Halifax: The Unexplained Silhouette

Posted by on Feb 27, 2014 in Canada, Destinations, Featured, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Travel Photo Thursday | 33 comments

Halifax: The Unexplained Silhouette…

Welcome to another week of Travel Photo Thursday (our 166th). This week I’m taking a break from Chiang Mai and Thailand, and heading home to Halifax. I want to show you Halifax’s oldest building and the oldest Protestant church in Canada.

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That would be Saint Paul’s Anglican Church, opening its doors on September 2, 1750. Many of the church’s parishioners are credited with being instrumental in the founding of Halifax, the province, and even Canada. St. Paul’s is often referred to as the “Westminister Abbey of Canada” because of its many stained glass windows, and memorials. One memorial tablet records the church as having the first Sunday school in Canada; 1783.

Located in Halifax, Nova Scotia, St. Paul's is the oldest Protestant church in Canada.

Located in Halifax, Nova Scotia, St. Paul’s is the oldest Protestant church in Canada.


I can’t remember why, but the church wasn’t open on the day I took these photos. I don’t have any shots of the inside, but this shot of the 1917 Halifax Explosion Window is shrouded in mystery and intrigue.

1917 Halifax Explosion Window at Halifax's St. Paul's Church.

1917 Halifax Explosion Window at Halifax’s St. Paul’s Church.

Halifax is not without its share of ghost stories, and there is one attached to this window with its shadowy silhouetted head that appeared in a third floor window of the church on the day of the Halifax Explosion in 1917. Who did the head belong to? Well, there is no clear answer. Some believe that an organist was practising at the time of the explosion, which severed his head and ultimately blasting it through the window. Another popular story is that it is the head of Reverend Jean-Baptiste Moreau. Moreau was a church assistant at St. Paul’s between 1750 and 1753. A third theory is that it’s the head of one of the unlucky sailors, who were serving on one of the two colliding ships that caused the horrific explosion. Only one thing is for certain, we will never know.

Even stranger than who’s severed head may have crashed through the window is the fact that each time the window has been replaced the silhouette has reappeared. How bizarre is that?

Travelers Tip

Admission to the church is always free.

Open year round…
Church: 9am-4.30pm Monday – Friday
Summer Guided Tours:
9am-5pm Monday-Friday
9am- 4.30 Saturday (July and August).

The church also boasts an impressive archive, so if you’re a history buff wanting to do some research you can make an appointment.

By appointment only.
Contact the church office, or through the church’s website… “Contact”


Location map for St. Paul's Church, Halifax, Nova Scotia

Location map for St. Paul’s Church, Halifax, Nova Scotia


This is the 166th edition of Travel Photo Thursday. You can browse the archives here.


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  1. We were in that church last August when we were in Halifax. Cool ghost story.

    • Hi Jackie! Nice to hear that you’ve been to my city 🙂

  2. That’s my kind of ghost – a nice still photographable shadow in a window!

    • Hi Cindy…haha You sound sceptical? 🙂

      • No, I just prefer ghosts to stay where I can keep an eye on them, so there are no surprises. I don’t want to have one sneak up on me!

  3. Ohh, I love ghost stories! I don’t know which one I’d choose as true, but I do like that fact that you can take a great photo of the ghost and then I’d embellish (greatly probably) about who or what it could be 🙂

    • Hi Johanna…Lots of ghostly choices here! 🙂

  4. That is creepy but also so interesting. What a beautiful church. I\’m not sure which ghostly story I like more. I\’d like to think it\’s the organist leaving his imprint on the church 🙂 Do they do ghost tours of this building?

    • It is a beautiful church, and I vote for the organist, too. I believe that there a tour of haunted Halifax landmarks and this is probably included.

  5. That is creepy but also so interesting. What a beautiful church. I’m not sure which ghostly story I like more. Do they do ghost tours of this building?

  6. That is totally freaky! Halifax has so much interesting history and it looks quite beautiful (from your other posts). I do hope we get there one day. If we do I know where to come for information!

    • Hi Jan! Halifax is a beautiful city, and being a fairly old city, it has a lot of history. Yes, if you ever decide to visit you know who to contact 🙂

  7. I had never heard that story but your photo sure leaves me wondering about ghosts. Too bad you couldn’t get inside.
    It’s a beautiful church – ghosts or no ghosts.

    • Hi Leigh,

      I’m not sure why the church was closed the day I went by. I know I’ve been inside before, but never with my camera. Next time I’m in Halifax I will try again.

  8. That’s a very good ghost story! And a good photo to illustrate it (^_^)

    • Thanks! There are lots of ghost stories connected to Halifax, and Nova Scotia.

  9. Hello there, thanks for taking me to Canada today! I am so sorry for managing to put up 3 links… can you remove two??

    • Hi Seana, That’s okay, I deleted the dupes. Glad you enjoyed our virtual trip to haunted Halifax 🙂

  10. Love hearing ghost stories. Persistent, aren’t they?

    • Hi Marcia,

      I don’t think ghosts ever give up, unless of course there is an exorcism! 🙂

  11. so much history in one small church 🙂

    – Maria Alexandra

    • Hi Maria! You’d have a lot of history, too, if you were as old as St. Paul’s! 🙂

  12. Severed heads? That silhouette is so freaky. If I went to church there, I’d spend all my time thinking of ghosts (and not the Holy kind).

    • Hi Michele! I agree, it is a little freaky. I grew up with the story and often walking by that window, so it doesn’t bother me a bit! 🙂

  13. That’s a really good ghost story. I think it was the organist.

    • Hi Bob! I’m with you, definitely the organist!

  14. What a fascinating story! The building is gorgeous and well cared for.

    • Hi Bettyl. It’s a registered historical site, so we look after it well! 🙂

  15. Okay, that is just a little bit creepy. I’m not sure I’d have dared to venture inside the church if it had been open sounds like it has quite a story.

    • Hi Tonya! I think things are pretty quiet there these days, but tourists find the history fascinating (and so do I)!

  16. I love a good ghost story. Or at least the ghost tours when traveling. i don’t think I actually want to meet a ghost however! Interesting post. How recent was this? I noticed there is no snow! Feeling buried at the moment in D.C.

    • Hi Anwar! Thanks for stopping by. That shot was taken last summer (2013) when I was home visiting family. If you like ghost stories head to Nova Scotia. We have lots of them!


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