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Minoru Chapel - Richmond, British Columbia

Pen and ink drawing by Bob Sheridan

Minoru Chapel, Richmond, British Columbia - print by Bob Sheridan
    The Richmond Church was built at Cambie and River Road in 1891 by the efforts of 17 hardy pioneers who formed the first Methodist congregation on Lulu Island. From Sea Island and up and down the Fraser River the faithful came by boat to attend services under Rev. J. A. Wood.

    In 1925, the Presbyterians and Methodists joined to form the Richmond United Church. This congregation has had many happy occasions together - from Strawberry Teas to the Fiftieth Anniversary in 1938 and the Diamond Jubilee celebrations in 1948. Rev. Charles Finnemore was the minister at these occasions.

    In 1961, as a result of relocation of the railway, this historic church was moved and restored by the Municipality to pay tribute to those early settlers in Richmond. It now serves as an interdenominational chapel to the peopel of Richmond for weddings and other spiritual services.

    On July 3, 1968, the Pierrefonds Gardens located on the church grounds were dedicated to commemorate the twinning of Richmond. B.C. and Pierrefonds, Quebec.

                                                                                                                        Bob Sheridan

    Minoru Chapel is an L-shaped, Carpenter Gothic church building with a corner entry tower. Now located in Minoru Park in Richmond, British Columbia (7191 Granville Avenue), a complex of arts, culture and sports facilities in a park setting, the chapel is surrounded by mature trees, lawn areas and paved walking paths, and on the east side, the formal Pierrefonds gardens.

    A city-designated heritage resource, Minoru Chapel was originally built in 1891 as part of a cluster of associated church buildings on a site at the corner of River Road and Cambie Road where it could be easily accessed by water, necessary due to its very early construction date when Richmond's interior road system had not yet been developed. The building is significant as an excellent example of the Carpenter Gothic building style, and has become an internationally renowned chapel, often used by couples seeking an exotic location for a ceremony.

    The Chapel is the oldest extant church in Richmond, although not on its original site, and has some unique stylistic features. It is associated with the development of the early churches in Richmond, and was chosen to be a memorial to Richmond's past and to serve the present multi-cultural community as a non-denominational chapel. The chapel and Pierrefonds gardens were collectively designated a provincial heritage site in 1979.

    Key elements that define the heritage character of the site include:
* Its excellence as an example of the vernacular Carpenter Gothic style, part of the widespread gothic revival in church building which occurred in the late 1900s
* Its historical association to the development of early religious society in Richmond
* Its status as a community landmark and its use as a venue for weddings, baptisms and other important events
* Its unique L-shaped structure and irregular massing with a square corner entry tower, not typical of the rectangular churches in general, and Methodist churches in particular, built around this time
* Quality of design and construction in the details, such as the ornate tower, decorative eave brackets and leaded glass windows with triangular pointed arches.

    The architect was B. D. Poice, in consultation with the minister, Reverend S.J. Thompson. The builder was Ira McLaren.

    The foundation of the church is concrete, newly constructed when the building was moved. The roof is a cross gable, and the entry tower has a tall steeple with a hipped octagonal turret roof. The roof covering is cedar shingle, presumed to be original. The tower is very ornate, with an open balcony, wooden fretwork brackets and spindle balustrades. There are eave brackets below the tower roof and decorative shingling on the tower itself. The building is clad in wooden drop-siding, with wooden fish scale shingles in the gable ends, and corner boards. The windows are triangular pointed arches, most with elaborately designed coloured leaded glass; the major central windows have a triple pane arrangement. Rose windows are located over the entries. The doorways have a shaped transom window above.