Our History

Our Founder Unknown Writer – Received from the Nanaimo Community Archives

There were men of every description, and trades that arrived in Nanaimo, not to be a Miner. One such was James Reynard. James Reynard was ordained in Yorkshire England in 1865. He was sent out to the Pacific Coast, first to Victoria to transfer to another vessel bound for the Fraser River, his final destination was Barkerville, the centre of the Gold fields at the time.

Reverend Reynard was dismayed to find the only building vacant had been a saloon and closed for it was too small for the purpose. The Congregation had been waiting for a Minister, and told the Reverend that an empty building in Barkerville was a rarity. Regretfully the building was purchased and converted into a school during the week and a church on Sundays.

The noises from the adjoining buildings disrupted the school classes and the church services. The Reverend prayed for a miracle to deliver him from such surroundings. Fire swept through Barkerville in 1868 destroyed the church building. September 4th 1870 Reverend Reynard had the great pleasure of opening the doors to the new church building of St. Savior. He has his miracle and wish to open a new church but at a cost.

The rigorous winters and his presence at the village through the Caribou when he was asked, began to affect his health. He had been a frail man when he was sent from England to regain his health. The doctor had worried over the Reverend’s health, as a patient and a friend. He subscribed a warmer climate, closer to the coast. In 1871 Reverend Reynard arrived in Nanaimo to become the new Minister of St. Pauls Church. He proved to be a talented musician and after services would hold a Musical evening with his Congregation.

One evening he had a chat with Mrs. Spaulding, DR. McNaughton Jones, Mark Bate, & John Holden. He suggested the Nanaimo should have a Brass Band for there was so much musical talent. Those he spoke to agreed that would be a splendid idea. A meeting was called for, with the Public to attend, and discuss the ways & means to raise money. The response was overwhelming with more members and funds. With money, the Reverend sent away an order for the instruments required. It would be sometime before the instruments arrived from England.