In the next few posts we’ll be taking you on a virtual tour of the eight locations that make up The Acadian Passport. Here in Nova Scotia we all learn the story of the Acadian Deportation in school. This summer, we learned there was a whole lot more to the story of the Acadians, both before and after the Deportation. See all posts in this series below.
Did you know that Nova Scotia is home to the largest wooden church in all of North America?
Église Sainte-Marie is a 185 ft wooden church in Church Point. It’s hard to visualize unless you see it, but at that height, it’s taller than the Statue of Liberty. The impressive structure was built by the community – more than 1,500 volunteers helped make Saint Mary’s church a reality. It took only two years to complete, opening in 1905.
In many ways, the church was a product of pride. André Valotaire, the president of the Saint Mary’s Church Museum gave us a tour of the church. He told us that the expansion of the population in the area in the early 1900’s also led to an increase of churches. The churches that were being built were quite elaborate, and so Father Pierre-Marie Dagnaud decided that Église Sainte-Marie should be built to be more impressive than any other church in the area. You can hear André talking about Église Sainte-Marie in the short video below.
There are a few interesting things to keep an eye out for during your visit. Each column used to support the arched ceiling are a complete tree trunk that’s been covered in plaster. Each one is an impressive 70 ft tall.
The main altar, stations of the cross, and the hanging crystal chandelier, were all imported from France, but not all of it was brought in legally. The main alter was smuggled past customs by a Rum Runner.
At one time the church was even taller. In 1914 it was struck by lightning, reducing the overall height by 15 ft.
The man who painted the ceiling of the church was terrified of heights. He use to down a bottle of wine before heading up to paint. Can you spot the biker in the ceiling?
Église Sainte-Marie is currently closed for the season, but if you’re working on your 2015 plans you’ll want to keep this site in mind. Plus, it’s located in Baie Sainte Marie, a beautiful region of Nova Scotia where you can discover what’s hiding in the “little woods”, go clam-digging in Belliveau Cove (one of our top picks from summer 2014), visit Smugglers Cove, and spend some time bird watching and beaching at stunning Mavillette Beach.
1713 Hwy 1
Church Point, NS
Acadian Passport Series:
Historical Acadian Village of Nova Scotia – Lower West Pubnico
Musee Acadiene des Pubnico – Lower West Pubnico
Port Royal National Historic Site – Annapolis Royal
Historic Gardens – Annapolis Royal
Fort Anne National Historic Site – Annapolis Royal
We visited this site as part of The Acadian Passport. The Acadian Passport has hired us to produce videos to help showcase this unique Nova Scotian cultural experience. Opinions in this post are our own.