Slideshow image


In the summer of 2022, after observing areas of deterioration in the Church Tower, St. Mark's wardens (on behalf of Parish Council request), commissioned Morey Construction and Consulting Ltd., together with Superville Engineering, to complete a visual inspection of the church tower and provide an estimate of the cost for preservation work of the stone masonry. The inspection report noted that all elevations of the tower were at a state where mortar or small pieces of stone could fall to the ground, particularly during freeze thaw cycles in the spring and fall. In particular, the south-west corner buttress of the tower was showing severe signs of deterioration with small pieces of stone and mortar coming loose and falling to the ground, very close to the ramp providing access to the church entrance.

Based on this inspection report, overhead protection was immediately installed as a precaution to protect pedestrians when accessing the main entrance of the church.  A Tower Restoration Committee was also formed to develop a multi-year staging plan to complete the restoration work identified in the inspection report as economically as possible, with consideration of restoration priorities and realistic annual funding constraints. Such a plan was intended to be a living document, updated frequently, as work was completed, and as new work was identified.  This committee was also tasked with developing a short-term and long-term funding strategy to support the work.

Based on the information available at that time, the budgetary estimate for all required restoration work was anticipated to be of the order of $350,000 with the work split into two phases.  Phase 1 was targeted to be completed in 2023 to specifically address the west and south areas of the tower. Scaffolding would be required for access for the dismantling and rebuilding of the buttress.  The Phase 1 Scope was estimated at approximately $200,000.  It was hoped that the remaining work could be completed in 2024 or 2025, at an estimated costs of $150,000, subject to available funding.

A fundraising campaign for the tower restoration work was initiated, following a Congregational Meeting held in St. Mark’s church on October 16, 2022.

By the end of 2022, approximately $55,000 had been raised by St. Mark’s for the Tower Restoration Fund through fundraising and generous donations from members and friends of St. Mark’s.

Expenses incurred during 2022 were approximately $19,000 for the initial tower inspection and for the purchase and erection of the ramp protection scaffolding.


Early in 2023, Matt Morey, of Morey Constructing and Consulting Ltd., was selected as St. Mark’s Construction Manager for the Tower Restoration Project and Read Jones Christoffersen Ltd. (RJC) was selected as the Engineer.  Together they were tasked with preparing the necessary Building and Heritage Permits, as well as preparing the Specifications and other documents to be issued to qualified contractors to competitively tender the actual tower repairs in the Spring of 2023. It was hoped that this would allow the repair work to commence in early Summer.

At its Annual Vestry Meeting in February, St. Mark’s established a goal during 2023 to raise an additional $55,000 of the required funds through donations and various fundraising events ($110k in total, when added to the $55,000 raised in 2022).  The hope was that an additional $90,000 could be secured through various grants.

As of the end of December 2023, approximately $70,000 had been raised through additional donations and fundraising events (bringing the total raised to $125,000).  In addition, grants of $35,000 and $10,000 had also been received from the Pittsburgh Community Benefit Fund (PCBF) and Anglican Foundation of Canada respectively.  St. Mark’s is very grateful for the support of these organizations.

So, in summary, to date St. Mark’s has raised a grand total of approximately $170,000.

In June 2023, St. Mark’s issued Tender Documents to four local contractors for the essential masonry repairs to the church tower. Unfortunately, only one contractor responded to this tender, and their bid was significantly higher than the budgetary estimate. In addition, this contractor also indicated they would not be able to commence the masonry repairs until 2024.  This proposal was not accepted.

This unexpected turn-of-events required the Tower Restoration Committee, in conjunction with the Construction Manager, to develop an alternative way forward. A decision was subsequently made to proceed in the fall of 2023 with those elements of the Phase 1 work, that could be completed without requiring extensive scaffolding and that would minimize any further degradation of the tower masonry.  A contract for this work was awarded to Morey Constructing and Consulting Ltd. and this work was completed in November.  However, although this work reinstated some structural integrity to the tower, the work did uncover previously unknown deteriorated conditions within the tower structure itself, the extent of which is currently unknown and will require further investigation.

Expenses incurred during 2023 were approximately $81,000 for pre-design work, development of tender documents/specifications, and the initial restoration work. This brings the total expenses incurred to date related to the tower restoration project to approximately $100,000. 

Therefore, approximately $70,000 remain in the Tower Restoration Fund.

As 2023 comes to an end, St. Mark’s rejoices in the amazing generosity of all those who have donated to the Tower Restoration Fund, and celebrates the start of the restoration work.


In 2024, the objective remains to go out to tender at the earliest opportunity to competitively select a contractor to commence work on the more complex elements of the tower restoration project; work that will require more extensive scaffolding. 

However, as 2024 begins, there remain several significant unknowns.  The total scope of the required restoration work is unclear and will depend on the results of further investigation of the tower’s internal structural elements.  As such the costs and the timeline required to complete the project are also uncertain.  What can be stated with some confidence is the total costs will certainly exceed the original budgetary estimates.

The most difficult question that arises from this is: What if St. Mark’s is unable to secure sufficient funding (through donations, fundraising and grants) to complete the tower restoration project?  What then is the future for the tower, and indeed St. Mark’s church building, in the historic village of Barriefield?

As such, prayers are requested for the Tower Restoration Committee, the Construction Manager and the Engineer, as they work together on the difficult task of establishing a revised multi-year staging plan to complete the tower restoration work.

Submitted by the Wardens and the Tower Restoration Committee of St. Mark’s Church, Barriefield.

December 31, 2023