Halifax – St. Paul’s Church

1706 Argyle Street

St.Paul’s Church is the oldest building in Halifax (1750) and the oldest surviving Anglican church in Canada but the history that its wall holds goes beyond a single religious place.

While its exterior style and frame are in a modest format, it has a rich glorious past. It opened to the public in 1750 and it took another 10 years to complete the interior. Some members of the royal family have visited this place and the crypt under the church holds a few historical persona. Charles Lawrence, governor of Nova Scotia, was the first to be buried in the crypt.

Located on the south end of the Grand Parade, it faces the City Hall at the opposite end of the square.

The architect of this church is James Gibbs who was highly inspired by two of his previous London creations, the Marybone Chapel (St. Peter, Vere Street) in Westminster and St-Martin-in-the Fields Church in Trafalgar Square. All three buildings definitely show a few similar stylishness.

The church was very slightly damaged by the 1917 explosion compared to other buildings. It was sufficiently sturdy to be used the next day to conduct funeral services not only for the Protestants but for other congregations. This was a beautiful act of humanity during disastrous moments. It also played a role of emergency hospital during the days following the massive destruction.

The church has two visible scars of the explosion: a piece of window frame that pierced the wall (at the entrance) and a special window where you can see the clearly defined shadow of a profiled head and shoulder of a man associated with Abbe Moreau’s image. The true story of this shadow is mysterious but some speculate that it was the effect of the heat from the explosion on the window while the man was looking out the window.