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Our roots go back over 100 years.
The Beginning in 1908
The first church meetings in West Vancouver were held in 1908 in John Lawson’s house on 17th street where 33 people of all christian denominations worshiped together. In 1909, Reverend George Wilson helped organize a separate Presbyterian Church and Messrs. Harte, Lawson, Sinclair and Teare were appointed as the Board of Managers.
The congregation rapidly outgrew John Lawson’s home and in 1910 a large tent was constructed on a wooden platform on the corner of Marine Drive and 18th Street. When heavy snow destroyed the tent that winter, a timber “Presbyterian Hall” was built on the wooden platform and became the first public building in the community. In 1912, Reverend Alver MacKay became the first minister of West Vancouver Presbyterian Church.
During the first world war, the hall was utilized for Red Cross quarters as well as for church services.
In 1919, the North Shore Presbyterians, Methodists, Congregationalists and Baptists agreed to unite as West Vancouver United Church (six years before the National Church Union in Canada).
Worship at the Palms Ballroom
In 1951, following a long period of relative dormancy, a group of North Shore Presbyterians started occasional Sunday afternoon worship services. Due to the strength of the response, the congregation decided to hold regular services in The Palms Ballroom in Dundarave led by the Rev. Mckay Esler.
Meanwhile, the Board of Managers was searching for a site for a new church and negotiated the purchase of the Palms Ballroom and proceeded with renovations to convert it into a church sanctuary. The Palms Ballroom was home to the congregation for 13 years with the Rev. Lindsay McIntyre preaching the last sermon in 1965.
In 1963, a building committee was formed and a new site purchased at our present location at 29th and Marine Drive. A plan for the current structure was developed. It opened in the fall of 1965.
Since that time, West Vancouver Presbyterian has been through periods of ebb and flow with previous ministers including the Revs. Bob Taylor, Bill Perry, Ian Victor and Paul Myers. In 2000 the church purchased the property adjacent to our current location.
Our church has experienced a varied and colourful history in the 100 plus years since John Lawson organized that first service at his home. The church continues to play an important part in the spiritual and secular lives of many North Shore and greater Vancouver adults and children, and we look forward to carrying on this tradition.
For a more detailed history, please see the “Food for the Soul” version, first printed in the church cook book in 2001.