The church building at the corner of Butler and Shaughnessy Avenues in Lowertown dates back to 1910. It has been recognized for its heritage value.

Church building has a long history

The future of the Lakeside Presbyterian Church is somewhat up in the air at the moment.


Lou Wolkowski of Lakeside Presbyterian Church sits at the pipe organ. The building has had a rich heritage in Lowertown.

The church’s congregation has been dissolved and the building will soon be put up for sale.

Many people are concerned that this building, without heritage status, may be lost to the community for all time.

“This building has played an important role in the development and history of Summerland’s Lowertown,” said historian David Gregory.

According to Gregory, it was the local Baptist community that first built the church. The construction of the 225-seat building, with half-timber design, began in the spring of 1910 and was called the Lakeside Baptist Church.

In 1926, the United Church acquired the building. It was at this time that a massive oak pipe organ, built by Edward Lye and Sons, from Toronto was purchased and was shipped in pieces via Canadian National Railways.

Arriving along with the many boxes containing the components of the organ was an expert, Mr. McCrae, who put the pieces together.

As well as being a church, the building served other purposes over the years. From 1933 to 1958, the Summerland Regional Library was housed in the basement.

It was also used as a polling station during elections and for a short time served as the fire station for the Lowertown area.

The Summerland Masonic Lodge purchased the Lakeside Church in 1958.

It was through the efforts of lodge members that the building was completely restored.

In 1991, the building was sold to the Presbyterian Church.

Over the years many more renovations and improvements were made, including a major structural project that saw timbers in the loft replaced and the roof re-shingled.

The original bell that had been stolen more than once, was recovered from the bushes and the lake. It was re-installed by Dick Norris and Don Truscott in 1994 according to Church records.

The bell tolled for the last time with the congregation of the Lakeside Presbyterian Church, on Sunday June 28 at 4 p.m.

“It was pretty sad here when we had our moderator from the Presbytery of Kamloops declare this congregation dissolved,” said Lou Wolkowski, who served as an elder, trustee and treasurer for the church.

“We had our service and handed over our books to her and that was it, we were dissolved. A lot of tears were shed.”

Being a congregation made up of mostly seniors, the number of members attending services had fallen to only 15.

There were no longer enough hands to engage in fundraising efforts, such as the chili dinners and bazaars.

Wolkowski said that a sad story could turn into a joyful story, depending on what happens with the building in the future.

“It was the wish of some in the congregation that it be kept as a church,” he said. “Maybe it could be turned into an opera house or a musical house of some sort, because the acoustics here are excellent.”

The famous pipe organ could be dismantled and sold separately, but Wolkowski does not think it would be very happy about being relocated.

“I think this is the home for it,” he said.

A number of people have expressed their desire to see the church declared a heritage building.

In fact Summerland presented the congregation with a plaque in celebration of Heritage Week in 1998, recognizing the church as one of the town’s heritage buildings.

“Although the building was registered as a heritage building with the province in 1984, that registration was removed by the Masons and it is no longer on the land title now,” said Gregory.

The Summerland Heritage Advisory Commission is planning to hold a meeting in the near future to discuss the Lakeside Church and the public will be invited to participate.

“For now, the Presbyterian Church of Canada in Toronto has control over the building,” Wolkowski said.

“They are the ones handling the correspondence, paying of bills and the sale of the property.”

Wolkowski believes the outcome for the Lakeside Church lies with a higher power.

“It’s in God’s hands,” he said. “We’ll let him direct the disposition of it.”


If you know a positive story about someone in our community, contact Carla McLeod at [email protected] or contact the Summerland Review newsroom at 250-494-5406.



Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Ministry grants SD67 extension to balance books, submit amended budget

The board of trustees voted Monday to acquire outside help to deal with budget concerns

Summerland Orca swimmers earn provincial medals

Eight swimmers qualified for provincial championships

Businesses nominated for excellence awards

Upcoming awards ceremony has 67 nominees in 12 categories

Charges discontinued in 2017 shooting death of Penticton man

The manslaughter charge against Sylvain Demers has been stayed by Crown

EDITORIAL: Standards of care

The decision to appoint an administrator at Summerland Seniors Village raises important questions

Clothing, jewelry, purses: RCMP ask court about disposal of evidence in Robert Pickton case

Pickton was sentenced to life with no chance of parole for 25 years for the murders of six women

Couple in crash on Highway 1 mistake Shuswap for Lower Mainland

Chase RCMP report Mercedes Benz collides with transport truck

Speaker ‘will not tolerate illegal activity’ on B.C. legislature grounds, says chief of staff

Chief of staff to the B.C. speaker Alan Mullen says situation with demonstrators appears ‘fluid’

MPs to examine privacy implications of facial-recognition technology used by RCMP

The MPs will look at how the technology affects the privacy, security and safety of children

Dates back to 2009: Calgary police lay charges in fraud involving semi-trucks

Three people from Calgary are facing charges that include fraud over $5,000

Revelstoke mother and daughter return home after coronavirus quarantine in Asia

Jensine Morabito and her daughter were on Holland America’s Westerdam but did not catch the virus

Okanagan production takes ‘The Walk’ to explore sex trafficking

The goal is to get people thinking about the situation, according to the playwright

Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs optimistic ahead of talks with feds, province

Discussions with provincial and federal governments expected to start later today

Most Read