History of St. John the Baptist Heritage Church
Dedicated on October 26, 1913, St. John's is an important part of Colwood's proud history of distinguished community service. The building of the church was championed by prominent local families, including Laura Dunsmuir, the wife of James Dunsmuir, the former Premier and Lieutenant Governor of British Columbia. Other founding families like the Peatts (Edith and her husband Arthur), donated a quarter of an acre for the church site, the adjoining Pioneer Cemetery, and additional land for the vicarage.
Such community building efforts also helped create the Colwood Women's Institute in 1910. The Dunsmuirs and the Colwood Women's Institute hosted fundraising garden parties at Hatley Castle to build Colwood Community Hall, St. John the Baptist Church, and later the Queen Alexandra Solarium (1927) in Mill Bay. Eventually becoming the Queen Alexandra Foundation, which is now the Children's Health Foundation of Vancouver Island, the organization continues to provide vital programs, services and equipment to support the physical, emotional, behavioural and intellectual needs of children and youth - an amazing legacy of a caring community.
St. John's served as the area's only Anglican Church until 1924, when St. Matthew's Anglican Church was consecrated in Langford. The two parishes served the community until a merger of the Colwood and Langford Anglican parishes was approved. In 1982, Langford's St. Matthew's was deconsecrated and sold. the congregations of St. John and St. Matthew united to form the new Anglican Church of the Advent in 1986. St. John the Baptist Heritage Church was acquired by the City of Colwood in 1993 and given official heritage status. A dedicated team of community volunteers managed the site's restoration and continue to champion its growth and maintenance as a special event centre today.
Architectural Significance of St. John's
St. John's is one of the region's finest examples of Carpenter Gothic architecture, beautifully simple and elegant. In country pioneer style, it is painted a warm candle white with dark and mid-tone green trim. Period heritage lamp standards line the churchyard walkway. Original tongue and groove cedar interior and vaulted raftered ceilings create excellent acoustics. The raised, richly carpeted chancel provides the perfect backdrop for any special occasion. The acoustics are wonderful and the pews seat 85 comfortably. These features make this non-denominational church and heritage site is a special event destination for weddings, baptisms, funerals, art exhibits, concerts, community meetings and much more!
St. John's is one of several lovely event venues in Colwood and is meant to be enjoyed by all. It is available for use at a very reasonable rate. For rental information please contact Colwood City Hall at 250-478-5999 ext. 109.