Historic exterior view of St. Edmund's Church and Rectory, North Vancouver Museum and Archives, #6608
The oldest Catholic church on the North Shore, St. Edmund's was named after a medieval archbishop of Canterbury, a man who was canonized only seven years after his death in 1240. His name was chosen for the church and school due to his reputation as both a scholar and a man of great faith. St. Edmund's Church is valued as a part of the Ottawa Gardens subdivision, designed to attract affluent and prominent families to the North Shore of Burrard Inlet. Planning and development was initiated in 1906 by the North Vancouver Land and Improvement Company. Prestige was guaranteed through minimum construction cost standards and restrictions on buildings and landscaping. Ottawa Gardens is now part of a rectilinear system of boulevards and parks known as North Vancouver's "Green Necklace," which also includes Grand Boulevard, Victoria Park and Mahon Park. This church, constructed at the east end of Ottawa Gardens, punctuates the vista looking west along the central boulevard.
St. Edmund's Church is valued as a testament to the long history of the Roman Catholic congregation in North Vancouver, and for its connection with the first Catholics – the missionary priests of the Oblates of Mary Immaculate (O.M.I.) – to arrive in western Canada. The O.M.I. was instrumental in bringing Roman Catholicism to western Canada and the Canadian north. O.M.I. missionary priests frequently built churches and colleges and gave them over to secular clergy. St. Edmund's was established in 1910 by Father J. A. Bedard, and has operated continuously ever since. A Catholic School was erected to the south in 1911, expanding the teaching function of the Order, and a large rectory was built adjacent to the church in 1913. All three of these structures are exist on the site today.