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Roots of Guardian Angels Church date back to 1870s log structure

New church, built of limestone from Longford, was completed in 1911; the majestic spire was not added until 1926

Postcard Memories is a weekly series of historic postcard views and photos submitted by Marcel Rousseau. Some were previously published by the Orillia Museum of Art and History and in the book Postcard Memories Orillia.

A large red brick church was built in 1872 on the corner of West and Penetang Streets.

However, the first Catholic Church in Orillia, named Saint Michael’s, was a log building constructed in 1854 and located on the Coldwater Road hill, west of Emily Street. The original cemetery is still located there.

The church was just a simple log structure, built by the parishioners and did not contain a single nail. The pioneers hauled logs from the bush and used hand hewn wooden dowels to fasten the logs together.

It was well that the new church was built and in use, for in 1876 the old log church was destroyed by fire.

In the colour photo above, the rectory, built in 1874, is shown, and on Penetang Street, left of the church, is the convent, built in 1903, the home of the Sisters of Saint Joseph.

This red brick church was demolished in 1910, to make way for a new and larger church built out of limestone, hauled across the lake from Longford.

The new church was completed in 1911 with a square tower and it wasn’t until 1926 the current spire was added to the limestone building.

In the 1930s, the name was changed to Guardian Angels Church.

Visitors are still awestruck with the view, looking up West Street, of Orillia’s most prominent church and highest steeple.