Drumheller’s Little Church has been a beloved Alberta landmark in the Canadian Badlands for decades. The non-denomination church’s tagline is “Seating 10,000 people – 6 at a time.”
Stemming as an idea from, Reverend E.C. O’Brien of a local Pentecostal church, it was first constructed in 1968 by Tyvge ‘Tig’ Seland and the Ministerial Association, and later reconstructed with the help of local inmates in 1991.
The reconstructed chapel suffered a minor fire in 2014, and was taken off-site and refurbished in 2015 again by local inmates. Vandalism occasionally happens on the secluded site.
The church is not known to have regular church services. Besides being primarily a tourist destination, the Drumheller & District Chamber of Commerce does allow ceremonies to be booked at the location for a suggested donation of $50.
The church is located along Highway 838 between the town of Drumheller and Horsethief Canyon. It’s within walking distance from the Royal Tyrell Museum and Midland Provincial Park, where walking trails will also lead to the chapel.
The Little Church contains 6 one-person pews with a pulpit in the front. Although rural legend claim it to be the World’s Smallest Church, it unfortunately is not true. Residents of Niagara-On-The-Lake claim the Living Waters Wayside Chapel in Ontario, which seats six, has the Guinness World Record (not confirmed). We also found the Shepherd’s Field Wedding Chapel in Missouri of a similar size (also seating 6).
From what we were able to dig up, the smallest chapel that can be entered belongs to the Cross Island Chapel in New York state which seats two people.
Note also that Guinness grants world record certifications from clients who apply with administrative fees. As such, the smallest church or chapel has not been officially recognized according to their website.
Drumheller is in the heart of the Canadian Bible Belt, and as such, you’ll find the unique summer attraction of the Canadian Badlands Passion Play, which tells the story of the life of Jesus leading up to his death and resurrection. It is set at the Badlands Amphitheatre, a natural outdoor arena, across the river from The Little Church.
If you’re in the area, be sure not to miss the Bleriot Ferry near Horsethief Canyon, as well as the World’s Largest Dinosaur at the Drumheller Visitor Information Centre.