A true architectural marvel, St. Paul’s located at 100 Chapel Street, Nanaimo is one of the oldest churches in British Columbia. Throughout its storied history, three separate churches have stood on St. Paul’s site, with foundation for the first initially being laid in 1861. At the time, land had recently been given by the Hudson Bay Co., intended for this specific use.
In the early 1900s a larger church was needed to accommodate the area’s booming population. By 1906 the church had been torn down entirely, and new foundation was laid on what would, ultimately, be the second iteration of St. Paul’s and included two individual buildings.
In 1907 the building was damaged significantly by a fire. Parishioners and local citizens would push through and rebuild, creating a modern church building that was one of the most notable local works of architecture in design of the period. In July 1930, a second fire swept through downtown Nanaimo, destroying six blocks of the business section including St. Paul’s. But, again, the community persevered and, just 13 months later, groundwork was laid for the third church which stands today. (From the Collection of the Nanaimo Museum)