Our ongoing adventures photographing and sharing the Anglican Churches here on Vancouver Island continues in today’s post as we feature The Anglican Parish of St. Peter and St. Paul. Our latest running photoblog series “The Anglican Church Project” is one that we are working on with the Anglican Diocese of BC that finds us visiting all the Anglican Churches here on Vancouver Island capturing images both inside and out. We believe this project is important inasmuch as we are documenting all the facilities on the island, but the truth is it’s also a very personally meaningful project, one we really love participating in.
This isn’t the original spot this church was originally built on in 1866. There is a brief but great article written by Maureen Duffus – Esquimalt’s St. Paul’s Church that covers the beginning history of this church, most notably discussing how the entire church was taken apart and rebuilt on this site further up the hill in Esquimalt. This was presumably done to avoid the ongoing damage the building was experiencing being located so closely to gunnery practice that was taking place at nearby Macaulay Point.
Upon entering the church you are immediately struck by the terrific colors and light that play off the rich woodwork and features of the facility. We were told the paint on the walls here is the original paint, and all the features have some deep historical significance to the community and the parish. Originally designed and built to serve a burgeoning city that had a focus on the naval installments meant to protect the civilians from the looming threat of war, one that never came to our shores we might add, you find many details and artifacts in the church are centric to naval activities and a life on the sea.
Of particular note is the incredible stained glass windows and the way the light dances off the eloquently architected roof, highlighting the wonderful colors and details. This is most definitely a very inviting place, one that leaves you feeling warm and welcome in an instant.
The nautical theme is carried through in all the fine details, as is seen in this model of a masted tall ship hanging from the ceiling on prominent display.
With all that being said, though, one of the main highlights of this church is most certainly the pipe organ. Bought in 1912 from another parish, today its designated a heritage instrument and much love and care has gone into it’s maintenance over the years.
From the official site Our Organ | St Peter & St Paul’s Anglican Parish:
St. Paul’s bought this magnificent pipe organ from St. John the Divine Church in 1912. She is a tracker-action instrument, and has 4 divisions: Swell, Great, Choir and Pedal Organ. It was built by the Peter Conacher Co. Ltd. of Huddersfield, England.
The organ has a very handsome front, richly decorated in tints and gold. Of far more consequence, the parts of the instrument are carefully finished, even in the most minute details and the musical qualities of the organ are exceedingly beautiful, especially the reeds in the swell and choir which are full and at the same time, mellow in tone. The diapasons, too, are sufficiently powerful, and are entirely free from coarseness.
Loving care has been given to the organ over the years. Few changes have been made, but it still can be hand pumped with the original lever. In fact, a fire in Esquimalt in 2003 interrupted electricity and the morning service was completed with the use of the hand pump. Since the year 2000, there have been 16 recitals with the proceeds going to the maintenance and repair of the organ.
In February 2006, the Parish of St. Paul’s was presented with a plaque from the Royal Canadian College of Organists, recognizing the heritage status of the organ. The plaque is mounted on the wall near the organ itself. As of 2006, the organ is 115 years old.
This is much more than an incredible historic organ, it’s also a true piece of art. The way the light and the colors work with the intricate designs and details of the instrument creates vignettes that are captivating. Isn’t it just wonderful how the installation actually forms a natural part of the intrinsic architectural details found here? It’s actually an important facet of the interior detailing and really feels like it’s an intrinsic part of the building, partly due to its scale and partly due to the raw beauty of it.
As we turn to leave, and this is with a heavy heart as there is just so much to explore and take in here, we are drawn to the outside grounds and this bench in particular. What a perfect visual metaphor for our entire visit, it really does a great job representing the feel and character of this special place. A place that is now near and dear to our hearts.
If you’d like to see the entire catalog of images we captured, please feel free to visit our gallery of 24 high quality HDR photographs at “The Anglican Parish of St. Peter and St. Paul – Toad Hollow Photography“.
And on that note, we’d like to thank you for taking the time to visit us here today. We love hearing from all our visitors and encourage you to leave us any comments or thoughts you might have below. Until next time, my friends!!