About St. Helen's School:
History & Future
In the first years of the twentieth century, the hill overlooking the city of Vancouver was barely developed. This area, known as Vancouver Heights, commands a magnificent view if the city, the North Shore Mountains and the sea.
During the first decade there was just a handful of people willing to brave the inconvenience of living in a remote area to dwell in such splendor. Among them were ten Catholic families. They dreamt about establishing a Catholic community, a church and perhaps even a school of their own. They knew it would take hard work and sacrifice to realize their dream.
In 1912 the Second Narrow's Bridge and several industrial plants were built in this area. Archbishop Neil McNeil, recognizing the potential for greater development, requested aid from Toronto's Catholic Extension Society, to help purchase property at the corner of Pandora and Ingleton to build a church. The $6,000.00 construction expense was donated by Mr. Justice Kelly, who requested that the Church be called St. Helen in memory of his daughter Helen. On August 11, 1912, Saint Helen's Church was blessed.
Twelve years later in 1924, a second dream was realized with the construction of Saint Helen's School. The Sisters of Charity of Saint Vincent de Paul would staff the school for over fifty years, dedicating their lives to the education of thousands of children.
In 1936 began an era of unprecedented growth under the leadership of Msgr. Daniel Carey. In 1948, despite post-war hardships, he was able to inspire his community to build a new school. He then turned his attention to the over-crowded church and on December 16, 1956, to the delight of the parishioners, the new Saint Helen's Church was blessed.
By 1973, the ethnic makeup of Saint Helen's Parish had experienced a dramatic change. From the Anglo-Irish parishioners of the early years, Saint Helen's was experiencing a huge increase in parishioners of Italian decent. Archbishop James Carney, realizing the need to better serve these immigrants, asked the Missionaries of Saint Charles to administer the parish.
The second era of physical growth and development in the parish would come under the direction of these missionary priests. The seventies, with Father Joseph Ponti as Pastor, would see the construction of a new rectory, a hall/gymnasium, and a fully renovated school.
Father Joe's dream was the construction of a church and with this in mind, he began to purchase the necessary land. Succeeding Pastors, Father Angelo Calandra and Father Peter Sordi continued to work towards this dream, accumulating land and initiating the process. Father Claudio Holzer, upon assuming the responsibilities of Pastor took firm hold of the church plans of his predecessors and shaped them into the reality of the new Saint Helen's Church.
The new Saint Helen's Church was blessed on December 22, 1997 by Archbishop Adam Exner, O.M.I. just in time for the parishioners to enjoy their first Christmas in this magnificent tribute to God. In the school year 2014/15, Saint Helen's Parish marked another landmark in its history as the elementary school celebrates its 90th Anniversary.
Continuing the dream and tradition in September 2012 the construction of the schools new West Wing was completed. It included 4 state of the art classrooms, 2 LAC rooms and a conference room. After years of hard work by parents, members of the parish and numerous fundraising committees it was blessed by Archbishop Michael Miller.
The St. Helen's community continues to excel and look forward to a bright and faithful future.
New School Plans
Details coming soon!