Heritage Register - St. Paul's Anglican Church and Hall

Building Details
Name: St. Paul's Anglican Church and Hall
Address: 100 Chapel Street
Architectural Style: Gothic Revival
Building Use: Institutional
Year of Construction: 1931
Builder or Architect: J.C.M. Keith, Architect, Turley Brothers Contractors
Protected Heritage Property: Yes

Heritage Value Statement

St. Paul’s Anglican Church is significant as one of the oldest, continuously functioning parishes in British Columbia, linked to both the ecclesiastic history of the province and the earliest social and spiritual development of Nanaimo. Built on land given by the Hudson’s Bay Company in 1859, the current building is the third church on the site.

Built in 1931, St. Paul’s Anglican Church is an excellent and the only identified local example of Gothic Revival architecture, a popular style for churches in this period. The building’s modest proportions and minimal ornamentation reflect its construction during the Depression. St. Paul’s Anglican Church was designed by architect J.C.M. Keith, best known for Victoria’s landmark Christ Church Cathedral.

Keith was born in Scotland in 1858, the son of an Anglican clergyman. He settled in Victoria in 1891, and three years later won the competition to design Victoria’s landmark Christ Church Cathedral. Recommended by the Bishop, Keith’s first design for this church was rejected as too costly, estimated at $80,000 without furnishings. His second design was also rejected at being too expensive. His third and final design was built at a tender price of $23,296 by Turley Brothers of Parksville. The first service was held on January 3, 1932.

The exterior of the church is distinguished by its stained glass windows and decorative pre-cast concrete trim. The interior has survived in intact condition, including a fir plank ceiling, plastered walls, a stone baptismal font, oak altar railings and pulpit, and a large fir organ case. The perpetual light to the left of the altar is an original miner’s lamp, presented to Mr. Freeman in 1914 by the Wolfe Company of Germany when he was the manager of the Jingle Pot Mine.

The landscaped grounds in front of the church, combined with the adjacent Dallas Square Cenotaph plaza, form a significant park area at a busy downtown intersection. The front garden, with a winding path that leads to the main entry, creates a barrier from the street and a secluded, peaceful ambience appropriate to a church building.

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