The Highland Arts Theatre, Sydney Nova Scotia

The St. Andrews church in Sydney (NS) become the 650-seat Highland Arts Theatre, affectionately called the 'HAT'

St. Andrew's United Church , started in 1910 and completed in 1911, was the third church built by the Sydney and Mira Presbyterian congregation, originating from 1852. The congregations outgrew the two previous Sydney churches, and so St. Andrew's was built to contain 1,000 people for services.

The pastor at that time, Rev. Dr. John Pringle travelled to Toronto and met with architects Curry and Sparling to develop the plans for the church. Constucted by Rhodes and Curry Company using red brick from Mira, a local brickyard, the cost was $62,945. The 3,000 pipe, pipe organ made by the famous Casavant Frères in Quebec and engraved 10 bell chimes installed at that time, are still in use today.

Architecturally, the end result was a beautiful house of worship, with impressive towers, bells chiming on Sundays and the steadfast permanence of the Gothic Revival style, rare within the Cape Breton Regional Municipality.

The St. Andrews Church was decommissioned in 2013 after the dwindling congregation decided the heating bills for the 104-year-old sanctuary were too expensive. Local musician and entrepreneur, Kevin Colford, stepped in and bought the building in 2014 and has since converted the property into a local theatre. The reopening in June 2014 began with an original musical comedy: "The Wakowski Brothers".

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