St. Mary the Virgin, Bayfield - 1407 Summerside Rd
A brief history of St. Mary-the-Virgin Church:
In Little River (later called Bayfield), interest in an Anglican church began in the early 1830’s. In the 1850’s, there was work on a new Church on the site of the present St. Mary’s Church. This building served the community of Bayfield for some forty years until it was destroyed in a fire in the late 1890’s. The Church of St-Paul-the-Apostle was also destroyed by a fire that year. The causes for these traumatic fires have not been recorded or discovered to date. Within months though, plans developed for the building of new church buildings in both communities. Each church was completed and paid for by 1902. St. Mary-the-Virgin was consecrated September 3, 1902 and St. Paul-the-apostle, the following day. The new St. Mary's being a classical wood gothic design at its beautiful location, overlooking Cape Breton and Cape George, was a fine large building for the community
The story of the Bayfield community is one of faithful determination through these years. This building stands as a fine example of the faith and devotion of the community which by this time had become the main Anglican presence in the country. In fact, St. Mary’s become the parish church in 1856 when the new rectory was built in Little River following the sale of the first rectory in Antigonish. St. Mary-the-Virgin, Bayfield remained the parish church from 1856 to 1966 when the rectory was again moved to the town of Antigonish and the Church of Saint Paul-the-Apostle became the parish church for Antigonish County. (information gathered from writings by Fr. John Hodgins)
Today, the church continues to serve the community in a variety of ways, including hosting concerts, Music Royale, dinners, and craft sales. It continues to be one of the few fully active churches within the community, worshiping each Sunday and representing the ongoing Anglican presence in Bayfield.
We partner with the Bayfield Community Centre in offering community meals five times a year. We also coordinate the annual Ecumenical Blessing of the Fleet Service on the first Sunday of May.