St. Michael and All Angels' Church
4733 West Saanich Road, Saanich, British Columbia, V8Z, Canada
Links and documents
Listed on the Canadian Register:
Statement of Significance
Description of Historic Place
St. Michael and All Angels' Church is a modest vernacular wood frame Gothic Revival church in the Rural Saanich area of Saanich. The church is set in landscaped grounds containing gardens, a church hall, and a cemetery.
St. Michael and All Angels' Church is valued as indication of the community spirit and generosity of early pioneers. Land for the church was donated by John Stevens, proprietor of the Halfway House. Local resident Louis Duval cleared the ground, hauled in the lumber and cut all the roof shingles by hand. Donations and grants were solicited, some from as far away as England, and the church was built following the plans provided by Henry Mitchell (active in Victoria 1862-1888). This community spirit and enthusiasm has continued over the years and provided such items as stained-glass windows, embroideries, and the bell, which was brought from China and for which the bell tower was built in 1913.
St. Michael and All Angels' is valued as a fine example of the Gothic Revival style, with windows that were rare on churches of this era. The church was enlarged in 1953 by architect Studley Patrick Birley (1904-1962), with sympathetic design to the original. Its architecture is modest but refined, reflecting the sensibilities of appropriate ecumenical expression, based on the church designs promoted through pattern books and a romantic picturesque ideal of rural life.
As a centre for social gatherings and events, the Church played an important role in the lives of members of this agricultural parish and it is valued for this fostering of community spirit. From the beginning, social events such as musical entertainments, garden fetes, and strawberry festivals were held, not only for the enjoyment of parishioners but also to raise money for causes such as church building and feeding the needy.
The cemetery at this site makes a valuable contribution to the history of Saanich by providing a tangible reminder, in the memorial inscriptions, of the pioneers who are buried there. The rural setting and landscaping are important as they provide an outdoor sanctuary for reflection and remembrance within the cemetery.
Source: Saanich Municipal Archives, file 4733 West Saanich Road.
Key elements of the heritage character of St. Michael and All Angels' church include its:
- relationship of the church to the cemetery and hall, in a landscaped setting
- form, scale, and massing
- exterior elements such as the Gothic windows; the steeple; the drop siding; the fenestration; and the separate bell tower
- paired lancet wooden-sash windows along the nave, and triple lancets, with a drip moulding, on the west end
- interior elements such as the chancel arch containing a text painted in Gothic script; tongue-and-groove panelling with exposed cross-braces on the rafters; and exposed braces
- pentagonal chancel at the east end with three Gothic-arched windows, and paired Gothic-arched windows along the side walls, the west end contains a large Gothic window and is surmounted by a small steeple
- separate bell tower on the north side
- associated landscape features including planted garden elements and mature trees and hedges
- adjacent cemetery with variety of memorial headstones
- adjacent church hall
Local Governments (BC)
Local Government Act, s.967
Theme - Category and Type
- Building Social and Community Life
- Religious Institutions
Function - Category and Type
- Religion, Ritual and Funeral
- Mortuary Site, Cemetery or Enclosure
- Religion, Ritual and Funeral
- Religious Facility or Place of Worship
Architect / Designer
Location of Supporting Documentation
Saanich Municipal Archives, file 4733 West Saanich Road.
Cross-Reference to Collection