Laurier St., Whitney Pier,
1921. Black nationalist parade. Banners in the back advocate "Africa for the
Africans". Courtesy Beaton Institute
Whitney Pier, Sydney, was settled by people from all over the world: the Caribbean, Europe, Newfoundland, China, the Mediterranean, British Isles, along with rural Cape Bretoners - Irish, Scottish, Acadien and Mi'kmaq. Today, the Pier is one of the most culturally diverse and rich communities in Atlantic Canada. See our chronology, 1890s.
Where We Live - Portrait of the Pier
By Paul MacDougall
Shunpiking Magazine Vol. 4 No. 24
Pride of Sydney Lodge, Protective Order of Elks of
the World, organized at Whitney Pier, March, 1955. (Front Row, left to right,
Vernal Tull, Evelyne Braithwaite; Lucious Jackson, Grand Organizer; Leonard
Arthur, Exalted Ruler; George Ford; Harold Kirton. Rear row, left to right,
Wakefield Harris; Canon George A. Francis, chaplain; Harold Best, Ralph Hedley,
Tyler Henry Marsh. Abbass Photo, Courtesy Beaton Institute
The St. Phillip's African Orthodox Church was originally the tool shed of
the Sydney steel plant. It was dismantled and brought piece by piece - pulled
by horses - down Lingan Road from the steel plant to its present site on land
in Whitney Pier and leased to the church. It was finally completed in 1929
when the corner stone was installed (photo above, and right). In
1945, the church was raised and a basement put in. The work was done by prisoners
from the Sydney jail. Father Francis was pastor from 1940 to 192. His son-in-law,
Bishop Vincent Waterman took over in October, 1982 and formally took the reins
after moving here from New York in February, 1983. He has ministered ever
since and is now 73 years old.
The African Orthodox Church is a spin off of the North American Catholic
Church, although it allows clergy to marry; it was an expression of the cultural
nationalism espoused by the Back to Africa movement of Marcus Garvey, who
visited Sydney in 1920. This church is the only African Orthodox church in
Canada, and has about 25 families in the congregation today. Bishop Waterman
says he loss them both ways: the youth move away and don't come back, and
the elders died and went to Forest Haven graveyard. He says the Chruch has
survived over the years due to the effort of many people of Sydney of all
races, creeds and colours
Iron workers at the blast furnace, Dominion Iron and
Steel Company, Sydney, Cape Breton, 1902. Towards Freedom, Alexander and Glaze.
Bishop Stanley Trontman (circa 1920s), founder and first priest of St. Phillip's
African Orthodox Church, located in Whitney Pier.
Laying of church corner stone, 1928
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