Originally built as a memorial to the fallen soldiers of WW1, the Canadian Memorial Church is best known to MacGyver fans as Saint Mary’s Church in ‘The Madonna’ episode.
Located on the corner of West 16th and Burrard Streets, the church has an old English look and feel to it and a warm peaceful feeling as we walked inside. There was a small group up the front of the church rehearsing a play, so we were a little cautious about spending too much time inside and especially about taking photos. Unfortunately, the few I did take came out blurry because of the low lighting. Once inside we found the interior was quite a bit different from what we see in the episode, so it would seem they used sound stage set. The layout is basically the same, but the materials and furnishings are completely different from what we found in the real church. We had thought it may have been just a different church as building a whole set for only a few scenes seems like quite a lot of work, but after searching through images of Vancouver churches online we haven’t found any that resemble this interior, so it looks like it was, in fact, a staged set.
Interestingly, the church itself has some very MacGyver-like approaches to the way it operates. For example, they accept all people without prejudice, regardless of ability, age, ethnicity, gender, gender identity, race, sexual orientation, or socio-economic circumstance. Their aim is to be an all-inclusive church community that treats everyone respectfully and equally.
We worship and practice an open-hearted, open-minded faith that takes scripture and the message of Jesus seriously, but not literally.
Now owned by the United Church of Canada, the building was originally built in 1927 by Methodist preacher, Rev. (Lt-Col.) George Fallis who wanted a memorial dedicated to Canada’s fallen soldiers, while “articulating a Christian cry for peace and an end to violence.” One of the key features helping to make that statement is the 10 stained glass windows (5 on each side) that illuminate its interior. Nine of the windows are dedicated to the provinces (Newfoundland was not part of Canada at that time), and one is dedicated to the Yukon. Each window has a religious motif above the provincial coat of arms, with the smaller panes on either side depicting events significant to the history of the area it represents. The windows aren’t particularly noticeable from the outside but look spectacular when viewed from within. Illuminated by the outside light, the artwork of the windows comes to life and creates an ambiance of hallowed serenity. In addition to the church sanctuary we see in the photos below, the complex also houses a hall, library, meditation room, youth room, and a fireside room which are all available for hire.
Photos by: KiwiTek & DashboardOnFire