Christ Church

“Robert Reynolds’ mistake” still very much a part of Amherstburg



(Editor’s Note: This is the 21st in a series of articles about the Belle Vue property, most of which have been written by Debra Honor. Honor is a local historian/genealogist and a member of the Belle Vue Conservancy.)


By Debra Honor, U.E.


Robert Reynolds was the Assistant Commissary General for Fort Malden during and after the War of 1812. As the Assistant Commissary General, Robert oversaw ordering and dispersing the supplies needed to run the business of the government facility. This did not include the military guns, ammunition or other war implements, but rather the food supplies, uniforms, and building supplies needed to run an efficient fort. As such, Robert Reynolds would have been very precise in the amount of supplies needed when ordering.

The brick work at Belle Vue is seen here. (Submitted photo)

After the American occupation ended in 1815, the Western District was under a great depression. Many who had fled, either individually or with the British military, returned. The British army continued to rebuild Fort Malden on the design begun by the occupying American army. This fort was smaller and more efficient than the original British fort.

The year 1819 saw the completion of three major buildings, and interestingly, Robert Reynolds had a hand in all three. The British army built a fine brick barrack at Fort Malden. Robert Reynolds was responsible for procuring the bricks from the brick yards at River Rouge which was done through government contract. The brick barrack still stands today. The town also saw the completion of a stately home for Robert Reynolds and a beautiful new Church of England of which Reynolds was a patron.

Reynolds procured all the bricks from River Rouge. He built his new home and tradition says he gave the “left over” bricks to build Christ Church. There is a plaque inside the church commemorating Reynolds’ donation to the church. As purchasing agent, it is unlikely he would make such a huge mistake in ordering brick for his house that there would be enough left over to build the church. Therefore, there was no mistake in the brick order. It was well planned even to the extent that we see Reynolds influence on the design of the church building which is in the same style as his home, Belle Vue.

Christ Church, located at 317 Ramsay St., was built with bricks donated by Robert Reynolds. (Submitted photo)

The barracks at Fort Malden are another example of a building constructed with bricks procured by Robert Reynolds. (Submitted photo)

Is it not amazing that all three buildings are still a part of Amherstburg 200 years later? It is impressive that Reynolds 1819 bricks on Belle Vue are still in good shape. The brick from later additions are the ones that are failing and need the most repair.

We can take pride in our three early buildings stemming from the War of 1812 that are being preserved, and all of them owe something to Robert Reynolds.

Please support our fundraising campaign. One hundred per cent of your contribution will be used for restoration of the Belle Vue House. You will receive a full tax receipt and a Belle Vue gift. Visit to help us open up Belle Vue once again or visit for more information!





Christ Church welcomes musicians for 200th anniversary concert



By Ron Giofu


A local church is having year-long celebrations to mark their 200th anniversary, with one of those celebrations being last Saturday night.

Musicians Tia McGraff and Tommy Parham, who have toured North America and Great Britain, stopped in Amherstburg for a 90-minute concert at Christ Anglican Church. It is the second event of the year devoted to celebrating the Ramsay St. church’s bicentennial.

“(Parishioner) Adrian Harte heard us at Mackenzie Hall,” explained McGraff. “He and his wife attend the church and they thought they would love to have us here.”

Christ Anglican Church held a special concert Saturday night as part of their 200th anniversary celebrations. Tommy Parham and Tia McGraff performed a 90-minute concert in front of about 60 people.

McGraff and Parham met in Nashville but now live in Port Dover. She said they closed last year in LaSalle and started their 2019 tour in Amherstburg. She said they play everywhere from churches to concert halls and have attended a number of festivals, including the Kingsville Folk Festival.

“We love doing churches. Our music is very spiritual,” she said. “It lends itself to peaceful listening.”

Father Bill Strang said the proceeds from the show will go into a general fund and also go towards funding future events for the church’s 200th anniversary. Approximately 60 people attended Saturday night’s concert.

The first anniversary event was an “Epiphany Party” held in January that saw about 40 people attend. There is a Shrove Tuesday pancake supper planned for March 5 from 5-7 p.m. that is free to the public and open to all. Father Strang said Meloche’s No Frills is assisting with ingredients for the pancakes. There are other events being planned throughout the year, Father Strang noted, including a gala dinner, a special service in May where couples can renew their wedding vows and a special 200th anniversary service the first Sunday in December.

An overhead look of the Tia McGraff and Tommy Parham concert at Christ Anglican Church Feb. 2. The next event the Ramsay St. church is planning for its 200th anniversary is a free pancake supper for the community March 5 from 5-7 p.m.

The first service ever held at Christ Anglican Church was on the first Sunday of December in 1819.

The church’s Sunday School is also holding a raffle where the first prize is two tickets to a Feb. 26 hockey game between the Detroit Red Wings and Montreal Canadiens at Little Caesars Arena. Father Strang noted the prize was donated by Sutton Funeral Home. Raffle tickets are $10 for ten tickets and $25 for 30 tickets and can be purchased by calling 519-736-7636. The draw will be Feb. 10.

Christ Church parishioner heading to Malawi, Africa



By Ron Giofu


A local resident is heading to Malawi, Africa next month as part of a delegation going on a food security mission trip.

Lillian Scorrar, a parishioner and a lay delegate with Christ Church Anglican, will be heading to the African nation Feb. 2-18.

“It’s a mission trip and it’s sponsored by the Canadian Foodgrains Bank,” said Scorrar. “I’m going as an Anglican representative.”

The trip is also being made possible by the Primate’s World Relief and Development Fund (PWRDF).

Scorrar explained that she is working towards a doctorate of health sciences and has to do something of note globally, so this mission trip fits that requirement. As a member of the PWRDF, Scorrar adds she believes in what they do and wants to help out in another part of the world.

“It’s two-fold,” she said of her trip. “First, I’m passionate about helping others and, the other reason is I am going to use this to write my paper.”

The point of the Canadian Foodgrains Association is to help developing countries and Scorrar said that can include setting up wells and water resources, food security and assistance with maternal and children’s needs. According to background material provided by Scorrar, the bank provides food in times of crisis for hungry people in the developing world, helps people grow more food to better feed themselves and their families and provides nutritional support for malnourished people including pregnant and breastfeeding mothers and young children.

The Canadian Foodgrains Banks also advocates for public policies that enable families and communities to better feed themselves and looks for ways to engage and educate Canadians about global hunger. The PWRDF works in 28 countries with a variety of partners including Anglican dioceses, ecumenical and secular partners. Their work is primarily in the field of international development so that people around the world have better access to improved health, food, human rights and more.

Lillian Scorrar is heading to Malawi next month on a mission trip. She holds the flyer for this Saturday’s fundraiser at the Columbus Community Hall.

Scorrar said it is her first time going on a mission trip and she is “excited and nervous” about going. She has had to get several vaccinations in preparation for next month’s trip.

“I’ve done things locally but never abroad. It will be life-changing,” she said. “I’m very excited to experience it and see how developing countries live.”

The nervousness comes from travelling with people she doesn’t know, as she is part of about a dozen Canadians making the journey.

“We’re all pretty much from different religions but we’re all Christian-based,” said Scorrar. “We all came together to form this group.”

The only other Anglican going is a priest from New Brunswick, Scorrar added.

The trip costs $5,000 and Scorrar is fundraising to be able to afford it. The community at Christ Church has helped, as have family and friends with Scorrar now turning to the broader community to assist. There will be a fundraising dinner to be held at the Columbus Community Hall Jan. 20 from 6-8 p.m. Tickets are $25 for a half-chicken dinner and will be sold in advance only.

There will also be a silent auction and door prizes. There will also be a special door prize for people that bring canned goods the day of the dinner. All canned goods will be donated to local charities to fight hunger.

For tickets, call Scorrar at 519-551-7706, Cheryl Yako at 519-736-2281 or Cecile Browning at 519-996-9961. Donations can also be made through Christ Church.

Belle Vue Conservancy has two fundraising events scheduled


Special to the RTT

After the devastating War of 1812, the construction of Belle Vue by the Reynolds family gave our forefathers hope.

Over the past two centuries Belle Vue has continued to play an important role in the town of Amherstburg, serving as a residence for three additional families, then as a convalescent home for injured war veterans and as a place of worship for the Ukranian Catholic Church.

In more recent years it was neglected and so is now in need of restoration.

The Town of Amherstburg purchased this building and property in 2016 and, in addition to preserving our national heritage, sees a future for the Belle Vue as part of the Town’s economic development.

After core restoration is completed, interior work will be done and the Belle Vue will be open for use by the public as a regional meeting, conference and cultural centre; as well a range of formal botanical gardens and greenhouses will be developed on the property, all of which will attract business and tourism to Amherstburg. It will significantly contribute to the enhancement of the historic Amherstburg waterfront which stretches along the River from the Kings Navy Yard Park to the Belle Vue.

The Belle Vue Conservancy has a new logo, designed and donated by local artist Elio Del Col.

The Belle Vue Conservancy has a new logo, designed and donated by local artist Elio Del Col.

Through collaboration with citizens and partnership with the Town of Amherstburg, the Belle Vue Conservancy, a team of dedicated volunteers, is focused on raising One million dollars for restoration to secure the property, specifically for a new roof, windows, gutters and foundation work, i.e. the envelope of the building. These Phase 1 core repairs are of absolute urgency in order to stabilize the house after the years of severe neglect. Since the Town now owns the historic Belle Vue property we believe it is in all of our best interests to work together to secure the future of Belle Vue.

In addition to promoting donations related to naming rights concerning different rooms and parts of the building, the Conservancy is currently undertaking two special events that are sure to be of interest to local residents.

First is a concert “Leading Notes for Belle Vue” to be provided by the Windsor Junior Symphony Orchestra under the direction of Robert Franz, in partnership with Christ Church, located at 317 Ramsay St. in Amherstburg. It will be held April 27 at 7 p.m. This concert preserves our ties with the WSO and is anticipated to be the first of many such events. Tickets are $20 each and are available at the Gordon House, Sobeys and the Gibson Gallery. Sponsors for this event will be showcased on line and in the evening’s program.

Our second scheduled event is a golf competition “Birdies and Bogies for Belle Vue” to be held on Saturday, May 13 at Sutton Creek Golf Club. Registration is $150 and includes a golf cart, lunch during golf, dinner and a registration gift as well as a tax receipt for $50. Spouses and partners who would like to attend the dinner only may do so with pre-registration and payment of $50

Information about the history of Belle Vue and the Belle Vue Conservancy activities as well as opportunities to donate can be found on our website at