It’s been a long time coming, but the Oro African Church, located just north of Barrie, Ontario, is ready to be re-opened. In celebration of the restoration and grand re-opening, Curbex Media Group has donated a beautiful hand crafted timber frame sign for the property.
Curbex in the Community:
Curbex has a long history of supporting community initiatives, and it was easy to recognize the significance of the Oro African Church. The Cooper family lived just 5km from the church, and recognized that it was an important part of the community’s history. The commemorative sign was designed, built, and installed by Curbex’s talented craftsmen. The timber frame design was chosen to reflect the building techniques used in the church itself. Learn more about Curbex’s donation to the Oro African Church in CTV Barrie’s coverage below.
The History of the Oro African Church:
The African Episcopal Methodist Church is a National historic Site, and was built by African-Canadian settlers in the years following the War of 1812. Some of the settlers were veterans of an all-black militia unit called Runchey’s Coloured Corps which helped defend what would later be Canada. Many of these settlers volunteered to defend the province again, in the Rebellion of 1837. The church was well used by the local African-Canadian community until the 1930’s, and was abandoned in the 1940’s. Local residents lobbied to have the building repaired. The Township and the County have been maintaining and making improvements ever since. The recent restoration project was made possible by a federal grant and a local grassroots fundraising campaign. What is most significant about the Oro African Church, is that the settlers who built it were land owners “Oro-Medonte was the first place in the British empire that people were given grants of land regardless of ethnic background” read the full article here. You can read more about the Oro African Church and the African-Canadian settlers in the Oro area here. You can see many photos of the restoration process on the Facebook page here.