The Candy Church – Petite-Rivière-de-l'Ile, New Brunswick - Atlas Obscura

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The Candy Church

Petite-Rivière-de-l'Ile, New Brunswick

Inside the simple black-and-white exterior of Église Sainte-Cécile hides a pastel wonderland. 


When this colorful church was constructed in 1913, it was distinctly more traditional. It was based on traditional Romanesque architecture, and its trim, constructed from wood from Columbia, was painted white. The rest of its features, the pillars, columns, pews, and altar were all painted in trompe l’oeil, a then-popular technique of painting an imitation wood.

As the decades passed, the finishes darkened into a dark and dreary brown palette. Reverend Gerard d’Astous decided that it would be easier to repaint the church than it would be to clean it. The year was 1968, a time when perhaps giving free rein to one’s imagination was rather in vogue.

Painting of the church began on Remembrance Day that year, and continued through the spring of 1969, when this magnificent piece of brightly colored folk art was completed. Musical notes and bells on the ceiling remind visitors that the church is dedicated to Saint Cecile, the patron saint of musicians.

Know Before You Go

From Miscou Island cross the bridge south to Lemecque and take a right on route 313. Past a few curves you’ll find the church on the left. From the outside, it’s rather unassuming (a plain white with black trim) so you’ll want to keep your eyes open.

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