Westminster Abbey, Mission BC / by Craig Roberts

Every now and then I'm still surprised that after 25 years of living in the lower mainland I continue to find hidden gems to explore. A few years ago, during an outing to explore some of the local waterfalls, we drove past the drive leading to Westminster Abbey, and this past weekend I finally managed to get back out to explore it with a local meetup group.

Originally established in 1939 in Ladner by five Benedictine monks sent from the Abbey of Mount Angel, Oregon, it relocated first to Burnaby then to this location overlooking the Mission valley in 1954. The pastoral grounds offer expansive views up the Fraser River below, and a variety of architectural subjects both inside and outside the abbey itself.

Inside the abbey church are a number of wonderful reliefs and a fantastic collection stained glass windows - while I'm not an architectural shooter per se I have the upmost appreciation for the interior's characteristic curves and lines, providing a great foundation for me to explore that creative aspect.

Although we were visiting between prayers, I did notice one monk sitting in the pews, perhaps preparing for the next session or just in tranquil thought - I did not wish to intrude upon him in this sacred space but I did want to give my images some human context, so I chose this shot which maintains his anonymity.

I know I will now need to plan a return visit later in the spring to further experience the foliage and gardens located throughout the area.