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Simcoe Street United Church looks for help following severe weather damage

Simcoe Street United Church is looking to raise funds to repair the historic steeple, which was damaged during the recent ice storm. (Photo by Dave Flaherty)

By Aly Beach/The Oshawa Express

Following the recent bout of wind and ice storms in Oshawa, one of city’s oldest buildings needs help.

Simcoe Street United Church, a key heritage building in downtown Oshawa, sustained anywhere between $700,000 and $1 million in damage from the foul weather.

According to Reverend David Moore, the steeple and roof suffered the most damage. About 30 per cent of the shingles are now missing, and a pillar was toppled near the bell on top of the steeple.

“Somebody who was driving by said they [the shingles] were just flying off like nobody’s business,” says Moore.

The exterior damage has also caused some internal issues as well.

According to Janet Dowson a member of Simcoe Street United Church, archivists use the steeple as a marker to tell where old photos were taken, as it can be seen from far away. Jennifer Weymark, archivist for the Oshawa Museum says she frequently uses the steeple to orient old pictures.

The bell located at the church was historically used to call firefighters and also rung in times of celebration, such as at the end of the Great Wars.

“This church has been at the centre of Oshawa before it was even Oshawa. So, It’s been here forever and it’s served the community well in so many different ways over the years,” says Moore.

While they are looking at various grants to pay for the repairs, they would also like to fundraise. The church, located at 66 Simcoe Street South Oshawa, is holding its annual indoor yard sale and will put the money from sales earned towards repairs to the church.  The event started off as a spring bazaar, which ran for about 100 years, and then switched to a yard sale, which has been running for roughly 15 years.

The yard sale, bake sale and barbecue will take place at the church April 28 from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m.

The church is accepting donations for the event in the form of lightly used spring and summer clothing, baby and children’s clothing, toys, household items, collectibles, tools, treasures and knick knacks. Donations can be accepted April 25 from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. or 2 p.m. to 4 p.m.

Simcoe Street United Church will likely be hosting concerts, dinners and silent auctions in the future to help pay for the repairs. Moore hopes the city and its residents will help save this historic building.

“We’re hoping the city, at large, will step up and make sure that this historic structure continues in to the future,” says Moore.