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Holy Trinity Church

1319 Mills Road, North Saanich, British Columbia, V8L, Canada

Formally Recognized: 1982/06/07

Exterior view of the Holy Trinity Church; District of North Saanich, 2007
View from the southeast
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Other Name(s)

Holy Trinity Anglican Church
Holy Trinity Church

Links and documents

Construction Date(s)

1884/01/01 to 1885/01/01

Listed on the Canadian Register: 2009/02/24

Statement of Significance

Description of Historic Place

Holy Trinity Church is a late 19th century one-storey wood-frame church with a prominent steeple and Gothic-arch windows located at the southeast corner of Mills Road and West Saanich Road in North Saanich. The church is surrounded by a picturesque rural cemetery and offers commanding views across West Saanich Road to Patricia Bay. The formal recognition includes the church and one metre of land surrounding the building.

Heritage Value

Dedicated in 1885, Holy Trinity Church is valued as a reflection of the strength and continuity of the pioneer community that settled in North Saanich in the late nineteenth century. It is also valued for its architect and architecture.

Holy Trinity Church stands as a testament to the community effort that led to its construction in the late 19th century. It was built on land donated by local farmer George Mills, funded locally through the efforts of J.J. Downey and Walter Collins, with site preparation by a group of volunteers that included members of the Brackman, Collins, Downey, Horth, Ker, McIlmoyl and Roberts families. Charles Wales floated the lumber south from Genoa Bay, and T.B. Shaw of Cowichan, who also worked on St. Stephen’s Church, Saanich, was awarded the contract for construction. Since its consecration on June 27, 1885, by the Reverend George Hills, the first Bishop of British Columbia, Holy Trinity Church has continuously served the Anglican community of North Saanich.

Holy Trinity Church is a significant surviving example of the work of John Teague, a prolific Victoria architect of the late nineteenth century, noted for his design of Victoria City Hall and the Church of Our Lord in Victoria.

Holy Trinity Church has architectural significance as an example of the Gothic Revival style, one of the most favoured architectural expressions for Late Victorian religious structures in British Columbia. The original church building was a modest structure with Gothic pointed-arch windows and wooden drop siding. Later additions provide evidence of the church’s evolution over time, including an 1889 belltower, an 1893 tinted glass window placed in memory of founding church member Henry Brackman, and 1921 alterations to the structure, detailing and interior. Although changes have occurred, the original character of the building has been beautifully preserved.

Source: Planning Department, District of North Saanich

Character-Defining Elements

Key elements that define the heritage character of the Holy Trinity Church include its:
- prominent corner location at the intersection of Mills and West Saanich Roads, across the road from the waterfront, with expansive views of Patricia Bay and Saanich Inlet
- situation within a picturesque rural cemetery, surrounded by the remains of many local settlers and area residents
- continuous use as an Anglican church
- ecclesiastical form, scale and massing as expressed by its one-storey height, rectangular plan, steeply pitched front-gabled roof, and projecting rectangular bell tower with quadrilateral steeple and louvered vents
- wood-frame construction with original wooden drop siding under later shingle siding
- Gothic Revival details, such as Gothic pointed-arch window openings, and cross finials on the quadrilateral steeple
- Arts and Crafts details, such as cedar shingle siding and triangular eave brackets
- early wooden front doors at the north entrance, with iron strap hinges
- windows, including: Gothic pointed-arch windows with diamond-leaded panes, some with wooden tracery, in single and triple assembly; multi-paned leaded glass casement windows; tinted glass memorial window
- interior features such as an original pew at the north entrance and exposed scissor trusses



British Columbia

Recognition Authority

Local Governments (BC)

Recognition Statute

Local Government Act, s.967

Recognition Type

Heritage Designation

Recognition Date


Historical Information

Significant Date(s)


Theme - Category and Type

Expressing Intellectual and Cultural Life
Philosophy and Spirituality

Function - Category and Type



Religion, Ritual and Funeral
Religious Facility or Place of Worship

Architect / Designer

John Teague


T.B. Shaw

Additional Information

Location of Supporting Documentation

District of North Saanich Planning Department

Cross-Reference to Collection

Fed/Prov/Terr Identifier




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