As we continue to work on our long-term project documenting all the Anglican churches in the Anglican Diocese of BC, we are finding that this project is much more than simply photographing all the lovely facilities. It’s also a personal journey of discovery for us. There are most certainly commonalities amongst the various facilities, but there are also distinct differences that make each building unique. Thanks for joining us today as we continue our running photoblog series “The Anglican Church Project” where today we feature St. Michael and All Angels’ in Victoria, BC.
We find that many of the churches we visit that were built in the late 19th century and early 20th century are architected using the classic Gothic Revival style. This particular style lends itself to an overall and deep sense of character, embodying both the history of the Anglican church as well as the important link between the new lands being settled upon in the mid 1800’s and the homelands in the UK where most everyone who came to the island originated from.
Nestled in a primarily rural setting just on the outskirts of the city of Victoria, this beautiful little church stands out as something distinct and special. Built in 1883 through the gracious donation of land, time and materials from key community members as well as benefactors overseas, the parish quickly became an intricate part of the burgeoning community of Victoria. Life in the late 1800’s on Vancouver Island saw none of the creature comforts we’ve become accustomed to over the past few years here on the island. When you stop and think about this, you quickly realize that it was only through the hard work and toils of those who cared enough to be determined to build such a structure that such a facility came to life. And this tradition clearly carries on today.
In 1913 the bell tower was constructed to house a bell that was brought over from China. The design and construction of the tower is completely sympathetic to the architectural detailing of the main facility, dovetailing into the construction absolutely seamlessly. As we visit the Anglican churches on our project, we find that the bell and bell-tower are intricate parts of the overall feel and character of the parish, and the one we find here at St. Michael and All Angels’ is a terrific example of this.
Around back of the church we find the original cemetery. Given the beautiful and peaceful setting it sits in, we find an outdoor sanctuary where visitors can come and reflect and connect with those interned here. Many of the graves are those of the original pioneers whose spirit was so central in the building of the community on Vancouver Island.
Stepping inside we discover a welcoming interior, crafted with ornate and intricate details that exude the love and craftsmanship that went into the church’s design and construction. No detail is overlooked here in this meticulously maintained facility, and in the late afternoon we find the warm tones from the sun to be a welcome element. It is noted that the stained glass windows in this church are rather rare for buildings of this era. Don’t they add a wonderful dash of color and joy to the interior?
The perfect combination of natural wood finishes, highly skilled woodwork details and the vibrant colors and light found in the stained glass all work in harmony on the inside of the church. As you view the interior space of the church from the balcony, the natural light lends itself to accent the overall feeling of peace and belonging you find here. This sense is truly palpable.
Vignettes are found everywhere, revealing themselves in every turn you make. We love capturing these little stories in a picture and sharing them here with everyone, and we can only hope that some of the wonder and love we experience on these sessions is reflected in our photography. What started out as a simple love for heritage architecture has since grown into its own complete project, and through this work we find ourselves on a personal journey of discovery. Everyone we meet through this work is happy to share their story, eager to show the facility in the best light and is all too happy to connect with us on a deep and personal level as we interact and take in the facility and it’s surroundings as a whole.
I believe this makes this one of the most meaningful and important projects we’ve ever worked on here at The Hollow, and for that we are eternally grateful for the opportunity.
We hope you’ve enjoyed touring St. Michael and All Angels’ with us today. Thank you so much for taking the time to visit and join in with us here. As always, we love to hear from all our visitors so do please feel free to leave us any comments you may have.
To see all 31 high quality photographs of this church, please visit our gallery “St. Michael & All Angels, Victoria, BC“.