The first Anglican service in what was to become the present-day Parish of St. Paul’s was held in 1889 in a mission room located on Seymour Street. Meanwhile, two lots were purchased from the Canadian Pacific Railway on Hornby Street where the Marriott Hotel now stands. A church was built and the first Eucharist in the parish was celebrated there on March 24, 1889. The parish included the downtown peninsula south of Nelson Street, and Fairview on the south side of False Creek. This proved unsatisfactory to parishioners living in Fairview and in 1898, they separated to form the Parish of Holy Trinity, which meant that the church was no longer at the geographical centre of the parish. At the same time, the West End was being developed as a residential district, while Yaletown was given over principally to industry. In 1898 the parish church was placed on skids and winched up Davie Street, then only a clearing in the bush. The building was placed on Jervis Street at the corner of Pendrell Street. The new location was presumably more convenient, but the 250 square-metre church was too small for the expanding membership. So in 1903, the building was moved again, this time to the adjoining lot on Jervis Street, leaving the original lot for a new building. (It was also re-aligned through 90 degrees.)
To build a new, permanent church, St Paul’s Church Building Company Ltd. was founded with a capital of $50,000. The architect William Archer proposed either a frame-and-stone building seating 420 worshippers at a price of $8,000 or a stone building seating some 550 worshippers at a price of $18,000. The former proposal was adopted. The style of the resulting church is classic Gothic with many beautiful stained glass windows, dark wood beams, and wainscoting. Archer’s plan included a tower with a tall spire at the north-west corner, but lack of funds prevented its construction.
Building commenced in 1904. In 1905, the cornerstone of the existing church was laid by the Bishop of New Westminster at that time, and the church was finished ready for use that same year. Now, fourteen years into its independent life, the parish was fully ready to play its role in the life of the West End. he new and old churches stood alongside each other. The old church was used as a church hall. Nothing of it now remains except the Bagnall Window, which was taken from the old church and set in the west wall of the new church. In 1976, the City of Vancouver designated the new church a heritage building. As such, it cannot be torn down and the integrity of its design cannot be altered.