The present St. Paul’s church is now the hub church of the new parish of St. Peter & St. Paul created in 2010 from the former parishes of St. Paul’s, St. Saviour’s, St. Martin’s, St. Columba’s and All Saints.
The first services in St. Paul’s church were held by Royal Naval Chaplains at the medical station set up in Esquimalt during the Crimean War (1854-1856). With the building of the village school in 1858 the small congregation held Sunday services there. But all wanted their own church, and by the grace of God and the hard work of Paymaster Sidney J. Spark, R.N., of H.M. Shipyard and others, the church was built on the shores of Esquimalt harbour just below Signal hill.
The church was consecrated on December 12, 1866 and was called St. Paul’s Naval Church. The Parish served naval and army families as well as all who lived in the district up to the Point Ellis Bridge, the Gorge and Craigflower Roads, the Highlands, the Goldstream district, Colwood, Metchosin, Rocky Point, East and West Sooke and Otter Point. However, as there was no official naming of the church recorded it was often found to be simply referred to as the Esquimalt Church.
In 1899 the first electric lights were installed at the cost of $46.00. In 1904 the Government of Canada decided that the property on which the church stood was needed for other purposes, so the church was dismantled and moved to its present location.
Up to 1910 all the seats in the church were rented for $5.00 a year. When in 1911 this was terminated the congregation had difficulty paying its Rector and maintaining the Church House and Church.
The Church House, the former Gillespie home, was acquired in 1904. It served as home for the Rector, the Sunday School, meetings and social events. In World War 1 it was taken over by the army and served as a dormitory for enlisted men. The Present Parish Hall was built in 1957.
Our parish church has had many names. It has been called, the Admiralty Church, the Esquimalt Church, the Esquimalt Episcopal Church, and the Naval and Garrison Church. Today it is known as St. Paul’s Church, Parish of St. Peter & St. Paul, Esquimalt.
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