MacKay United Church of New Edinburgh has a long, fascinating history closely intertwined with the development of the nation’s capital. The MacKay name comes from one of Ottawa’s prominent citizens of the early 1800’s, Thomas McKay, a staunch Presbyterian Scotsman and stone mason. He came to Ottawa in 1826 to help Colonel John By construct the first eight locks of the Rideau Canal and when the locks were complete, bought a thousand acres of land straddling the Rideau River near its junction with the Ottawa River. Thomas McKay made many contributions to his adopted community. He built St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church in Ottawa in 1828 and in 1830 established the village of New Edinburgh on his property on the east side of the Rideau River. Initially, New Edinburgh residents travelled to St. Andrew’s in the centre of Ottawa for worship and the earliest record of Church activities in New Edinburgh is Thomas McKay teaching Sunday School in a hall at the corner of Alexander and Charles Streets in 1845.