Sunday, December 21, 2014

426 West Esplanade C

St. Paul's Catholic Church
Mission First Nations Reserve

"Saint Paul’s Roman Catholic Church (Originally known as Sacred Heart Church.) (REF. 2) National Historic Site of Canada, with its twin spires and Gothic Revival style, is a local landmark located on the fifteen hectare Mission First Nations Reserve on the North Shore of Burrard Inlet, (Eslha7an Village) (REF. 2) across from the Vancouver Harbour. It is situated within the Mission Reserve, surrounded by housing and public buildings and adjacent to a ‘Celebration of Creation Garden,’ created for the Squamish Nation Elders in 1998. Official recognition refers to the church on its footprint.

1890 (NVA Photo #5770)

"Saint Paul’s Roman Catholic Church was designated a national historic site of Canada in 1980 because:
- this oldest surviving mission church in the Vancouver area has long been a focal point of the Mission Reserve;
- it is an example of the Gothic Revival Style in Canada.
"Saint Paul’s is associated with the Oblates of Mary Immaculate, a Roman Catholic missionary order that played an important role in the introduction of Catholicism to western Canada and the lower mainland of British Columbia. Established in 1864, this mission reserve was the first permanent settlement in the area now known as North Vancouver. The original chapel dating from the mid-1860s was replaced in 1884 by a larger frame church with a projecting front steeple. (See 1890 photo above.) The current St. Paul’s church, which incorporates the walls of the 1884 church, was extensively remodeled and expanded with the addition of twin spires in 1909.

Front of church in 2014

Rose window seen in the front of church in 2014 photo

Four plaques between doors in front of church in 2014 photo
The commemorate the 1884 building, the history of the church,
the 1979-1983 renovation, and the 2013 restoration.
"Saint Paul’s is a fine example of Gothic Revival ecclesiastical architecture in Canada. The walls of the 1884 building were retained but lofty 26-metre-high corner towers replaced the original central tower. The addition of transepts and a vestry, along with circular-shaped chapels, created a sophisticated cruciform shape that was without precedent among Oblate mission churches in British Columbia. Apart from two chancel columns retained from the 1884 structure, decoration was confined to fret-sawn trim, largely removed in later renovations. The church was reopened in 1910 and named St. Paul’s in memory of Father Durieu, the first Oblate missionary in the area. St. Paul’s was the last mission church of this scale and complexity to be built on a First Nation mission in British Columbia, and is the last surviving example.

Sanctuary 2014
(Crucifix also appears in a 1950's photo) (REF. 3)

Last Supper plaque below the Crucifix 2014
(Plaque also appears in a 1983 photo) (REF. 3)

Native carving on alter candle holder 2014
(one of two)

Sanctuary side wall Station of the Cross
Native motif painting to the right, 2014

Painting of St. Paul on rear wall of Sanctuary

Stature of Mary and the Christ Child 
on rear wall of Sanctuary 2014
"Key elements that contribute to the heritage character of this site include:
- its setting on the Mission Reserve surrounded by community housing and public buildings;
- views across Burrard Inlet to Vancouver;
- its cruciform plan and symmetrical massing;
- the twin 26-metre-high ornate spires that project from the front elevation;
- the wood shingled roof with wooden detailing at the soffit level;
- the wooden crosses on top of both spires and over each gable end;
- the wood construction and clapboard cladding;
- the symmetrical fenestration with Gothic arched windows in single, double and triple assembly, some with stained glass, as well as rosette stained glass windows;

Rosetta stained glass window and triple window
in west transept 2014

- the wide wooden exterior staircase leading to the entry;
- the wooden, twin pilaster surrounds for the principle doors located at the base of the spires;
- the semi-circular chapels;

Rear view of church, note 
semi-circular chapel on the left 2014

- the wall and two chancel columns retained from the 1884 structure;
- surviving original mill work in the interior, including the pews."(Link.)

Wooden cross dating back to 1900
(REF. 3.)

1881 Bell from Cincinnati, Ohio
(The 550 pound bell was mounted in the single belfry in 1881,
later put in the west tower.) (REF 3.)

Thank you: To Father John J. Brioux, OMI, St. Paul's Parish, Oblates of Mary
                        Immaculate for permission to photograph the church and for the
                        booklet "Mission on the Inlet".
Photos: Taken in November 2014 by SW.
Reference 1: "Sources: Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada, 
                       Minutes, June 1981, November 1983, February 1990.
Reference 2: "North Shore News", Nov. 30, 2014, "Stately landmark returned 
                       to glory".
Reference 3: "Mission on the Inlet, St. Paul's Indian Catholic Church, North
                       Vancouver, B.C. 1863-1984."
Link 1:
Link 2:


God, be with the persecuted Christians through out the world. Amen (SW.)

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