Restoring St Peter’s Church

One of Cobourg’s significant Historic Buildings is St. Peter’s Anglican Church.  Like Cobourg’s Victoria Hall it was designed by architect Kivas Tully and like Victoria Hall (in the 1950’s) it now needs major restoration.  It’s not quite the same situation since it’s a Church and not owned by the Town but the Church is hoping citizens who are not Anglicans or even Church-goers will be supportive of restoring this property.  The oldest parts of the building are already temporarily closed and its bells stopped ringing last year. The total cost is estimated at $2.7M and of this, $1.35M still needs to be raised (more below).  The Church has recruited a committee led by Peter Delanty and have launched a fund-raising campaign which focuses on the non-religious aspects: restoring a major historical building and restoring the ability to use the bells.

St. Peters - interior
St. Peters – interior

The campaign also points to good works done at St. Peter’s although these are not housed in the Church itself.

“Good Works”

  • Serves more than 130 people through weekly meal and outreach programs;
  • St. Peter’s Court Apartments (rent is geared to income) and 264 College Street are both initiatives intended to meet the need for affordable housing in Cobourg;
  • Home to Cobourg’s only warming centre, run in partnership with Transition House Shelter, to offer space for those without a roof in winter months;
  • Houses a specialty pre-school with focus on music and arts;
  • Other programs as listed on the web site – including Bible study.


St. Peter’s web site says that:

  • Restoration of the bell tower, roof and ceiling is urgently needed.
  • The Bell Tower restoration will repair the spalled brick masonry, the cracked mortar joints and stained-glass window where lead is missing.  Cost: $400,000
  • The roof repair will include new insulation and replace the tiles with metal covers that look like slate tiles. The Church ceiling is made of lathe and plaster. The repair plan will consolidate the historic plaster and preserve the wooden arches. Cost: $2,300,000

Progress to date:

  • Parish Campaign:  $850,000
  • Grant: $500,000
  • The Gap: $1,350,000

Benefits of Restoration

St. Peters Fund-raising
St. Peters Fund-raising

The campaign lists several benefits:

  • Restoring the ability to toll the bells for special occasions
  • Restoring one of Cobourg’s Historic Buildings and avoiding further such losses – It’s estimated that more than 20 per cent of Canada’s built heritage was lost between 1970 and 2000.
  • The building’s rich history has made it a key tourist attraction, drawing visitors to Cobourg’s East Heritage Conservation District.

Fundraising Campaign

Donations can be made via Canada Helps – go here.

Fundraising Event: Heritage Dinner at the Docks – August 25

  • Enjoy a lovely evening with friends and the community at the Coburg Yacht Club.
  • The evening will include dinner, lawn games, a live auction, and the opportunity to meet others from the community including former Mayor Peter Delanty.
  • There will be an array of delicious food catered by The Best Western Cobourg Inn & the Cobourg Yacht Club. Drink tickets will be available for purchase.
  • Former Mayor Delanty will start the evening with a short welcome address. There will be a 50/50 raffle and Randy Barber will host a live auction that you won’t want to miss! (Randy is vice-president of the Cobourg and District Historical Society and fundraising committee.)
  • Buy tickets here – Buffet style at $60 or Plated Dinner at $120.
  • General admission will open at 6pm. Doors open at 5pm for sponsors and guest on the sponsor’s patio.

$1.35M seems like an outreach goal. I’m sure as a minimum it will generate a lot of interest.


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11 August 2022 4:45 pm

I’ve been looking for an opportunity to sample the offering from the CYC kitchen. This is a good one. Looking forward to it.

Merle Gingrich
11 August 2022 10:46 am

Does one get a tax receipt for any donations?

Reply to  Merle Gingrich
11 August 2022 11:57 am

Please see the Canada Helps link. Instant tax receipt.

Martha Asselin
Reply to  Merle Gingrich
11 August 2022 12:09 pm

Yes! absolutely, all gifts are tax-deductible!

Lemon Cake
11 August 2022 7:19 am

The grant would not be from the government – it’s likely from the Anglican church. That’s a lot of money to raise. I hope they can do it – it’s a beautiful building and with the roof and bell tower in bad shape, it could also be bad for the wiring hence putting it at risk for a major fire.

10 August 2022 10:30 pm

Who provided the $500,000. grant? Not taxpayers, I hope.

Last edited 5 months ago by JimT
Reply to  JimT
11 August 2022 9:14 am

It was the Anglican Diocese of Toronto.

Reply to  JimT
11 August 2022 4:44 pm

I find nothing wrong or confrontational about this question and/or desired outcome JT. I don’t really understand the ‘thumbs down’.

Reply to  Gerinator
12 August 2022 11:55 am

Why be so negative towards such a positive story? I am not much of a religious person and can be quite anti religious at times. This negativity is not the topic for this article. I wish this Anglican Church the best and love walking by their beautiful building. They obviously do some good charitable work. Be positive.

Reply to  Doug
12 August 2022 2:58 pm

Hopefully they’ve put all that tax money they didn’t need to pay over the years under the mattress for such an occasion.

Reply to  Jay
12 August 2022 8:15 pm

Jay I would agree with you on that issue. We/government favour a lot of negative performers. But even when one of them tries to do something good we should try to bring them into the circle. I grew up in northern Ontario. I have seen the horrors that Indigenous people had to go through. If someone or any group tries to help them out I am right there with support. If we attack every perpetrator of evil when they try to do something good we will not get ahead.

10 August 2022 8:29 pm

The Anglican Church has declared an $8 million operating surplus over the past 2 years–which might also be a good source for financial contribution..(?)

Reply to  Dunkirk
10 August 2022 10:21 pm

Maybe they would at least match what is raised?

Lemon Cake
Reply to  Dunkirk
11 August 2022 8:23 am

The Anglican Church has many historic buildings like St. Peter’s that need restoring across Canada. Even replacing an old boiler can eat up several years of donations for a parish. Like many religious organizations, revenues are in decline as parishes shrink – an operating surplus is very likely because they’ve reduced operations and closed many churches, which needed to be done. I guarantee you the surplus isn’t a result of more people in the pews.

Reply to  Lemon Cake
11 August 2022 8:51 am

A surplus, in any organization, should not be “glad money” to be frittered away. For NPOs it should be used to pay for capital repairs and to fund expansion (growth).
As is the sad case in many such organizations, as it is for the Town of Cobourg for example, the cost of maintaining it’s infrastructure has been significantly underestimated and sufficient funding has not been set aside. When the crunch comes (and it always does) the money to pay for theses major repairs is not there.

The reason is simple: management failure.

Management has failed to correctly assess the cost of maintaining the infrastructure and to “reserve” adequate funding for repairs.

Be it St. Peter’s Church or Cobourg’s East Pier and breakwater, the problem and the cause are the same.

Reply to  Bryan
11 August 2022 11:08 pm

My understanding of St. Peter’s is at one time there was a large addition to the building. The plan was to rent more space which never really happened. I may have some of this wrong but the addition was expensive. The cost of heating the space and repairs to the HVAC equipment and the flat roof were also very expensive. Management made the decision to build the addition. If the extra space was used as planned there may not be a funding problem now. But things did not go as planned.

Suzanne Lawson
Reply to  Kevin
12 August 2022 11:07 am

Before COVID, the addition to St. Peter’s which you speak about was often brimming with people. Many seniors found a home there in the Encore Groups many programs. Community Living and AA were constant renters, as were several arts groups. The Warming Room found a home there too this last winter for people who had nowhere warm to go. Blood pressure clinics, community gathering for those who need to be with other people, educational events etc. were open to many over and above the people of the parish.

And, just to clarify things, management (whoever that is) does not make decisions for our church. We make those tough decisions together. And we try very hard to be sure the decisions connect strongly with our values, to care for others especially, not just to get rental money.

We look forward to renters again as groups begin to get together.

Reply to  Suzanne Lawson
12 August 2022 12:42 pm

You wrote “ (whoever that is) does not make decisions for our church. We make those tough decisions together.…”
It is then clear, you (group) are management!

In this case, the decision made was to forego repairing the bell tower & roof in favour of expansion. The assessment at the time favoured this. In hindsight, it may not have been the most prudent choice.

Keith Oliver
Reply to  Bryan
12 August 2022 9:47 pm


What SL is referring to is not so much a “management” decision but rather a “collective” decision making process. My understanding is that it was not an either-or decision between repaires or expansion. The roof problem became apparent when plaster fell from the ceiling forcing the closing of the main sanctuary.

Reply to  Keith Oliver
13 August 2022 10:28 am


You’re being a contrarian, Keith.

Peter Ferdinand Drucker:
“Management may be defined as the process by means of which the purpose and objectives of a particular human group are determined, clarified and effectuated”

George R Terry:
“Management Is a distinct process consisting of planning, organizing, actuating and controlling to accomplish pre-determined objectives.”

The “group” made a decision collectively, on behalf of the organization (the Church).

That is management

Last edited 5 months ago by Bryan
Reply to  Keith Oliver
13 August 2022 1:06 pm

Plaster falling in the main sanctuary is one roof problem. The flat roof of the addition to the north-west was also a problem. The HVAC equipment was designed with a level of occupancy that never really happened (this was well before Covid) resulting in expensive equipment to maintain and operate. These design decisions have nothing to do with the roof of the main sanctuary.

Reply to  Bryan
13 August 2022 6:37 pm

There is a big difference between St Peters and the east pier and breakwater. The pier is the responsibility of all Cobourg taxpayers whereas the church is not. It is a beautiful church whereas most citizens could care less about the east pier. You can pay me now or pay me later as the old saying goes. It is too bad you did away with free parking near the church.

Reply to  Conor
13 August 2022 8:06 pm


As usual, you missed the point entirely. The comment was about management failure, be it at St Peters or Cobourg

Reply to  Bryan
14 August 2022 9:08 am

As usual? Ya Right.