The original Anglican services were held in Britannia in 1886 sometimes on a cottage porch and sometimes outside among the pines. Later, in 1892, the original St. Stephen’s was built in Britannia Village through the efforts of Mr. A.N. McNeil. The Church building was consecrated 25 years later in 1916.
Until 1909 St. Stephen’s was part of the Nepean Mission along with All Saints Westboro and St. Matthias Hintonburg. It then became part of All Saints and yet later a joint parish with St. Martins, Westboro.
In 1952 the decision was taken to create a separate parish due to the growth of the Britannia area. A number of sites were considered before a final choice of the current Watson Street site was made.
The lower hall was built in 1953-54 and was used for services for 6 years with the Rev. Edwin Allsop as rector. At the same time a rectory was completed through the movement of an existing house to Watson Street. The old rectory was sold and the current rectory was constructed adjacent to the church in 1961 when the Rev. Eldon Davis was rector. In the following year the upper portion of the church building was added which allowed the lower hall to be used completely for a church school.
The success of the church school was such that the lower hall was found to be inadequate to hold the enrolment of 244 students. A bequest from Miss Mary Lark was used to provide the hall adjacent to the main church building in 1964. It was named after her as a memorial to her long association with the parish.
The Mary Lark Hall was the last major construction project financed through mortgages. All mortgages were retired in late 1989 with the formal consecration of the parish taking place in February 1990
Since then the Upper Mary Lark Hall has been renovated to accommodate Church School and a Montessori School by subdividing it into classrooms. An additional washroom was also added at the same time.
In the mid 80’s a new handicapped lift system was installed to allow access to the worship space for everyone. Prior to this lift there was no handicapped access to our main worship space. A few years later St. Stephen’s parceled off a portion of its parking lot to build a residence for people with disabilities. St. Stephen’s Residence has since had a close association with the parish with active involvement of the residents and staff in the activities of the parish.
The kitchen has also been completely renovated.
The worship space was renovated in the mid 1990’s to put Christ in the midst of the congregation. This 4-year process involved consultations with the parish members and outside consultants. The altar was moved forward to a central location and the seating was arranged to point inwards toward the altar. A wall was built approximately where the old communion rail was located and behind this wall new choir rooms, a chapel and a storage area were built. This renovation also included new lighting, carpeting, new paint and a professional sound system.
In 2006 the washrooms for the main hall were gutted and renovated resulting in a much needed increased capacity and handicapped availability.
In early 2015 a professional video system was installed to further enhance hands-free worship.
In the late summer of 2017 work began on replacing our aging lift (20+ years old) with a new hydraulic lift. While the lift was being replaced we worshipped in the lower hall so that everyone could participate. The new lift was first used on Sunday, December 17th, 2017 and was dedicated by Bishop John Chapman at a special evening service on January 14th, 2017. The funding for the $135K lift came from parishioners, memorial donations and a $15K grant from The Anglican Foundation.
During the COVID-19 pandemic St. Stephen’s moved very quickly to provide virtual access to its services over Zoom. When in-person services were allowed we were able to offer a blended experience for those who wished to worship at home. Significant investments were made in networking, computing and cameras to provide the best experience for those online.