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Stella Maris Catholic Church - Pictou, NS
Posted by: Groundspeak Premium Member BK-Hunters
N 45° 40.754 W 062° 42.280
20T E 523000 N 5058451
Quick Description: Built of red brick, this Roman Catholic Church clearly stands out from its surroundings of wood frame and sandstone buildings.
Location: Nova Scotia, Canada
Date Posted: 12/4/2018 9:10:02 PM
Waymark Code: WMZMYW
Published By: Groundspeak Premium Member YoSam.
Views: 0

Long Description:
Originally a Protestant community, Catholics began arriving in Pictou in 1795, primarily Irish Catholics. The first Catholic church to appear in Pictou was St. Patrick's Chapel, which opened for services in 1828. A slow but steady growth in the congregation resulted in the laying of the cornerstone for Stella Maris Roman Catholic Church on June 15th, 1865, with dedication taking place in November of the following year.

Standing on a granite block foundation, the bright red brick Gothic Revival building is trimmed with sandstone around all openings on the front facade and sandstone quoins at each corner. Each corner of the centred bell tower was also given sandstone quoins on the buttressed corners, which continue to the eaves. Above the eaves, the belfry and steeple were made of wood, the belfry having quoins simulated with painted wood boards. The spire is quite different, having a double circle of gablets, two on each of its eight sides.

The church, designed by Owen Hamill, has a beautiful interior with vaulted ceilings supported by a row of columns down each side of the central aisle. Several stained glass windows complete the interior.

Purportedly, the church, which is in the Diocese of Antigonish, has a website which appears to be broken at present.

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Stella Maris Church

Stella Maris Church is located on St. Stephen Street in Pictou, Nova Scotia. This brick, Gothic Revival style church was built in 1865 and stands out among the surrounding sandstone and wood frame residential buildings. The church building and property are included in the provincial designation.

Stella Maris Church is valued for its close historical association with the Roman Catholic Church in Pictou County and as a fine example of a Gothic Revival style church in brick.

In the first years of settlement, Pictou County was almost entirely Protestant. One of the first Catholics to settle in Pictou was an Irish immigrant, Joseph Connell, who arrived in 1795. For much of the nineteenth century, the small Catholic population was Irish. There may have been a church erected as early as 1810 at nearby Merigomish; it is, however, certain that in Pictou, St. Patrick's Chapel opened for services in 1828. At that time, there were about 1,000 Catholics in Pictou County, less than eight percent of the population. Although there were periods when there was no resident priest, and priests tended to stay only a few years, by the 1860s the congregation had reached the point where a new church was required.

The leadership, for what was a major undertaking for still a comparatively small congregation, came from resident priest Father Ronald MacDonald. He was born at Maligant Brook (now Maryvale), Antigonish County, educated at a parish school and afterwards taught classics at Saint Francis Xavier before coming to Pictou.

It was presumably Father MacDonald who engaged Owen Hamill as architect. Hamill was already involved in the remodelling of St. Mary's Basilica in Halifax and the building of the stone church at Cheticamp. Hamill moved to Pictou to supervise construction of Stella Maris. Father MacDonald also chose the location as the site for the church.

The cornerstone was laid on the feast of Corpus Christi, on June 15th, 1865. In November the following year, Bishop MacKinnon performed the dedication service for the church. It is believed that he chose the name, Stella Maris. Stella Maris means "Star of the Sea," and pays tribute to the Blessed Virgin Mary as Stella Maris is frequently applied to the Virgin Mother; in Hebrew the word for Mary is Miriam, which means star.

Stella Maris is a skillful, though somewhat restrained example of a late nineteenth century Gothic Revival architecture. The building is constructed of red brick masonry with sandstone used for quoining, architraves, and other decorative features. Gothic inspired architectural elements include: buttresses, capped with finials on the front elevation; windows with pointed arches; a circular window over the principal entrance; and prominent central tower, projecting from the front elevation, and surmounted by a tall thin spire.

Its hilltop location, combined with its tall spire, make Stella Maris a landmark when viewed from land or sea.

- red brick construction;
- sandstone quoining and architraves;
- buttresses, capped with finials on the front elevation;
- pointed arch windows;
- circular window over the principal entrance;
- prominent central tower, projecting from the front elevation, and surmounted by a tall thin spire;
- location on hilltop overlooking Pictou Harbour.
From Historic Places Canada

Public/Private: Public

Tours Available?: Yes

Year Built: 1865

Web Address: [Web Link]

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