13 August 2017

Church Photo in Lieu of Attendance - Salt Spring Island

Paul's Church, Salt Spring Island, BC, Canada
This evening's Church Photo in Lieu of Attendance is a quick shot from my recent trip to Salt Spring Island off the coast of western Canada. Before I travel I always take a look at Google images for an area so I had my eye out for it. It was built around 1880 by Father Donckele, the first Roman Catholic missionary to the Gulf Islands and was built by Hawaiian laborers. The materials were brought in by canoe  and then ox drawn carts. 
Kanakas, men from Hawaii, came to British Columbia around the year 1850, mainly as labourers for the Hudson’s Bay Company at Fort Victoria. Some of these pioneers settled on Portland, Russell and Coal Islands but the largest group chose south Salt Spring where they farmed, fished and logged. Many married native women and their children attended Beaver Point and Isabella Point Schools. They held Hawaiian luaus on Fulford Harbour beaches. They helped build St. Paul’s Church and members of several Kanaka families were buried in the cemetery. Some descendants still live on Salt Spring.

I wish I had spent a little more time exploring the tombs because the cemetery website lists this interesting inscription: 

Papa Francis William Coffey, Born: Angels Cove, Newfoundland August 29, 1947 Died: Old Monks Farmhouse, Salt Spring Isles October 10, 1998. Mine. Better shop short than fill to the brim. Oversharpen the blade and the edge will soon blunt. Amass a store of gold and jade and no one can protect it. Claim wealth and titles and disaster will follow. Retire when the work is done. This is the way to heaven.

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