St. Joseph’s Church was situated in the North-end of Halifax next door to the Canadian Forces Base Halifax, (Stadacona). When the church was closed by the diocese in 2006, the ministry to their community was carried on by Saint Mother Teresa of Kolkata church.
A History of St. Joseph's
In 1865 Daniel Sullivan, an alderman in the City of Halifax donated a lot of land at the corner of Russell & Gottingen Streets, at a site on which he hoped a new Church could be built, to serve the needs of Catholics in the north end of the City.
The work began in the same year and was completed in 1867. In that year only 50 families were members of St. Joseph’s. One of the first priests was Father Allan and he lived at the home of Mr. Sullivan who donated the land for the Church. Subsequent years brought both institutional and population growth to this area and so the size and importance of St. Joseph’s parish increased.
It was in the pastorate of Monsignor McManus that disaster visited the Parish. On December 6th, 1917, the terrible Halifax Explosion occurred, claiming the lives of more than 400 parishioners of St. Joseph’s (about ½ of the parish) and destroying every vestige of Church property.
With faith and courage the descendants of the first pioneers began rebuilding. An excellent basement church took form and was opened in 1920 and served an ever-growing parish for the next 40 years.
The upper and newer structure of St. Joseph’s Church began in 1959 and was completed in 1961. The military barracks and base next to the church became part of the life of the church as well. Inside the church hall, the parishioners provided their own entertainment and raised funds for the parish by having plays, concerts, operettas and other musical shows. Over the years this church served as a haven for the Catholic families of this area. By 1932 there were 600 families and by the 1950’s the parish had grown to about 1200 families.
At the time of its closure in 2006, the community had decreased to about 150 families. We have been grateful to welcome and serve those families in our faith community.
The church interior was dismantled, with many significant items donated to other churches before the building itself was demolished. Today, the site is a mix of commercial and residential space called "St. Joseph's Square" where the stained glass windows commemorating the Halifax Explosion have been incorporated into the design as an outdoor installation on the corner of Gottingen St. and Kaye St.
St Joseph's statue preserved from the original church
St Joseph's circa 2000