St. Steven’s Church

 St. Steven’s is a very small hidden church that few people know about. It is snuggled among trees overlooking a glen called Mt. Newton Valley. It is the oldest church in B.C. and has been in continuous use since 1862. 

The church occupies a site I discovered purely by accident. I was driving down Mt. Newton X Road and saw a sign I would have missed if I had been driving faster. I saw a side road, drove in, and parked. As I entered through the gate to the church yard I immediately felt at peace, very Zen-like. I had a feeling of serenity, that this was a place of refuge and rest. 

The church is small and holds perhaps 20 parishioners. It is not the original building, but I could not discover why the 1862 structure had been replaced. The church is surrounded by a cemetery that saw its first interment in 1863; here you will find the graves of pioneers of Mt. Newton Valley. The old trees are draped in what looks like Spanish Moss that hangs down among the headstones. My thoughts as I strolled about were that this was a place where one could rest, surrounded by peace, overlooking the glen. The good news is you can still reserve a spot if you like!

Next to the cemetery is the Pet Memorial Garden and Pathway. People can bring cremated pet remains and have them interred in the garden. There are a few other outbuildings and a vegetable garden worth looking at, too.

St. Steven’s Anglican Church offers something different to photograph. I really love this place. If you are interested in photographing sacred places, you, too, will love it there.

The best time to visit is on a Sunday when the church is open for services from 8:30 to 10:30 a.m. You can enter the church to take photographs between and after services. Just be polite and respectful. The few parishioners you will encounter are seniors and very friendly. They will give you advice about the church.

Location:  7921 St. Stephens Road, Saanichton. Don’t drive too fast or you will miss it. There is ample parking.

For more information: St. Stephen’s Anglican Church ( and St. Stephen’s Heritage | About | Parish of Central Saanich (

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