The Spire is located in the heart of the Old Sydenham Heritage Conservation District and has been a gathering place for the people of Kingston since long before Confederation. Originally, the site served as the city’s circus lands and was donated in 1851 by our city’s first mayor, John Counter. The building, the long-time home of Sydenham Street United Church, is well known as a centre for music and the arts, and as a welcoming and affordable haven for assembly, celebration, reflection and social action. The name, The Spire, captures in two small words the historic value and the new identity of this precious asset in our community:
- From its Latin root “spirare”, it expresses the purpose of this iconic building – a place where the community can breathe, create, aspire, perspire and inspire.
- It reinforces the building’s historic role as a landmark and beacon on our skyline.
- It reflects the stunning architecture of the building.
- It resonates with the names of the other great public/heritage spaces in the city like The Tett, The Isabel, The Grand and The Agnes.
The Spire represents a unique and innovative addition to Kingston’s community assets – one that offers significant social, cultural and economic benefits for our city:
- unique by virtue of the combination of its location, its heritage architecture, its multi-purpose functions, its accessibility, its historic role as a community gathering place and its affordability
- innovative in providing a community-driven, sustainable model for protecting and expanding a heritage city resource.
On sunny mornings, like today, when I look out my front door I am delighted by the mellow, sunrise lit stone facade of Sydenham Street United Church. The Victorian porch of the Secret Garden Inn faces that lovely facade and many guests over the years have commented on the beauty of the church. It’s graceful spire and stained glass windows, especially backlit at night, are enchanting. One guest, sitting in the late afternoon shade, commented “Could you have a more peaceful, beautiful view?”
Kathy DavidsonInnkeeper, The Secret Garden Inn