Holy Trinity Church is a historic Anglican parish located on the Saanich Peninsula, about 25 kilometers north of Victoria, British Columbia. By 1884, the number of settlers in the area was large enough to support a local church. The majority of them were Church of England members. George Mills, an early settler, donated the site for the church and parsonage on the banks of Patricia Bay.
The original churchyard was about one-half an acre surrounding the church and was planned to accommodate 200 burial plots. The first burial was for the donor of the land, George Mills, who died on February 1, 1888, at the age of 54. On August 30, 1891, the churchyard was expanded to the east and the Bishop then declared all the burial area to be a cemetery. The cemetery was enlarged on two other occasions until it assumed its present size of two acres and 1700 plots.
Many pioneers of the Saanich Peninsula are buried in Holy Trinity Cemetery. At least 20 area roads and geographic features bear names of cemetery occupants. An example is "Mills Road" fronting the cemetery. This road was originally called "School House Road" but the name was changed to honour the local farmer and donor. Many plots have no marker stones indicating the names and dates, but there are hand-written receipts, maps, lists and other records made by sextons and wardens over the years.
Several marker stones and cemetery records show the burial of children in the early years of the church and the effects of the two World Wars on the congregation. Some indicate the affiliation of the occupant with the Canadian Forces, the RCMP and various fraternal organizations. The rank or position of the person is often shown. Probably the most significant is the plot of George Pearkes, Canadian Army General and Lieutenant Governor of B.C. Of the 19 ministers who have served Holy Trinity Church, 5 (including the first Rector, Rev. T.M. Hughes) are buried in the cemetery. Of lesser renown was crewman Andrew Ollson who perished in the sinking of the SS Iroquois off Sidney in 1911.
Early plans of Holy Trinity Cemetery included trees which were planted on the south and west boundaries. Many of these trees are native Douglas fir, but some exotic trees are included, and are found also in the cemetery itself. Over two dozen flowering or ornamental trees are present including flowering cherry and plum, lilac, garry oak and English oak, American elm, copper beech, birch, dogwood, Coulter and Scots pine, cedrus and spruce. Two trees which have dedication plaques are an English oak from Windsor Great Park and a Scots pine from Kew Gardens. Both were planted to commemorate the coronation of King George VI in 1937.
The two most conspicuous marker stones or monuments are for people who are not buried in the cemetery. A large stone cross and identification marker located at the end of the cemetery road is in memory of Rev. Roy Melville, the sixth rector of the church. However, there is no record of Rev. Melville's burial in Holy Trinity Cemetery. On the east central part of the cemetery is a tall granite obelisk naming three young soldiers who drowned in a boating accident near Sidney. They were neither parishioners nor residents of this area, but the Canadian Legion arranged for the manufacture and inscription of the monument and its placement in the cemetery.
In 1980, Holy Trinity and St. Andrew's in nearby Sidney separated into independent parishes. The cemetery, however, remained a joint responsibility and is now managed by a Cemetery Board of the rectors and representatives from both parishes.
The passing of time and change of equipment is noted in Holy Trinity Cemetery. The early hand-scripted ledgers of burials and plots have been replaced by computer data bases and location/name files on disks. The hand-hewn marker stones (some with misspellings and chiseling problems) are now made from the same stone but with computer-directed carbide routers which can carve any kind of print or script and any scene or design considered appropriate.
GPS Coordinates: 48.65483, -123.44527
- Added: 22 Jul 2001
- Find A Grave Cemetery: #639356
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