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Sunday, February 20, 2011

Sunday Stills ~ Old Churches & Graveyards

This week's theme, Old Churches & Graveyards, had the potential to be pretty interesting.  Even though Saskatoon isn't a very old city I had done some research and planned some potentially interesting places to go take photos.  Unfortunately it was freaking c-o-l-d this week so I didn't take my poor camera outside.
I was thinking that I would have to sit out this week and then I remembered... 2 1/2 years ago I went to Halifax because my dad was having a kidney transplant (he's doing great now), and I had taken some pics of St. Mary's Basilica!
They aren't the best quality pics, in fact I couldn't get the whole height of the church in one pic, then again St. Mary's has the highest free standing granite spire in North America.
(please excuse the wires, buildings next door, etc... I am not a 'photoshopper')
One of my favourite outdoor features, other than the spire, was the stained glass windows and the words carved over these three doors, so of course I took close ups of each...

St. Mary's is truly a beautiful place, if you're ever in Halifax, NS you can find it on Spring Garden Rd and Barrington St.

Here are a few interesting facts:
*A group of Irish Catholics bought the land for the church in 1784 after a repeal of certain penal laws forbidding Catholic Worship.  Building was started on Halifax's first Catholic church, at the time known as St. Peter's.
*In 1801 its was evident that St. Peter's was rapidly becoming too small for the growing congregation.  In 1820 construction began on what was to be the second Catholic cathedral in Canada, renamed St. Mary's.  Prior to this Halifax only had two other masonry buildings - Government House and The Admiral's House - even the citadel was not constructed until 1829.
*Local craftsmen had not constructed a roof of such size so local shipwrights were brought in to build the roof as they would the hull of a ship!  The original adze (planed) beams are still in place.
*Due to different renovations/additions over the years the exterior gothic style is eclectic with evidence of German, French and English gothic.  Today the basic exterior structure is the same as it in 1874 after the completion of renovations (although there have been more reno's)
*In 1950 Pope Pius XII bestowed the honorary title of Basilica upon the cathedral.
*A set of eleven bells were installed in 1879, the largest weights 1200 lbs and the smallest 200 lbs.  During the Halifax explosion in 1917 some of the bells were cracked and sent to England to be recast.  They were reinstalled as a part of the first centenary celebration of St. Mary's and honour those from the parish that served in World War I.


  1. That's an awesome church...great architecture!! Enjoyed the info facts too!

  2. Beautiful steeple.

  3. What a beautiful church! I love the close ups of the windows, and that steeple is amazing. Interesting history; a little piece of Canadian history I didn't know.

  4. I agree, beautiful church, I had the same problem with powerlines in my shot too and no photoshopping.:-)

  5. Beautiful, love the stained glass windows.

  6. catholicism was not allowed!? whoa i had no idea.

    i love the honesty of photos depicting life as you saw it, not improved with photoshopped editing.

    my husband told me to take several natural pictures on our trip to seattle, showing how often powerlines ruin a photo. i had no idea, living there, how powerlines on every single street disturb the view. he had to tell me because in german cities the power is underground. now i notice the difference.

    hoping to keep it real,


  7. Lytha- I believe (and CDN, please correct me here), that it's because Canada was originally English territory and Catholicism was illegal in England for a long time. My son just studied the War of 1812 in brief recently and that's when I found out that Canada was an English colony, not a French one.

    The reality of the Pilgrims at Plymouth Rock is that they were kicked out of England for their religious views. Not that they were just adventurous and looking for a new land to settle. My husband's great-great, well, really far back, grandparents came over on the Mayflower.

    CDN- That's a very gorgeous church! I may have to visit it someday!

  8. Really beautiful Church!! Thank you for posting those photos....

  9. I love the details above the doors..thanks also for the history:)