Fourth Annual Carberry Heritage Festival
Friday & Saturday August 12 & 13, 2016
List of locations of Manitoba Churches
St. Francois Xavier
Shoal Lake x 2
Carberry x 2
Baldur x 2
Souris x 2
Christ Anglican Church, 505 Curwen Street, Cartwright, MB
Compact and solid, Cartwright’s old stone church sits at a prominent intersection in the little southern Manitoba community. A readily available building material for prairie pioneers, fieldstones in a variety of colours were expertly mortared on this simple English Gothic church. It was built in 1897-98 by stonemason Samuel Hossack and his sons.
The narrow pointed arch windows with a bit of tracery account for most of the place’s decoration. Windows are surmounted with fieldstone arches. Notice the slight arch over the entrance made visible by the slight rise in the mortar and stone. The large window in the apse has lovely stained glass, which were added in 1927.
A fire in 1910 gutted the interior but the body remained intact, resisting the flames. After the fire a stone vestibule was added but it has been removed.
One of the oldest stone churches in Manitoba, it was recognized as a municipal heritage site in 2003. Thereafter the community worked for several years restoring the pretty little church to a stable and useful condition. Huzzah to the restoration committee and the people of Cartwright and area for their excellent work.
St. Andrew’s United Church, 338 Hamilton Street, Manitou, MB
This precious expression of Victorian faith in the little town of Manitou sprung from a plan by Winnipeg architect and contractor James McDiarmid, one of many churches he designed in Manitoba.
Originally built for Presbyterians in 1901, the brick church is set on a tall fieldstone foundation with a limestone belt course encircling the building where they join.
Every elevation is awash in arches, notably the tall triple windows on the two exposed facades with their arched tracery. Above the windows, the gable’s bargeboard has a large fluid arch with a small pendant and a smaller vent arch below on the church wall. The bull’s-eye window above the front entrance features lovely stained glass.
The stand-out on the church is the unusual corner tower with its steep tiered roof apexed with a filigree cross. McDiarmid used a wealth of materials on his building and the tower contains examples of them all: from the bottom – fieldstones, limestone, brick, glass, wood and iron.
Colour contrasts add to the overall effect of St. Andrew’s. The pale fieldstones next to the buff brick topped with rufous fish-scale shingles move the eye upward. The black and white trim heightens the effect.
The interior of the church expresses an Akron-style plan, meaning the central auditorium of the church is surrounded by small rooms for Sunday school, a method meant to encourage inefficiency.
For an all-angles view of St. Andrew’s, watch my 1:49 video.
Holy Eucharist Ukrainian Catholic Church, Rosa, MB
Modestly similar in profile to the Hutsul style of churches found in western Ukraine, the little church in Rosa strays from the traditional with its long nave, facade towers and vestibule. Set among trees and the graves of past parishioners, a two-tiered, double-belled belfry standing nearby, the church conforms to the cruciform floor plan with a small dome over the crossing. Corner towers and the peak of the gable sport small cupolas apexed with metal crosses.
Of wood frame construction on a cement foundation, its original imitation brown brick cladding was replaced with white siding in 1982. Many Catholic churches were covered in unattractive fake brown brick as protection against the prairie winters. Removing the fake dark covering and replacing it with white siding changes the whole aura of the church, its light finally able to escape the asphalt siding.
Ukrainians arrived in the Rosa area of southern Manitoba after 1900. Holy Eucharist Parish was founded in 1924 and construction of this church began. The head carpenter was Petro Skrynski assisted by parish volunteers. Total building cost of the church was $2400.
The iconography and wall treatments inside Holy Eucharist were done by Winnipeg painter Hnat Sych between 1926 and 1934. Though modest in size, its eighteen wooden pews can accommodate 100 people.
Watch my 1:49 video for a view of Holy Eucharist from all angles.
Ste. Anne Roman Catholic Church, 162 Central Avenue, Ste Anne, MB
Imposing and ambitious, Ste. Anne Roman Catholic Church is the focal point of little Ste. Anne, its presence a venerable landmark along Dawson Road, one of the first surveyed trails into the West. Four years under construction – 1895-98 – this massive complex resulted from a design by Joseph-Azarie Senecal, much favoured architect and builder of prairie Roman Catholic churches of the time. Symbolizing the cross, Senecal’s floor plan is cruciform.
Drawing from Romanesque Revival – style architecture, the church is loaded with elaborate detail executed with high-quality craftsmanship. The brickwork alone is enthralling. The entire building is encircled with corbelling under the cornice that seems to drip off the walls. Belt courses of raised brick entwine the place and the rounded openings are topped with segmented sprays and labels.
The facade with its striking entry tower apexed with a complex and beautiful steeple effortlessly creates a wondrous sensation of ascension. The double wooden doors and elaborate fanlight above begin your heaven-bound ascent. The large window above the door, smaller in size but the same design, draws your attention upward to dual windows bracketing a statued alcove. The roofline accentuated by corner towers with their ornate pinnacles, brick corbelling along the cornice and balustrades leading to the central tower add a rush of upward energy culminating with the double-belled steeple. The metal-clad multi-tiered steeple has a pleasant rhythmic feeling that adds to the smooth bliss of ascension.
One reason why the ascension works so well on Ste. Anne’s is because Senecal was familiar with the Golden Section, the old way of using ratios and relationships in building design. This ancient way of seeing explains why some buildings evoke a magical, uplifting feeling and other don’t. Using the Golden Section creates an accord between our bodies and our enclosed spaces. Jonathan Hale wrote an enlightening book called The Old Way of Seeing. I recommend it highly to anyone interested in architecture. Ste Anne Roman Catholic Church’s comfortable presence springs from Senecal’s use of the Golden Section.
Senecal’s other design work in Manitoba, much of it convents and hospitals, includes churches in St. Leon (1895), Gretna (1897) and Holy Ghost Church, Winnipeg (1899) and St. Francois Xavier (1900). He was the contractor, not the designer, on Saint Boniface Cathedral (1906).
Renown artist Leo Mol (Molodozhanyn) painted the images in on nave and sanctuary interior of Ste. Anne’s. Unfortunately I wasn’t able to get pictures of the church’s interior. It’s on my list for next summer.
Pre-Confederation, this parish was established in 1859 to serve Metis and French settlers, some of whom inhabit the cemetery around the church.
For a 360 degree view of Ste. Anne Roman Catholic Church’s exterior watch my 2:52 video.
Emerson Baptist Church, Third Street, Emerson, MB
Using concrete as a building material dates back to 200 BC when Romans used it to bind stones together. At one stage in the evolution of concrete blocks, between about 1900 and 1920, molded blocks were cast right at building sites to the specifications and quantity deemed by the designer. This type of production allowed for a wide variety of sizes and textures for the face of the block, the other sides smooth and easy to install. Often itinerant crews went from village to village offering their services, sometimes contractors owned or hired block making companies of which there were dozens all over the province. Schools, houses, commercial buildings and the occasional church were constructed of molded concrete blocks. Emerson Baptist is an excellent and rare example.
Winnipeg architect Hugh McCowan drew up the plan for the church.
Among McCowan’s other designs are the Kay’s Building on McDermot and the Stovel Building on Princess in Winnipeg as well as several schools in rural Manitoba. The contractor who built Emerson Baptist was well-known in the area. David Wright, one-time mayor of Emerson, constructed the church in 1905 from concrete blocks made on site.
Several sizes of blocks compose the church. Mainly elongated blocks
with rough surfaces to simulate actual stone were used in the body of the walls. Smooth long and short blocks accentuate the corners, all openings and string courses. The contrast between the textured and smooth blocks is pleasant and settling.
The front facade has three increasing heights that begins the sensation of ascension. The pyramidal caps on the elevated corners, the elegant gable along the cornice above the triple narrow windows and the corner entrance tower with its steep roof topped, as are all roof peaks, with an elaborate pinnacle complete the ascent. It’s a beautiful choreography of your attention that flows naturally all the way to heaven.
About the roof, I am generally not much of a fan of metal roofs. This is purely aesthetic and rather moody on my part but I do get their value: long lasting, durable, low maintenance and effective – they keep the rain off the hymn books. In the case of Emerson Baptist, the green metal roof deters little from the overall building. Though appealing, the church’s roofline is not its main feature.
The windows and main entrance are peaked in the Gothic Revival style, each peak blunted by a keystone. The smooth surfaces used around the windows and front entrance have an interesting relationship with the quoins on the corners, a major feature of the detailing. Glass panes are multi-hued. In this picture you can see the ivied wall and the carved pinnacles atop the three roof peaks.
Emerson Baptist is one of the heritage sites where I shot a copious amount of pictures. Watch my 2:01 video to see it from its many wonderful angles.
Sts. Peter and Paul Ukrainian Orthodox Church, PR 201, Sundown, MB
Settled comfortably into its pleasing and tranquil church yard, Sts. Peter and Paul Ukrainian Orthodox Church has served Sundown area parishioners since it was constructed in 1940. Based on similar churches in western Ukraine, Sts. Peter and Paul is attractive with its large squat central dome, dual banya towers and the cruciform plan. The large dome opens into the nave of the church. Atop each of the trio of metal-clad domes, symbolizing the Holy Trinity, is a three-bar metal cross. The peak of the roof adds a fourth cross. The straight-on view of the facade is an irresistible path to ascension.
A free-standing bell tower featuring a cupola and louvered openings completes the ecclesiastical compound.
The church’s interior, of which I was not able to get pictures, is richly ornate, featuring original iconostas, iconography and wall surfaces by John Pushka. Pushka, who came from Angusville, MB, painted other church interiors in Manitoba including the Ukrainian Greek Orthodox Church of the Ascension in Angusville, Lakedale Holy Ghost Ukrainian Catholic Church in Silver Creek, and St. Nicholas Ukrainian Greek Orthodox Church in Gonor.
I shot lots of pictures of this church and used them to create a 2:14 video showing Sts. Peter and Paul from all angles. Enjoy.
St. Hyacinthe Catholic Parish Church. La Salle, MB
Towering above all else, including the cottonwood trees in the little French community of La Salle, MB, south of Winnipeg, stands St.Hyacinthe Catholic Parish Church. Representing the strong faith of the local population for over 100 years, this masterfully achieved edifice of buff brick possesses an inspiring plethora of design details on every facade.
The form of the large church is transept – shape of the cross – with anelaborate front facade that evokes order and ascension climbing to a slim bell tower surmounted by a shimmery steeple.
Let’s take a close look at the front facade. The most striking feature is its comfortable symmetry, not a line out of place, not a wasted brick, just upward sweeping motion.
The brickwork is marvellous. There are three arcades (rows of arches), each with five arches, formed by the brick design, two are sloping downward under the roof eaves and the centre spans the front of the entrance pavilion just below its cornice. The smooth corbelling (layering of bricks) that forms the arcades is superb, creating interesting shadow and light combinations.
As with the arcades, all openings in the building are arched. The front entry, the window above with its trio of slender windows under a circular focus and the openings in the bell tower are all arched. All openings have a limestone keystone at the apex. The keystones on the front have small tablatures.
On the ends of the transepts there is another series of corbelled arcades, thirteen arches under the eaves and above large round windows with spoke tracery. All around the place under the eaves is a sweet bit of corbelling that adds to the ornate sensibility of the church.
In true heritage geek parlance, the bell tower/steeple is a honey! Eight arched openings, each keystoned with a scroll and separated by square columns and capitals, create the still-inhabited bell tower. Above the bell tower a short eight-sided dome supports the steeply pitched octagonal steeple that ends with a round pinnacle and a metal cross spire.
La Salle, MB is located south of Winnipeg on Provincial Road 247 a few kms west of Hwy #75.
St. Elias Ukrainian Orthodox Churches, Sirko, MB
A one-of-a-kind example of two Ukrainian churches in the same churchyard – one original, the other succeeding – can be discovered in Sirko in extreme southeastern Manitoba, about a mile from the Minnesota border.
The original St. Elias Ukrainian Orthodox Church, of log construction, was built in a vernacular style in 1908 under the direction of Dmytro Waskul. Its small rounded rectangular plan accommodates the vestibule at one end and sanctuary at the other. Its delightfully painted interior can hold about 30 standing adults.
The unusual roofline with deep overhanging eaves supported by large V-brackets and trisected at the ends to produce a curved space is fully engaging. The three crosses along the peak of the roof leave no doubt as to the function of the little place.
Next to the old church is a log bell tower of traditional Ukrainian design and construction.
Modest, holy and surrounded by the graves of former parishioners, many with tall white crosses denoting their Orthodox faith, the old church shares its sanctity with its replacement.
Indicating the success of the second generation of Ukrainians, they replaced their humble utilitarian building in 1950 with a grander expression of their faith.
Larger and more substantial, the style is familiar: cruciform with three small banjas or onion domes, one surmounting a larger central dome and arched Romanesque openings all around.
A new bell tower was constructed along with the church. In this picture you can see both churches and both bell towers. The new St. Elias, a focal point of the local farming community, is still used regularly.
Blue on blue, white on white, the church and sky harmonize on a hot Manitoba afternoon.
Watch my 3:08 video of both churches from many angles.
Sirko is located about five miles south of MB Hwy #201 on Mile Rd 54E just east of Sundown.
St. Michael’s Ukrainian Greek Orthodox Church, Gardenton area
A plaque at St. Michael’s succinctly tells its story:
Constructed in 1899, this church is a fine early example of Ukrainian ecclesiastical architecture in Canada. Its distinctive massing, plan and bulbous cupolas reflect the Byzantine-influenced architectural heritage of the homeland of the settlers in the region. The traditional free-standing bell tower was built in 1906 and, like the church, is distinguished by the high quality of its wooden craftsmanship. Built by the first generation of Ukrainians to arrive in Canada, St. Michael’s served as an affirmation of their cultural identity and remains today as Canada’s oldest existing Ukrainian church.
The first permanent Ukrainian Orthodox church erected in Canada sits quietly next to PR 209 about 3 kms west of Gardentonin southern Manitoba. Since its consecration on October 14, 1899, the little church has served the local Ukrainian community. In 1922 the parish joined the Greek Orthodox Church of Canada; previously it has been served by a Russian Orthodox mission.
Constructed by immigrants who came to the Gardenton area after 1896 from northern Bukovyna, now western Ukraine, St. Michael’s is a fine example of Bukovynian pioneer architecture inside and out. Measuring 22 feet by 48 feet, the church walls were constructed of horizontal logs, lumbered during the winter of 1898-1899. Wooden shingles covered the low pitched roof which became badly warped from exposure to heavy winter snows and was completely replaced in 1915 with a central dome 33 feet high from floor to ceiling and small cupolas at either end. A hundred feet from the church stands the square frame belltower.
The graves of many early Ukrainian pioneers crowd around the back of the church; the earliest grave is from 1898. The distinctive white Orthodox crosses were made in cement moulds.
According to John Panchuk, attorney and Ukrainian community leader from the Gardenton area, “Inside the historic church one may see unique religious artifacts, such as wooden crosses, candelabras and altar decorations built by local craftsmen and a collection of rare lithographs from Kiev, Odessa, St. Petersburg and Moscow.”
Watch my 2:39 video of St. Michael’s, showing it from many angles.
Make it a day trip! Other nearby sites of interest include Holy Eucharist Ukrainian Catholic Church located in Rosa on Hwy #59, Holy Trinity Ukrainian Catholic Church east of Stuartburn on PR 201 and a hike through one of the tall grass prairie reserves just east of Tolstoi on PR 209. Watch for poison ivy. Be sure to check your body for wood ticks. Ticks are having a banner year!
All Saints Victoria Anglican Church, Stonewall area
One of the many distinguishing features of this little wooden church is that it was among the first Anglican churches in Manitoba built away from the river-oriented Red River Settlement. Constructed in 1877, the church is also a rare remaining example of dovetail log construction, a technique that replaced the earlier Red River frame method. Limited resources of the time yielded a humble and unpretentious place of worship with a modest bell- cote.
Typical of Anglican churches of the time, All Saints Victoria Anglican has a symmetrical rectangular shape with gable ends and a matching gabled porch, a simple bell-cote with a shingled pyramidal roof and sensible, reserved Gothic Revival details.
The trios of pointed side windows, divided by wooden tracery creating further points, and their red and blue top lights are central and simple characteristics of Gothic Revival. I especially like this picture of the matching headstone and pointed arch windows.
On a well-treed lot and surrounded on three sides by graves of many of the area pioneers dating back to the first settlements, the little church is located about 7 kms north of where the divided Hwy #7 highway ends and half a kilometre west of the highway. Coming in from the south, there is a road sign denoting the site’s heritage value and directing you to it. No such sign exists coming in from the north.
Sts. Peter and Paul Ukrainian Greek Orthodox Church, Kosiw, MB
Located in the Kosiw district south-southwest of Dauphin, MB, near the northern boundary of Riding Mountain National Park, the Ukrainian Greek Orthodox Church of Sts. Peter and Paul is a fine interpretation of a type of traditional church architecture found in Western Ukraine. Overlooking pastoral rolling farmland, the cruciform wooden church with its five, eight-sided, metal-covered banyas (onion domes), including the large two-tiered central dome that opens into the church below, has served area pioneers and their descendents since 1921. The figure of the arched sash windows is doubly replicated in the attractive entrance to the place. On the same sheltered grounds is a well constructed wooden belltower, typically separate from the church proper, housing two bells. Watch my one-minute video of the church.
Union Point United Church, Hwy #75
Two lanes of Hwy #75 flow northward and two lanes flow southward and between them is this pretty little Gothic wooden church, the last remnant of a ghost town. Situated a few kilometers south of Ste. Agathe, MB in the Rural Municipality of Morris, Union Point United Church is a dramatic, albeit final, vestige of a pioneer settlement called Union Point. A few dozen headstones near the church also memorialize the community; the oldest stones read 1879.
According to Manitoba wood carver Warren Breyfogle, who was born on his grandparent’s farm at Union Point, the community was so named because it was the stopping place for both the paddle boats that plied the nearby Red River and for the stage coaches that traveled north and south along the river between Winnipeg and the U. S.
The first Union Point Church, originally serving a Presbyterian congregation, was built here in 1887. Destroyed by fire in 1939, the present building replaced it in 1940.
Simple Gothic details abound on this little church: the rectangular shape, the pointed windows all around and complementary tracery, similar pointed openings in the off-centre steeple with its steeply pitched roof and wooden pinnacle pointing heavenward, off-centre entrance with pointed arch over the doorway and the octaflor stained glass window above the trio of lancet windows. Classic materials were used to build the church: clapboard siding and plain wood trim, all painted white, exposed rafter tails and buff brick chimney. Watch my 2:07 video showing Union Point United from many angles.
Once St. Luke’s Anglican Church, now The Plum, Souris, MB
The plum in your Christmas pudding! The Souris area was barely settled when the former St. Luke’s Anglican Church was constructed in 1883. As the community grew, two additions were built. There is an enormous amount of Gothic detail in this tiny building: the jerkinhead gable end, double and staggered triple lancet windows and doorway. The L-shape is typical as is the fieldstone foundation. The additions were demolished in 1989. The Souris and District Heritage Club acquired the original 1883 section and relocated it to its present site. It sits perched halfway down the Souris valley and, in plum and chocolate colours, is unmistakable, almost edible. The Plum is now a museum where guides in period costumes offer lively story-tours. There is a tearoom with a terrace overlooking Victoria Park Bird Sanctuary. Watch a very short video clip of this building that I shot this summer.
Emmanuel Anglican Church, Holland, MB
This ambitious church is credited to architect Andrew Maxwell and constructed in 1893/94. An extremely pretty and well-maintained Gothic church, it has many enticing details. The tower doorway has a classic Gothic arch, triply repeated to great effect on the left side facing the street. This arch begins the ascension. The tower is fraught with corner brackets, decorative scrolling and contrasting black and white trim. The slim steeple with narrow gabled openings accelerates the ascent to the ornate finial and beyond.
CypressRiver United Church, Cypress River, MB
This massive red brick United Church stands impressively on a corner. Charles Bridgman of Winnipeg designed the place for a union of Presbyterians and Methodists in 1921. The three front windows have been bricked in with vivid crosses and a star below the arch. Ascension is accomplished here in novel ways using attenuated symmetry. The roofline of the entrances begins ascension. Small staggered rectangular windows prompt the upward motion. The roof angle over the left entrance and nave swoops upward, accentuated by the jerkinhead gable end and culminating in the fine tower. The tower feels like something’s been removed from it.
A tall stone foundation supports this substantial tan brick Gothic church, its aura is steadfast and prosperous. The entrance tower, well adept at sending your attention heavenward, is beautifully proportioned to the rest of the structure. Gothic arches abound on windows, bell tower and doorways. Built in 1902/03 from a design by James White, who also designed Carberry United Church, a major feature is the large bell visible in the steeple. The small side entrance with the little green roof tucked into the corner is a whimsical bit of medieval building craft.
St. Michael and All Angels Anglican Church, Ninette, MB
Built by Charles Orevend in 1905/06, this is a lovely and rare example of gabled transepts stepped up from the nave. Though the plan is fairly common, the tiny transepts and the spire at the crossing are very unusual. The Gothic windows are refreshingly wide with modest tracery. The beautiful arch over the front door, strikingly painted black and white, drives your attention to the steep gable on the vestibule, centred with the round detail under the gable. The delicate, unusual details of the church create a special uplifting feeling.
EmmanuelLutheranChurch, Baldur, MB
Built in 1903, this wood frame Gothic church has extraordinary detail that abets its standard design. The square entry tower, supporting an elaborately decorated bell tower and glorious steeple with lively elaborate spire, has fine tracery over the doorway separating coloured panes. On the eight-sided belfry, every opening is topped with a sunburst design and a pediment. The low balustrade with corner pinnacles accentuates the steeple’s angle. The window details and the slight eave returns on the façade create softness to contrast the sharp edges Gothic usually attempts. Note the contribution the spruce tree makes to attention ascension.
Silverton United Church, Silverton, MB
Originally built for Presbyterians in 1892, this little wooden church was moved to its present location in the tiny village of Silverton in 1949. The building is a simple rectangular nave pierced by four stubby lancet windows along each side. The major Gothic feature is the large square entry tower with the battlement along the top – very medieval yet somehow congruent with the open Canadian prairie. It benefits greatly from its setting – a wide-open area backed by trees. As you can see, the building and the lot are well maintained.
Blessed Sacrament Catholic Church, Elie, MB
Located on an ancient sacred site, the pale brick of this imposing Catholic Church exudes some form of holy mist that gives the place an intriguing aura. Built in 1928 in the cross-shaped transept design, Romanesque arches abound even on the entry canopy. The tall square tower with its open belfry and steep roof culminating in an elegant lit crucifix achieves an attractive balance. The circular window over the doorway on the tower is another example of recurring Catholic detail. Brick headers emphasize the doorway and the windows. Medium-pitched parapets extend above the gable ends of the transepts with Palladian windows, a Catholic preference, beneath.
St. Francois Xavier Roman Catholic Church, St. FrancoisXavier, MB
Built Built in 1900, this small but imposing tan brick church set on a fieldstone foundation was designed by Joseph Senecal, leading architect of Roman Catholic churches in Manitoba. St Francois Xavier was originally called Grantown, a settlement created by Metis leader Cuthbert Grant. This building replaced a substantial log church, which had served the parishioners since 1833 on the same site. Cuthbert Grant is buried in the cemetery that surrounds the church. Though somewhat obscured by a gorgeous evergreen, the front elevation is a work of symmetrical accomplishment. The corner towers with their roofs and pinnacles balance the central entrance, the side entrances and the well-proportioned square tower with its delightful cornice and dentil. Arcades surround the belfry, which is topped with a steep four-sided roof with small round openings.
This This modest and well-maintained wooden Gothic church was built in 1893 for a Methodist congregation. Sometime over its 118-year history, the church lost its belfry and steeple though the roof pitches and lancet windows still point heavenward. Notice the dainty corner pillars with plain pinnacles. The rear section was added on in 1957.
St. Josaphat’s Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church, Shoal Lake, MB
Illustrating my hometown bias, here’s a second church in Shoal Lake. Located across the street from yesterday’s church, this white wooden Catholic Church has three modest onion domes dominating the façade. The domes and their drums are octagonal with heavy iron cross finials. The three arched windows on the front elevation compliment the domes. The entry pavilion to the rectangular nave is bracketed by the slim corner towers. This church was built in 1945 to replace the 1892 building they had bought from the Anglicans in 1919 for $1,000. The old church became the IOOF Hall and was moved to Fourth and South Railway where it still stands.
The sun rises on one of five churches in Shoal Lake. Built in 1940, this small wooden Gothic church preserves the holiness of St. Helen, here bathed in early morning Manitoba sunshine. It was built as a part of the mission of the Parish of Elphinstone. The nave is a typical rectangle with a low-pitched front porch added later. The tower supports a belfry and an octagonal steeple topped with a heavy cross. The louvered arched openings on the tower have a sunburst pattern complimented by the rose window beneath. The lancet windows along the side are edged with coloured panes.
St Mark’s Anglican Church, 108 – 2nd Avenue SW, Minnedosa, MB
Minnedosa boasts one of the best collections of fieldstone buildings on the prairies and exceptional St. Mark’s Anglican Church ranks highly among them. Begun in 1903 and completed the following year, the parishioners chose the Gothic Revival style, typical of Protestant churches, to make their statement. And what a statement it is! The steep pitch of the roof, the sensually pointed narrow windows and the entry canopy which has the feel of once being atop the church (Can anyone verify that with a photograph for me?) all contribute to the style. The plan is transept, meaning the church is in the shape of a cross.
One of the church’s many distinguishing features is the rare use of pink mortar between the fieldstones. This is most striking on the south side in full sun and complements the deep red trim around the openings.
The fenestration employs single, pairs and trios of pointed windows, all sporting striking trim and multiple panes. Each gable end has a trio of windows on each level.
The original St Mark’s was built on this site in 1885 and, as Minnedosa grew, so did its congregation. Combining professional masons and volunteer labour, the present church arose costing about $5,000. Local history recalls that St. Mark’s rector went out into the countryside and personally conscripted farmers to haul wagonloads of stones to the construction site.
The stone masonry is exquisite; every detail is lovingly executed. St. Mark’s is a fine example of ecclesiastical architecture in a small town. Watch my short video about this church.
St Paul’s Anglican Church East of Poplar Point on Hwy #26
A humble beginning by the side of the road. Lovely little Gothic-influenced St. Paul’s Anglican Church, in the Parish of Baie St. Paul, officially opened in October 1910. An ambitious project for a small congregation, it took six years of creative fundraising to building the wood-frame church. Many original objects can still be found in the church including the Bible, chalice and plate, linens, baptismal bowl and book rest. Gothic touches are the pointed windows with delicate tracery and the steep roof pitch. The wooden roof cresting is unusual.
An open bell tower topped with a short spire and wooden cross was restored in 1993. The church sits right next to the highway on the north side. There is a small cemetery on the west side of the church.
ChristChurch Anglican, Roblin, MB
This small wood frame church was built in 1928-29 and exemplifies basic Gothic design. There are the standard pointed lancet windows with simple tracery, a moderately steep gable roof and a tower with heavy dentil and battlement. The battlement gives the little church a well-fortified medieval appearance.
The tower is somewhat unusual in that it is placed at the corner of the nave and serves as a belfry rather than part of the entrance. The louvered openings on the tower are arched rather than pointed but the light tracery restores the points.
ZionMethodist /United Church, Hamiota, MB
Built in 1914 and based on a design by architect Rev. Samuel East, this solid Gothic affair features two prominent uneven towers. Square and crenellated along the parapets, the towers are given more visual strength by the corner buttresses. The pitch of the gable between the towers is very appealing. Most openings have pointed arches. The windows are wide lancet divided with tracery and the stained glass is excellent overall.
The pair of stark front stairways makes the church’s imposing mass more inviting. Seen from the side the stairways suggest the paws of a sphinx with the nave, chancel and the front elevation representing the face and body of the symbol. Originally built by Methodists, it is now a United Church. A rear annex was added in 1968.
Carberry United Church, Carberry, MB
The same architect, James White, designed all the churches in Carberry including Carberry United Church. Built in 1903 for the Methodists, this church has a marvelously picturesque roofline. The lower twin spires on the octagonal corner towers conspire with the double steeply pitched gables to increase the elation of the tall spire with its metal finial.
All the Gothic roof points are softened by many Romanesque arches and labels formed by high relief buff brickwork. The windows are nearly all stained glass with a modest use of limestone sills. Carberry United rests handsomely on a stone foundation. This church possesses a grand and endearing symmetry. The strategic corner location adds to the overall grandeur of the place.
St. Paul’s UnitedChurch, Virden, MB
Built of buff brick in 1901 as a Methodist Church, the original steeple was replaced with a tower in 1962. There is a bit of a clash in styles with the tower addition but somehow it feels appropriate.
Look at the fenestration on the facade of this church. Beginning with the row of four heavily segmented rectangular windows with upper transom sections, move upward. On the second level they became three windows but still there are, subtly, four windows. The large window is composed of two small windows like the two that bracket it. The four fade into a three-sided trefoil, which rises further to become one. The sweetly pitched gable launches your attention toward heaven.
The thin turret on the corner with its steeply pitched roof and finial balances the handsome now-Italianate bell tower with its quoins, tall cross and low-pitched roof. The extended brick headers over the arches and flat windows that continue across the front as a stringcourse provide cohesion to the façade’s elements.
St. Mark’s Anglican Church, Baldur, MB
Peeking shyly from behind its veil of summer foliage is pretty little St. Mark’s Anglican. Built in 1898 out of pale brick this tiny Gothic church sits on a low fieldstone foundation. With its green trim it is well camouflaged among the trees. The small vestibule has a large double doorway with a peaked window cut by simple tracery. The pitch of the roof is moderately steep for an Anglican church.
St. Wolodimer (Vladimir) Ukrainian Greek Orthodox Church, Oakburn, MB
This Greek Orthodox Church was built at the same time – 1947-48 – as the Ukrainian Catholic Church in Oakburn. Not to be outdone St Vlad’s has five octagonal onion domes or banyas painted in bright silver that shine like beacons in the sun.
The floor plan is cruciform with a chancel at the rear, this one topped with its own onion dome on a short cupola. Windows have arched tops, even the painted-on ones on the dome drums.
Designer and builder of this well-adorned church “in the Greek Byzantine style”, says local history book Ripples on the Lake, was John Mnoholitny who oversaw 35 volunteer workers.
The entry porch has some nice carved edgework and a bull’s eye window above it. There is a separate bell tower on the property.
Sacred Heart of Jesus Ukrainian Catholic Church, Rossburn, MB
Every typical element of traditional onion-domed Catholic churches is here but modernized, either subtly or extremely. Square corner towers on the front elevation are given brick pilasters to contrast with the stucco and topped with a low drum on which a stubby octahedral dome is set.
The angles of the tower roofs are extended onto both levels of the spectacular façade. The jutting angular gables and heavy segmented blue-paned windows along with the towers create upward movement that sweeps heavenward past the crosses atop the domes.
The nave is rectangular with a low-pitched roof and a series of tall thick windows. The third dome at the rear replicates the other towers. Most traditional Catholic churches have a separate bell tower housed in a wooden tiered building. Here it is given an ultra modern feeling with the steel legs supporting a caged bell with Roman arches.
Holy Trinity Anglican Church, Graham and Donald, Winnipeg, MB
Adding a delightful incongruence to an ever-changing downtown corner, now with the Millennium Library, cityplace and the MTS Centre as its cornermates, is Holy Trinity Anglican, a striking example of delicate High Victorian Gothic architecture. The third church on this site, construction was completed in 1884.
This limestone church’s design marked a new level of sophistication of design for Winnipeg. Architect Charles H. Wheeler created the plan right down to the coloured stained glass clerestory windows. Wheeler’s other buildings include Dalnavert and the first Dufferin School.
Holy Trinity’s many Gothic features present a medieval feeling with its enormous number of pinnacles, buttresses, gable ends, orbs and finials all intending to move your attention heavenward.
The church was designated a National Heritage Site in 1990.
St. Paul’s UnitedChurch, Souris, MB
Built in 1907, this huge buff brick church stands regally at a street corner. The enormous tower with a castellated parapet, lively corbelling and tiered buttresses is well proportioned to the massive body of the place and contributes greatly to the vertical orientation of the structure. It rests on a fieldstone foundation that extends about five feet above ground. Two large parapet gables and several smaller ones adorn its roofline, a major chimney with Gothic details is a solid feature and the slightly pointed openings increase its Gothic persuasion. The front window is over two storeys high.
St. John’s Anglican Church, Wawanesa, MB
Built 1882, this wood frame church is a fine decorative example of a basic Gothic building with a side entry. Everything points toward heaven. First, notice all the openings have pointed arches; the windows have upward-moving tracery. The steeply pitched roof, accentuated by the low parapet instead of gable ends, is topped with a small cupola that has a four sided roof and louvered arcades. The metal finial at the peak moves your attention closer to heaven. The opposite end of the roof ridge sports a stylized cross.
The chancel eaves have decorative scroll saw work and the doorway has a peaked arch. The grey shingles meld with the stark white to give the place an ethereal quality, as if you are imagining some of it.
Griswold United Church, Griswold, MB
On this day, the most humble of churches. 1897 and 1898 were busy construction years in Griswold, west of Brandon on #1 Hwy. Both the school and this church were built in those two years.
Griswold United, similar to small parish churches dotting Scotland and England, is a Hobbit-like place tucked away in a sleepy little hamlet slowly being dusted away by the prairie wind. Around it are towering protective trees that lean in mothering mode toward this elaborate pile of stones.
Earth hugging, it feels like the rocks rose right out of the ground, shook off the sod and assembled themselves into this expressive and timeless heap. The deep-set windows have simple tracery.
Study the rear wall in this picture. It is a mass of solid fieldstones, unbroken by an opening. Notice the myriad of colours of the stones, a patchwork quilt of geological time.
The gable ends of this church are adorable. The vibrant blue fish scale shingling under the eaves sets off the stark white bargeboard with its small triceps that culminate in the sunburst pendant and the cross finial creating a sensation of ascension. Every elevation has some form of buttress to support the enormous weight of the fieldstones. This is a very ancient sacred site.
14 responses to “Churches”
as an atheist I have no use for what they stand for, but as an artist, they are truly a feast for the eye
Agreed. I feel the same way.
hi – am john matthews hear from england am looking for a church ?? – which stood in winnipeg in the 1920 s -??? at 208 thompson drive st james ??? – does any one remeber where the record wethernt to as my grandmother was married their and am deporate to find out more !!! before my aunt who is 80 yrs old now dies – any help most wellcome – thanks jon
Sturgeon Creek United Church is at 207 Thompson Drive in St. James. Maybe that is the one. here is their website http://www.scuc.ca/
Good luck, Reid
why thank – you yr a gent !!!!! – my grand dad was in the mounties – any idea where the records are kept – for the yr 1924 – my grand parents were married at the parish of christ church winne peg by a rev – h j tomkins – the address i have is 208 thompson drive – checked out on google maps but a school now stands on that plot – am looking for some old pics of it – if possible ??? – thanks again – jon
Thank you very much for this lovely website.
Thank you Merryn. You comment is much appreciated! Reid
Hi : Very nice collection. I have painted all the churches in the interlake, approx 200 of them. They now hang in the heritage museum in Arborg.
See them on my web site. Kepp on shooting. Millard
Thanks for your comment, Millard. Your paintings preserve our rapidly vanishing old churches well. Reid
I am very impressed. My great grandfather came to gardenton, mb in 1897 and helped build st. michael’s ukrainian orthodox church. I understand that he is buried in the cemetery there. I will find out for myself this fall. great work.
Thank you for your comments Linda.
Hi I’m looking for a phone # to contact the Uion Point Church as I would like to get married there. Would you know what the phone # is? Thank you in advance.
Do you know what church was used in the 1988 Molly Ringwald movie For Keeps?
I asked some local film people but no one can recall which one was used.