Trinity Anglican Church, Halifax
Trinity Anglican Church, initially part of the parish of St. Paul’s-Salem Chapel, as it was first known, was first situated on Jacob Street below Citadel Hill. In 1866, a large brick church christened “Trinity Church” was opened on the Jacob Street site. By the early 20th century, the religious fervour of the era could not be accommodated by this edifice. When the Imperial Troops departed the city in 1906, the Garrison Chapel on Cogswell Street, which had been the church for the troops since 1846, was put up for sale. Trinity Church saw an opportunity to secure the site and build a new church on ample and beautiful grounds. In 1907, the first service of the “Parish Church of Trinity” was held in the old chapel. On its new site, the parish was situated within blocks of two other Anglican churches in the Old Northern Suburb, later known as Halifax’s North End.
In 1912, a new Parish Hall adjoining the church was opened. The hall managed to withstand the blast of the Halifax Explosion of 1917, but the chapel was completely wrecked, so the hall temporarily served as a place of worship. In time, a new church was built on the old granite foundation, with the same outside Greek Temple appearance as the previous church. Disaster struck again on March 5, 1928, when both buildings were destroyed by fire. Many believed the church would not be rebuilt, but donations flowed in, and the cornerstone of the new church was laid in 1928. This time, the Garrison Chapel’s granite foundation was used as part of the new design.
During the Second World War, the Trinity Parish Hall, in close proximity to the Cogswell Street Military Hospital, was taken over by the Canadian Government as auxiliary to the hospital. Sunday schools were conducted in the church proper, and groups met in the church basement until 1946. Following the war, the ‘Church-on-the-Green’ worked to beautify its grounds. They purchased a rectory and re-roofed the buildings with fireproof shingles. To their spacious hall, they added a gymnasium, long recognized as the best connected to any parish in Halifax.
Trinity Church was set back from Cogswell Street, elevated above Brunswick Street and behind the “Twelve Apostles” churchyard townhouses. The church’s street presence was enhanced by its grounds: the green of the lawn, semicircular drive, and the large trees were what first captured the eye upon approach. Trinity Church had an unusual spire, one of many distinctive spires in the undeclared Brunswick Heritage District. Indeed, for decades, this little stretch of Halifax remained very much intact from its 19th century roots. The spire of Trinity Church, the spire of the Church of the Redeemer (later the Marley Condominium complex), the spire of St. Patrick’s Church, the dome of St. George’s Round Church, and, in the distance, the tiny spire of the Little Dutch Church, all graced the streetscape for nearly a century.
In 2008, Trinity Church relocated to a new building in Fairview, and sold their property on Cogswell Street to a developer. The ‘Church-on-the-Green’, on its 1846 granite foundation, was once again destroyed, this time for good. Gone, too, were its commodious grounds, a green introduction to the “north suburbs” of Halifax.