All Soul's Chapel is the keeper of beautiful historic art

Chapel will be celebrated during Heritage Week

Dave Stewart
Published on February 13, 2016

Mike Smitherman and Peggy Williams will be giving short presentations daily during Heritage Week in Charlottetown at 2 p.m. from Feb. 15-19 at All Souls' Chapel. The chapel, built in 1888, is attached to St. Peter's Cathedral on Rochford Square.

©Guardian photo by Brian McInnis

A tiny chapel in Charlottetown is an intimate place for people to worship and a museum for some of the city's most historic art.

Peggy Williams and Michael Smitherman, long-time parishioners at St. Peter's Cathedral, will be telling the story of All Souls' Chapel during Heritage Week in Charlottetown, Feb. 15-19.

Nestled next to the main Anglican church on Rochford Square, the chapel was built in 1888 as a memorial to Father George Hodgson, the first priest-incumbent of St. Peter's Cathedral, to a design by the noted ecclesiastical architect William Critchlow Harris.

Williams and Smitherman will deliver short presentations each day at 2 p.m. on the high Victorian gothic architectural style demonstrated in the chapel followed by a question-and-answer session. There will also be information displays on the Harris brothers while visitors will be given a packet of information to take with them.

"I'm not an expert in history but I do know a little bit about it and about architecture,'' Smitherman said. "This is a wonderful place of spirituality; to come and sit and contemplate. It's a very intimate chapel and it's perfect for worship.''

The chapel is open to the public daily.

Smitherman says it is a living history inside its walls. Services are still held in the chapel, 17 each week to be exact.

"It is a connection to the past in that the Harris family has always been closely connected with this church. There are descendants of the family that still belong to the church.''

Williams said she's been drawn to the little chapel since she first walked through the door in 1961.

"It's the ambience of the place. I'm always drawn back. It's so comforting and just so special,'' Williams says.

The chapel's walls feature paintings by his brother, Robert Harris. There are also three roundels by the painter set in the front of the altar.

All Souls' Chapel was designated a National Historic Site of Canada in 1990. An exterior plaque in recognition of the designation was dedicated at a special ceremony in July 1994. The chapel had already been designated a heritage resource by the City of Charlottetown in 1979.

Williams calls the chapel one of the best kept secrets in Charlottetown because so many people don't even know it exists.

"That's very sad.''

Williams and Smitherman hope to change that.