Located on the River Road just outside of Port Elgin (Saugeen Shores), the church was built in 1859 by early settlers whose descendants, with names like Kennedy, Bell, Gowanlock, Bryce, Wallace, Adams Scott, Pollock, McKechnie, Smith, Fraser, Telfer and many others, still reside in the area in and around Saugeen Shores. 


Doug Gowanlock welcomed everyone and introduced Dr. Dwight Biggs

The small church was originally a log building built of local cedar trees. An open shed that was also erected in 1891 for the horses used to travel to church no longer exists and the small church is now covered with board and batten on the outside and plaster on the inside.

In the 1900s, the church was painted white and recently received a new steel roof and coat of paint.

Piper Leslie Ray played in the traditional fashion

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Rev. Dr. Dwight Biggs officiated

Rev. Dr. Biggs is the Manager of the Spiritual Care Program of Chaplaincy for the hospital of Grey and Bruce counties in addition to the Collingwood, ON hospital.  For several years, Dr. Biggs was the pastor at Faith Lutheran Church in Port Elgin and was Day Chaplain at Saugeen Memorial Hospital in Southampton.

He completed his doctorate in Spiritual Counselling and Psychotherapy with a focus on the needs of end-of-life spiritual care.  Dr. Biggs lives with his wife on a farm south of Burgoyne (formerly Dick Topham's farm) where they have a menagerie of animals including horses, cows, dogs, cats ... and coyotes in the back fourty.

Marion Rice (L) performed solos accompanied by organist Diane Eaton

To read more of the history of the Dunblane Church ... read here.

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Tuesday, August 02, 2016