With Prince George’s 100th Anniversary looming on the horizon, I recently started to think about the history of churches in Prince George, and I quickly discovered that I was fairly uninformed. 🙁
However, after an initial Twitter request to the PG Public Library, I found myself searching through a number of fascinating old books on their shelves. I’ll list the four main books at the bottom (for further research), but for now, here is a summary of what I found. I hope that you find it as interesting as I have!
Phase 1 – Church Pioneers
- December 4, 1842 – The first church in mainland BC was constructed at Fort Alexandria (approx 150km south of PG), for the First Nations people, and the first service was performed by Father Demers (Roman Catholic).
- Between 1873-1880 – The first church in Fort George was built, with Father Lejac (Roman Catholic) giving leadership to it and also the church at Ft St James (est 1873).
- Between 1905-1914 – Father Coccola (Roman Catholic) conducted the first church service for “white people”, in South Fort George.
- August 9, 1896 – The first Protestant church leader visited Fort George, Reverend MacKinnon (Presbyterian) from Quesnel, to perform a wedding and a few baptisms.
- 1907 – The first Methodist church service in Fort George was held in Hamilton’s store, by Reverend McElroy.
Phase 2 – Church Builders
- June 26, 1910 – The first of what became regular (ie. ongoing) church services held in Fort George, started by Reverend Bell (Methodist).
- October 2, 1910 – The first Presbyterian church service in Fort George, held in the dining tent of a hotel, was led by Reverend Wright.
- July 16, 1911 – Start of St George’s Church (Anglican) in Central Fort George, by Reverend Williams.
- November 1911 – Start of St Stephen’s Church (Anglican) in South Fort George, led by Reverend Williams.
- September 10, 1911 – Start of First Presbyterian Church (Central Fort George), led by Reverend Wright.
- October 22, 1911 – Start of Knox Presbyterian Church (South Fort George), led by Reverend Wright.
- 1914 – Start of the Roman Catholic Church in Shelley, led by Father Coccola.
- May 17, 1914 – Start of St Andrew’s Presbyterian Church, led by Mr McCree (the first non-ordained church leader in Fort George).
- September 27, 1914 – Start of the Roman Catholic Church south of the Millar Addition, led by Father Rivet.
Phase 3 – Church Expansion
- May 9, 1915 – Start of First Methodist Church, led by Reverend Morrison, the first church started within the new City of Prince George.
- 1917 – First Methodist Church merged with the Presbyterians, and withdrew their missionaries.
- April 18, 1919 – St Michael’s and All Angels Church (Anglican) is formed/named when St George’s Church building is moved to the Millar Addition (to some people, the new church became known as the “stolen church”).
- 1922 – Knox Presbyterian Church builds a larger church at the corner of Brunswick and Fifth.
- December 24, 1924 – Opening of The Sacred Heart Church (Roman Catholic).
- 1925 – Knox Presbyterian Church becomes Knox United Church.
- 1925 – Start of the Connaught Hill Lutheran Church (in the old Knox Presbyterian Church building).
- January 1927 – Start of the Salvation Army Church, led by Captain Lyons (first woman to lead a church in Prince George).
Phase 4 – ______________?
As you can see, I have included historical information up to and including the 1920’s. If you are interested in finding out more, let me know and I will continue my research and post it here.
Anne Martin, History of the Anglican Church in Prince George and Region, 2011
A.G. Morice, The History of the Northern Interior of British Columbia, 1904
F.E. Runnals, A History of Prince George, 2nd ed, 1983
F.E. Runnals, The History of the Knox United Church, 1945