Église Sainte-Marie, is located in Church Point next to the Université Sainte-Anne campus. Sainte-Marie parish, the first parish to be established in the St. Mary’s Bay area of Southwest Nova Scotia, is a catholic community of the Archdiocese of Yarmouth/Halifax.
A historical place of worship, the church, with its steeple rising 56.4 m (185 feet) above the ground, is the largest wooden church in North America. Built over a period of two years, from 1903 to 1905, by 1500 volunteers under the supervision of a master carpenter who could neither read nor write, it features large columns which are actually complete 20 m (70ft) tall tree trunks. The tall steeple is anchored down using 40 tons of rocks and contains 3 large bells with a combined weight of almost 2 tons.
The architecture of this church is based on the French Breton style and it is the only church in the world with this style of architecture which is built out of wood. A visit to this magnificent structure will reveal a connection to rumrunners and unique shipping methods of the era.
Upon entering the church, you will notice the tall columns supporting an arched ceiling. These columns are actually entire tree trunks covered with plaster. The ceiling reaches a height of 19.4 m (63 feet).
Your attention will also be drawn to the magnificent stained glass windows, to the main altar, to the stations of the cross, and to the hanging crystal chandelier, all imported from France.
You will see a custom built Casavant organ.
Look into the history of the parish and its church through interpretive panels, photographs and videos. Learn too about the people who built the church.
The church also houses two exhibit rooms displaying various artifacts, mostly liturgical vestments and objects used in the celebration of mass and the administration of the sacraments.
Some of these articles are from years long past. Rare or precious items are displayed in glass cabinets. The most recent addition is a collection of statues of the Madonna from different countries of the world.
These exhibits are the only ones of their kind in Nova Scotia.