Saint Paul’s Roman Catholic Church National Historic Site of Canada is valued for its association with the Oblates of Mary Immaculate.
The Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate came to Canada from France in 1841 to promote Christianity to Indigenous people and new settlers. While many of their contributions were celebrated in the past, they have more recently issued apologies for their role in the residential school system and for the part they played in the “cultural, ethnic, linguistic and religious imperialism” towards Indigenous people.
This mission reserve, established in 1864, was the first non-Indigenous permanent settlement in the area now known as North Vancouver.
The original chapel dating from the mid-1860s was replaced in 1884 by a larger frame church with a projecting front steeple. The current St. Paul’s church, which incorporates the walls of the 1884 church, was extensively remodeled and expanded with the addition of twin spires in 1909.
The church was reopened in 1910 and named St. Paul’s in memory of Father Durieu, the first Oblate missionary in the area.
Saint Paul’s Roman Catholic Church was designated a national historic site of Canada in 1980. It is the oldest surviving mission church in the Vancouver area that has long been a focal point of the mission reserve, and is an example of the Gothic Revival Style in Canada.