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The History of St. Elizabeth Parish

For where two or three are gathered together for my sake, I am there in their midst.

The need for a new parish in the Carlington area of the west end of Ottawa became imperative during the growth in the early 1960’s. Anglophone Catholics had been attending St. Bonaventure, a francophone parish, but when the need became great a series of meetings and petitions led in the formation of St. Elizabeth Parish. In July 1963, Rev. John M. Beahen was appointed pastor by then Archbishop Lemieux. He celebrated the first mass on Sunday Aug. 4th in the basement of St. Louis school. The parish consisted of 243 families. With rapid growth there was soon the need for expanded facilities and so St. Augustine school (later named St. Elizabeth school) was used to accommodate all that was going on.

Saturday, Aug. 9, 1964 was a happy day of great promise. In a brief ceremony Rev. Wm. Bradley, Pastor of St. Margaret Mary Parish blessed the ground upon which St. Elizabeth Church would rise. The first sod was turned by Father Beahen. Through his efforts and devotedness and the co-operation and generosity of many people the church would rise at the corner of Merivale Road and Leaside Avenue. Its opened doors welcomed the faithful on Easter Sunday, April 19, 1965.

The rectory, which serves as the priest’s home, was built long before the new church. It has been part of the Anglican church which was torn down to make room for St. Elizabeth Church and the house had served as the home of the Anglican clergy. When the Anglican community sold the land they moved across the street on Merivale Road, where St. Peter’s stands to this day.


Father John Beahen, who went on to become Auxiliary Bishop of Ottawa, was named after John the Baptist. He may well have been so named because his mother in name was Elizabeth and in so naming the parish he was remembering his mother as well as giving honour to St. Elizabeth who was the mother of John the Baptist and cousin of Mary, the Mother of our God.