ST. MARY'S, SUMMERSIDE
St. Mary's Then
The Church of St. Mary the Virgin, Summerside opened its doors for worship in 1861, then the second Anglican church in the area, and was built to serve the centre of the growing town of Summerside.
The original church was described as a, "wooden structure, neat in appearance and of the early English style of architecture," and was built on land donated by Joseph Green, a member of a prominent Summerside family, on the same land upon which the current church sits today.
In 1906 a devestating fire that began in a rail yard shed ripped
through central Summerside destroying 8 city blocks of the town. Besides the numerous houses and businesses lost to the fire it also destroyed the Baptist Church, the Christian Baptist Church, and St. Mary's Church, rectory, and a small building that functioned as the hall and Guild room. The fire destroyed St. Mary's Church and all of its records entirely. All that remained intact was the Baptismal Font, a beautiful stone font given by the Sunday School, the church bell, and one kneeling pad at the altar rail. The font and bell can still be seen at St. Mary's to this day.
Before 1909 the church had made the decision to employ George E. Baker, a local architect and carpenter, to rebuild St. Mary's Church. The choice had been between William Critchlow Harris, a prominent architect from Charlottetown (and relative of a future Rector of St. Mary's), and Baker.
The new church was completed in 1909 and was built in the Gothic style and made of imported brick with facings of island red sansdstone, and boasted a galvanized roof. It was erected on almost the exact same spot as the first St. Mary's, on the corner of Summer and Church streets.
The Parish Hall, which now sits across the lawn on the north side of the church, was a later addition to the property. The Great Fire of 1906 had destroyed a small wooden structure built in 1891 that functioned as a parish room or hall, and Guild room. After rebuilding the church in 1909 it was determined that the Parish could not afford to build a hall right away.
Ground was broken in September of 1927 for the construction of a new hall. The Parish once again employed the services of George E. Baker to design the hall, and hired local contractor H.M. Downing to build it. The hall, which remains a valuable addition to the Summerside historic streetscape, was designed with Gothic influence much of which can still be seen in the faux-buttresses on the sides of the structure, the oculus windows at the top of either end, and the Gothic tracery in the transom above the front door.
Since 1927 the Hall has been an important fixture in the communal life of the parish, as well as an often-used space for the wider Summerside community. The Hall presently contains the church offices, meeting rooms, and kitchen.
St. Mary's Now
St. Mary's Church is still situated on the corner of Summer & Church Streets and remains a beautiful addition to the downtown Summerside streetscape.
Many of our combined parish events are still held at the Hall (74 Summer St.) and St. Mary's often hosts combined parish services in the church.
On Sunday mornings there is 8 am Said Eucharist and 10:45 am Sung Eucharist & Sunday School