The historic St. Olaf's Church in Quatsino

The historic St. Olaf's Church in Quatsino

Historic church gets roof

The oldest building on North Vancouver Island just got a new lease on what residents hope are many more years of life.

QUATSINO—The oldest building on North Vancouver Island just got a new lease on what residents hope are many more years of life.

Community members this month completed replacement of the roof of St. Olaf’s Church, built in 1896 in Quatsino. While the modern metal covering may appear incongruous on the century-old, woodland chapel design of the building, it will help ensure the church’s viability into the future.

“We were proud to invest our time and financial support in order to keep our historic St. Olaf’s Church standing strong for many years to come,” said Gwen Hansen of the Quatsino Archives Association.

“We only just finished it. The project has been ongoing for a couple of months, and it really came together during that last stretch of nice weather we had.”

In February, the Quatsino Archives Association and the St. Olaf’s Church Restoration group agreed to split the cost or replacing the old split cedar shake roof.

Local volunteers Donnie Botel, Marko Panich and Alastair Hjeltholt, with help from Brian Burkholder and Tom Maxie of the Coastal Messenger mission boat, led the first step of removing the old cedar shakes.

Andrew Hansen then stepped in and performed needed repairs on the structure of the roof.

Finally, Clint Ewen and his crew from Steelhead Enterprises of Port McNeill provided the material and labour to install the new roof.

The metal roof covers the main structure of the building, which was originally used as the first schoolhouse in the community settled by Norwegian homesteaders. Cedar shakes still cover the front porch and vestibule of the church.