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St Marys Church Port Renfrew
The Rev. David Holmes built St Mary's at Somenos in 1875 to replace the mission chapel school. The Church was completely dismantled and rebuilt from the existing materials in 1909. As time passed by the town of Duncan became the commercial trade center and St Mary's could no longer support the majority of parishioners. It was then dismantled into sections and moved to Port Renfrew by truck. It was re-assembled, along with it's interior and organ. During transport the bell from the church belfry and disappeared. Later the bell from the HMCS Swansea replaced the missing bell to the church in Port Renfrew. The original location of the Church at Somenos is still marked by a cairn. Port Renfrew Church first wedding picture
The churches first wedding

and the first signing in the churches new register was on Saturday, August 15, 1970 when Judith Mary Elliott, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Frank Elliott, Port Renfrew, became the bride of Thomas Baxter Worth, son of Mr. and Mrs. Thomas Worth from Vaseaux Lake.

Removing the church from its foundation image

St Mary's Anglican Church

was moved from Somenos Road, Duncan to Port Renfrew the last week of June 1970. The actual move of the church started on a Tuesday on the new Lake Cowichan Road through the village of Lake Cowichan and Mesachie Lake and over the logging roads to Port Renfrew where a large barge took the truck and church for about a quarter mile to beach camp in lower Port Renfrew.


The roof being removed by the boom truck (image)





The church weighs 27 tons

and the cost to move it was $3.400. One of the additions was removed plus 6 feet of the roof. There was a slight mishap where the boom stick smashed into the roof. With a great effort from the community repairs were completed just in time for the churches first wedding ceremony and first church service which followed that Sunday.

Images of foundation and roof being constructed

Re fit 1991

A pre-apprentice class from Camousin College donated their time and built a new foundation and shingle roof.


Refit of church (image)



The church again went through a major restoration November 2000. Donations from the community and past residents plus a grant from the British Columbia Heritage Trust fund helped pay for the restorations.



Anyone with additional information/corrections/photos they wish to contribute for this site please forward to: prchurch@portrenfrew.com
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