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Exploring Niagara-on-the-Lake

St. Mark's Anglican Church

St. Mark's Church, located in Niagara-on-the-Lake is the direct result of the painstaking dedication of one man, Reverend Robert Addison. Born in England in 1754 Mr. Addison was educated at Trinity College, Cambridge and arrived in Niagara in 1792 at the request of Col. John Butler and the Hon. Robert Hamilton of Queenston.

Reverend Addison's parish would extend from the Niagara River west to the Grand River and from the shores of Lake Ontario to the shores of Lake Erie, including a Mohawk Indian Reservation. The parish would encompass an area of 1500 sq. miles with Reverend Addison travelling far and wide, on roads that were little more than paths in the wilderness to serve his congregation of parishoners in this vast new frontier.

st. mark's
St. Mark's, 1834

While in Niagara Reverend Addison married and raised three children on a small 45 acre parcel of land along the shores of Lake Ontario a short distance from the mouth of the Four Mile Creek. Here he erected a stately home known as Lake Lodge.

Reverend Addison's greatest achievement was the construction of St. Mark's in 1804. By 1810 the church, with it's fine stone walls and well constructed interior was completed only to have the structure burned by the Americans during the War of 1812. Reconstruction of the building was begun shortly thereafter and by 1828 St. Mark's was restored to it's original splendour.

Reverend Addison was a friend of Lt. John Graves Simcoe and he is credited with giving the opening prayer at the first parliament of Upper Canada on September 17, 1792. Reverend Addison died on October 6, 1829 and is buried in the cemetery at St. Mark's. A small memorial on the north wall of St. Mark's was erected by local citizens to pay homage to the man who worked so tirelessly for the people of Niagara, and the parish he served for 37 years.