Category Archives: Churches

12 Days of Christmas 2015 – Day Twelve Churches

My Churches page features over three dozen lovely churches most in rural Manitoba. One exception stands in downtown Winnipeg. I hope it will inspire you to explore the page and discover our rich religious heritage.

Holy Trinity Anglican Church

Graham and Donald

Winnipeg, MB


Adding medieval charm to an ever-changing downtown corner, now with the Millennium Library, cityplace and the MTS Centre as its cornermates, stands 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 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 enhance its medieval feeling with an 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.

The Old Way The Old Way of Seeingof Seeing: How Architecture Lost Its Magic (And How To Get It Back) by architect Jonathan Hale clarified why some buildings appeal and seem to sing while others are disharmonious and ordinary. The secret is the Golden Section, the system most architects working before 1840 used to create human spaces, spaces that resonated with our bodies and spirits. I started to use Hale’s schematics on heritage buildings of all kinds to determine if the Golden Section was employed or not and discovered subtle and essential qualities that empathetic places all have. Published in 1994, the book is still available. Holy Trinity Anglican is a fine example of many of the capacities of the old way of seeing.

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Filed under 12 days of christmas 2015, Architecture, Churches, Heritage Buildings

My Cathedrals


Reid Dickie

We moved to Shoal Lake in 1957 when I was eight and I left for the city at nineteen. Those are formative years when one grows from an egocentric to sociocentric worldview, taking the role of the Other, starting to think about thinking and finally feeling like a citizen of the planet. Just before I left home, my father said that no matter where I roamed or what I accomplished in my life, I would always think of Shoal Lake as my hometown. He was right.

My cathedrals were somewhat more humble than the stone behemoths the word usually conjures. Though it was a town of 800 with five spired churches (Roman Catholic, Greek Orthodox, Baptist, Anglican, United), my cathedrals were the movie theatre, the town hall, the high school, the ice rink, the train bridge and the spruce grove by the lake.

The only cathedral left standing today in 2015 is the grove of spruce trees that decorate a slow incline up and away from the water’s edge at the north end of the lake. They were planted in 1928 as part of the village landscaping. The trees wrap around the closest thing the lake ever had to a beach, vulnerable to the prevailing, often harsh, northwest winds. During their eighty-seven years, the trees have adopted a slight lean away from the wind.  It’s not a thick grove but an airy and light stand with sky at the top end and water at the bottom. Underfoot lies decades of brown needles thatched in slow decay.

By the 1960s the spruce were at their most verdant, early maturity brought a luscious deep green to the shore when viewed in perfect morning light. It was under these sheltering branches that many rites of passage and epiphanal moments occurred for my friends and me. Here bonding moments so serene, proving moments so intense and our  love for the whole wide world, created new beings out of us. Boundless expressions of song sang with spruce gum and lake water in the hot sizzle of the metal camp stove, our incense and laughter echoing beyond the trees into the starry night. Acoustic guitars strummed to bleeding during long rambling confessions of angst, love and guilt, inspired by the Doors’ The End. In this confessional, the trees listened patiently, ever returning each of us to sanctity, to grace.

Today the trees are past maturity; their trunks three-quarters bare of branches, the foliage now a rickety umbrella high overhead. The bare overripe spruce are easy pickings for wind; they creak now even in small breezes. Crushing windstorms from the northwest break off the old trees regularly. Yet they remain my one cathedral, still bending in the wind, becoming more majestic in their age and decline.

To walk among them now is to hear the echoes of old friend’s young voices and see them splashing in the shiny water; it is to hear the blues played on a harmonica at the edge of a prairie lake by a farm boy whose father works him like slave. During spring break-up on the lake there are a few days when tinkling needles of ice produce the sound of delicate wind chimes as they float in the cold water, playing counterpoint to the trees combing sighs from a passing breeze. When I walk among these trees today I am among friends, closer to the wisdom of age and experience that we intuited as youth but only recognize now as we grow long in the tooth.

How we worshiped with vigor and hope at that church of green timber! Confusing, hormone-befuddled days turned into evenings of comradeship, peace and caring, of understandings that curious youth bring only to each other. Spirit lived in my cathedrals then and still does today. The link we share with our past when using the local knowledge of a place and its landmarks allows us to discover Spirit in yet another form.

Even though today grass grows thick over my parent’s graves in Shoal Lake Cemetery and I have few friends left in the town and fewer reasons to return, Shoal Lake is still home in the sense of it being the repository of my growing and changing. It is where memories reside. It will always be home to the cathedrals that played significant roles in my youth, cathedrals that time and progress have taken away. When I left Shoal Lake, I forfeited the right to own my cathedrals anywhere but in memory. As it should be.


Filed under Ancient Wisdom, Churches, Hope

Summer Miles – 2014 Manitoba Events, Festivals and Flooding

Reid & Vicker Viscount in Garland

Reid Dickie

The spring melt is inevitable, though it doesn’t feel that way with massive amounts of snow everywhere. To give you some idea of the kind of winter it’s been, I shot this from the train coming in from the west in late-March. This mountain of snow that dwarfs the heavy equipment tending it is some of the snow cleared from Winnipeg streets this winter. Click pic to start 30 second clip. Snapshot 1 (31-03-2014 1-17 PM)

Depending on snow quality and quantity as well as melt rate, Manitoba could be in for a heavy flood season..or not. The province has another new flood watch manager who on March 31 predicted the potential for spring flooding is near normal for most of the province. Translated out of Steve Ashtonese, it’s goodish news!

In fact, the flood news is downright rosy. We won’t need the Winnipeg Floodway nor the Portage Diversion this year, well, maybe we’ll just use 10% of them. Highway 75, frequently bathed by floodwaters, won’t get a bath year. The Shellmouth Reservoir has been drained down to catch all the incoming Assiniboine River. Oh yeah…this depends on cooperation from the weather which hasn’t been very cooperative so far this year. Flood predicting is hydrological guesswork, playing the odds as discerned from computer models.

There are three Manitoba sites where flooding is very likely to occur: The Pas, southwest Manitoba and some low-lying areas of Winnipeg due to run-off.  Above normal soil moisture and snow pack means The Pas will likely experience localized flooding from run-off. The Souris River, whose headwaters has above average snow pack this year, will threaten the Souris/Melita area and points south. A Winnipeg flood truly depends on a slow melt. Our sewers are old. The whole flood report is here.

If the province is inundated I will start my summer travels early to provide firsthand flood reports. Otherwise I’ll hit the road in early May.

My summer travel plans will have a distinct focus this year which can be described with one word: inside. I’m always looking for new wrinkles on old stuff. Blog readers and viewers flock to my heritage reports from inside old abandoned buildings so that is where I will focus my cameras this summer. I have a short list of places to record and I’m open to suggestions. Watch for my reports starting in May.

During our gorgeous Manitoba summers we are treated to a panoply of festivals, events and happenings.

Folk Fest hugsWorld-renown Winnipeg Folk Festival July 9 to 13, 2014 enlivens Bird’s Hill Park for the forty-first time. Among the performers this year are Buffy Sainte-Marie, Joan Baez, Bonnie Raitt, John Hammond, the Sheepdogs and a hundred others. Every second year Cooks Creek becomes the scene of jousting, fair damsels, ogres, armoured hand-to-hand combat, fire dancers, jesters, archery and all things medieval. This year their Medieval Festival on the Medieval festival at church and grottogrounds of Immaculate Conception Church and Grotto will be held Saturday, July 26. At $10 a ticket it’s one of the best festival bargains in Manitoba. Watch my report from the 2012 festival. The first annual Carberry Heritage Festival last year gave the town an opportunity to celebrate and share its past, show off its wealth of heritage buildings and its hospitality while bringing some new faces to town. It was deemed a success and this year’s Carberry Heritage Muzzleloaders at Carberry Heritage FestivalFestival will be held Friday and Saturday August 8 & 9, 2014. Once again I will help promote the event and document the festivities. I’ll be posting their schedule of events closer to the festival. Watch my report from last year’s festival. A brand new idea that should appeal to communities of all sizes was hatched last year by the people who promote Dauphin. They created Yardfringe, the first event of its kind anywhere. For theYardfringe Master gist of it, read my report from last year’s event. In 2014, Yardfringe will happen Saturday September 27 as part of their Arts Alive Day. I’ll have more details as they become available. Other events are yet to be announced but when they are green-lit I’ll post them here. We Manitobans have waited with varying degrees of patience for this winter to end. When it does, all the more reason to celebrate. See you on the road.

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Filed under Blog Life, Carberry, Churches, Dauphin, Day Tripping, Festivals, Heritage Festival

What are clinker bricks?


Reid Dickie

I had never heard of clinker bricks until I visited my cousin in Edmonton this summer. She showed me a church that is partially constructed of clinker bricks. What are clinker bricks, you ask?

When fired in early brick kilns, the surface of bricks that were too close to the fire changed into volcanic textures and darker, EDMONTON 138often purplish colors. Typically they were discarded but around 1900, these bricks were discovered to be usable and distinctive in architectural detailing, adding a charming earthy quality to buildings. The hardened residue of coal fires is called clinker, thus these mutant bricks found a name. In Europe, it is spelled klinker


Holy Trinity Anglican Church in Edmonton was built in 1913 using the distinctive clinker brick adding a rich tapestry to the Gothic design. Rather than the usual conformity of bricks, each clinker brickEDMONTON 129 is unique, its shape and colour determined by its nearness to the fire. This church, celebrating its first century this year, aptly demonstrates the techniques used in combining ordinary smooth bricks with fused irregular clinkers.

Once the charm of clinker bricks was recognized, it was often used on the stylish homes of the exceedingly wealthy. Edmonton still has a few upscale houses that were built using clinkers.





Filed under Architecture, Churches, Heritage Buildings

Turn My Face to the Highway

Reid Dickie

Just over 12,000 kms, all in Manitoba, and counting for me and the mighty Avenger in the summer of 2013. Here are a dozen pictures of things that turned up along the road.

Metal dome of abandoned Catholic church next to Hwy #10 between Pine River and Sclater built 1921


Front to back: Finnegan, Hawkeye and Rebel on my cousin Vonda’s farm on the edge of Riding Mountain National Park


The mighty Avenger rests beneath mature cottonwoods at Marsh Lake, Spruce Woods Park. I call the colour Carpathian copper; Enterprise calls it brown.


A strange fork made of a ram’s horn and a necktie made of feathers in Carberry Gingerbread House



Grill and fin of a vintage Buick at St. Malo Provincial Park



The biffies behind Ste. Elizabeth Parish Church


It served long and well – tumbledown log house off Hwy #10 near Garland close to Duck Mountain Provincial Park 


Wood sculpture of elk in cottage yard at Victoria Beach


Large crucifix with beads and chains next to alien head and votive candles on floor of old bank in Carberry


Window of house in Ethelbert where a double homicide occurred last winter


Spruce tree roots on trail to Spirit Sands, Spruce Woods Provincial Park


Sun setting between metal graneries, near Dauphin

DAUPHIN MAY 2013 093

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Filed under Carberry, Churches, Day Tripping, Heritage Buildings, Natural Places, Pioneers

School’s Out Forever – St. Mary’s School & Anna Gibson School


Reid Dickie


350 St. Mary Avenue


St. Mary's School downtown

St. Mary’s School view from northwest

Not to be confused with St. Mary’s Academy, though both were administered by Catholic educators, St. Mary’s School was located right downtown where the Delta Hotel stands today at St. Mary Avenue and Hargrave Street. Two schools by that name were built on the site. The first was a two-storey wood frame building built in 1878 and used to teach only boys. At St. Mary’s Academy, in its original site on Notre Dame, Grey Nuns educated the girls.

In 1896, architect Samuel Hooper (1851-1911) renovated the façade and added the towers to St Mary’s Cathedral which still stands today. He then designed St. Mary School directly across the street across from the Cathedral. Construction began in 1903 and was completed the following year resulting in the most modern school building of the period.

Tinted postcard view of St. Mary's School on the left and St. Mary's Cathedral on the right

Tinted postcard view of St. Mary’s School on the left and St. Mary’s Cathedral on the right. Note the window arrangement on the side and rear (south side) of the school.

Three-storeys of tan brick set on a high, rusticated limestone foundation, this beautiful school featured pedimented side pavilions and an ornate front entry tower bracketed by small arch-gabled dormers. The tower had side bull’s-eye windows and a pair of open arches with stone balustrades surmounted with a steep pyramid roof cut with pedimented dormers. The pyramidal roof was topped with orbs and a tall flagpole, the dormers with crosses.

Postcard view of the facade of St. Mary's School

Postcard view of the facade of St. Mary’s School

A large sweeping arch formed the doorway. There were two massive brick chimneys over the side pavilions and a low-pitched hip roof with iron cresting. Dozens of modillions were attached under the eaves.

St. Mary's School view from northeast

St. Mary’s School view from northeast

The windows were an assortment of shapes and only appeared on the front and back of the school. Side windows, only two per floor, were used to light hallways, not classrooms. The fenestration actually had alternating rows of rectangular and arched windows. Starting with the rectangular foundation windows and moving upward, the next window was the arched fanlight over the door. Just above that were the rectangles of the first floor, then the arched windows of the second floor, third floor rectangles then the arcade in the tower and the arched roofs on the dormers. Ultimately, the ascending tower, was heaven-bound with its pyramid and pinnacles.

There was a subtle use of limestone as trim on this building, again suggesting ascension. From the solid foundation to a wide belt course above the first storey windows up to the narrower sills of the second and third storey, to the thin lintels over the third floor windows, the stone diminished in size creating upward motion, culminating in the glories of the front tower. The rear was of the same fenestration with three windows per classroom but without the limestone detailing and a smaller pavilion.

St. Mary's School students crossing the street to St. Mary's Cathedral, ca 1930

St. Mary’s School students crossing the street to St. Mary’s Cathedral, ca 1930

Counted among the alumni of St. Mary’s School are grain merchant and president of the Winnipeg Grain Exchange William Richard Bawlf (1881-1972) and Francis Laurence “Bud” Jobin (1914-1995), Manitoba’s Lieutenant Governor in the late 1970s.

Until St Mary’s School became co-ed in 1917, the boys were taught by the Brothers of Mary and the girls by the Sisters of the Holy Name. St. Mary’s School closed in 1968, burned down in 1969, its ruins finally demolished and hauled away in 1971.


St Mary’s School

Built 1904

Burned 1969, demolished 1971

Materials: Brick and limestone

Style: Queen Anne Eclectic

Architect: Samuel Hooper

Original cost: $31,000



77 Kelvin Street


Anna Gibson School

Anna Gibson School just before demolition in 2005

Perhaps it is more fitting this building be known as the Mennonite Brethren Bible College since it was used as that longer than it was Anna Gibson School. The bill for this one-storey solid brick building built on a short concrete foundation by Sutherland Construction was $39,000 in 1919.

The site of the school at Talbot Avenue and Kelvin Street (we call it Henderson Highway today) was previously occupied by Martin School erected in 1904 and named for former Attorney-General of Manitoba, Joseph Martin (1852-1923). As the Elmwood community grew around it, Martin School became inadequate to meet student demand. It was replaced with the larger Anna Gibson School which opened for Grade 1 to 5 classes in 1920.

Early view of Anna Gibson School

Early view of Anna Gibson School

An eight-classroom school of red brick and concrete with a low-pitched hipped roof, it was a modest building but stylish and striking on its site. Above the central entrance was an impressive shallow arch with brackets and decorative cornice. On the roof above was a short open cupola with a dome roof and pointed finial. The cupola was positioned so some part of it could be seen from every angle of the building.

Lovely arches over front entrance of Anna Gibson School

Lovely arches over front entrance of Anna Gibson School

The side and rear elevations had single half-circle dormers cutting the roof. The rear had an indented entrance with a glass block window above a breezeway.

Rear of Anna Gibson School with arches dormer and breezeway entrance

Rear of Anna Gibson School with arches dormer and breezeway entrance

The masonry was standard running bond with the main decorative feature soldier course frames and contrasting corner blocks surrounding diamond shapes. A red brick chimney with a corbel table protruded from the centre of the roof.

Side view of Anna Gibson School with diamond patterns and limestone flashes.

Side view of Anna Gibson School with soldier course patterns and limestone flashes.

In an era where few schools were named for women, the usual being Queen Victoria, Laura Secord and Florence Nightingale (Winnipeg had all three, Flo is closed now), it is refreshing to find a homegrown heroine to honour.

Anna Gibson, the daughter of Winnipeg lumber merchant Thomas Gibson, was a schoolteacher at La Verendrye School when the Spanish Flu arrived.

Newspaper notice of Anna Gibson's death

Newspaper notice of Anna Gibson’s death

As if the horrors of mustard gas and other WWI atrocities weren’t bad enough, veterans returning home brought with them the Spanish Flu that was sweeping western and northern Europe. By October 1918, it was an epidemic in Manitoba. The call went out for volunteers to help in overcrowded, understaffed hospitals. Anna Gibson was among the first to volunteer.

She worked directly with patients in King George Hospital, bravely facing the apparent dangers. She died of the flu on November 23, 1918 and is buried in Elmwood Cemetery. Anna Gibson was 21.

When the Division went looking for a name for its newest school, it was obvious and timely. In a sense, the building was a monument to all those who succumbed to the 1918 pandemic embodied by a public-minded spirit named Anna Gibson. Volunteerism is essential to even out the lumps in the social fabric and the heroics of a young school marm set a fine example for current and future generations.

The School Division closed the school in 1934. During WWII, it was used to house soldiers. The Mennonite Brethren bought the school in 1944 when the College began and used it for classrooms and administration until 2000. The Mennonite Brethren Bible College, later known as Concord College, renamed the school the A.H. Unruh Building in 1985 to honour the college’s founder.

The condition of the building deteriorated, especially inside, and the College demolished it in the summer of 2005. The area is green space – a small park for the use of the public and College students. Anna Gibson’s school and her volunteerism are remembered with a plaque in the park which is also adorned with the cupola from atop the old school.


Anna Gibson School

Built 1919

Demolished 2005

Materials: red brick and concrete

Style: Modest Classical Revival

Original cost: $39,000

Find more demolished and standing Manitoba schools on my Schools page

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Filed under Churches, Heritage Buildings, Manitoba Heritage, Schools

Twelve Days of Christmas Day Eleven

Christ Anglican Church, 505 Curwen Street, Cartwright, MB

Cartwright Anglican

Reid Dickie

Compact and solid, Cartwright’s old stone church sits at a prominent intersection in the little southern Manitoba Anglican churchcommunity. 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 stainedSide view 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 since 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.

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Filed under 12 Days of Christmas 2012, Churches, Heritage Buildings

Twelve Days of Christmas Day Ten

St. Andrew’s United Church, 338 Hamilton Street, Manitou, MB

St. Andrew's United, Manitou

Reid Dickie

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.

Bargeboard on facadeOriginally 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 St Andrew's United, Manitousteep 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.

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Filed under 12 Days of Christmas 2012, Churches, Heritage Buildings, Manitoba Heritage

Twelve Days of Christmas Day Eight

Holy Eucharist Ukrainian Catholic Church, Rosa, MB 

Rosa Church

Reid Dickie

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 Rosa facadestanding 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 Onion domeschurch 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.


Filed under 12 Days of Christmas 2012, Churches, Heritage Buildings, Manitoba Heritage

Twelve Days of Christmas Day Six

Ste. Anne Roman Catholic Church, 162 Central Avenue, Ste Anne, MB


Ste. Anne Roman Catholic Church


Reid Dickie

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 Side elevationfrom 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.

Facade of Ste. Anne'sThe 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 Ste. Anne's steeplecornice 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.

Side viewSenecal’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 the 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.


Filed under 12 Days of Christmas 2012, Churches, Heritage Buildings, Manitoba Heritage

Twelve Days of Christmas Day Four

Emerson Baptist Church, Third Street, Emerson, MB


Reid Dickie

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 Date stonesmooth 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 Front facadechurch 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.

Holy Trinity windowsAbout 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 usedRoofline with pinnacles 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.

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Filed under 12 Days of Christmas 2012, Churches, Heritage Buildings, Manitoba Heritage

Twelve Days of Christmas Day Two

Sts. Peter and Paul Ukrainian Orthodox Church, PR 201, Sundown, MB


Sts. Peter and Paul Ukrainian Orthodox Church


Settled comfortably into its pleasing and tranquil church yard, Sts. Front viewPeter 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-onBell tower 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.

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Filed under 12 Days of Christmas 2012, Churches, Heritage Buildings, Manitoba Heritage, Pioneers

Old English Church, 602 River Avenue, Hartney, MB

Reid Dickie

This old church, built by Anglicans for the Parish of St. Andrew’s in 1893-94, is a classic example of austere Anglican church architecture. Unadorned brickwork laid in American Bond, extremely steep roof pitch, pointed Gothic windows topped with staid sunbursts and side buttresses are basic to the style. The tiny arched window under the gable ends is charming. Built by local artisans and church volunteers, the church has been described as a textbook example of Anglican church style.

The chancel at the rear of the church was added on in 1907, its steep roof the same pitch as the original building. Lacking a pastor for an number of years, the old place has found new life and new purpose in the little community of Hartney, becoming the home to a new community of the faithful.

For views of Old English Church from all angles, check out my 2:05 video.

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Calvary Pentecostal Church, 141 Main Street, Carberry, MB

Reid Dickie

Manitoba’s only designated heritage district encompasses two blocks of Carberry’s Main Street. This is our last stop in the district on the west side of the street.

Other than its modesty, the most striking feature of the former Pentecostal Church is the marvelous mottling effect of its tricoloured bricks. The three shades – a light tan, darker tan and darker reddish-brown – create a woozy visual dance that is most noticeable on the street facade and tower. Expertly laid, staggered vertical rows along with the squat square entry tower create the sensation of ascension in a modern but reserved way.

The tricolouration of the bricks is used with especially delightful results around the openings. The surrounds of the pointed former window, side window on tower and the front entrance combine headers and stretchers in a simple but visually stimulating fashion. The rounded side windows are topped with a similar but more subtle spray. Though intentionally plain in mass and detailing, the brickmanship makes the place jump.

Built largely by congregation volunteers in 1942, the resulting church demonstrates their determination to remain stalwart. Set back from the public sidewalk and impressively positioned on its lot, the former church adds yet more eclecticism to Carberry’s heritage district. Its design arose from several sources. Notice the combination of Romanesque Revival and Gothic Revival styles, the latter above the modified front window and the former over every other opening.

Pa Tuckett told me, “My second boy Zeke got hitched in that church in the late 40s. She was a sweet innocent girl named Shyla. Zeke was 19 and she was 17 and they had six kids that lived before Zeke turned 30.”

Today the building serves as a law office. Its former occupants include a cafe and clothing store.

What’s this series about?

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Three More New Church Videos

Reid Dickie

I always shoot many more pictures than I can use in posts so I’ve assembled the extra church pics into short videos and uploaded them to my YouTube channel.

You get to see contextual views of how and where the building sits, shots of it from many different angles and some sound to accompany the vision. I have featured all three churches in blog posts. Click on the church name to read my blog post. Click picture to watch the video.

St. Mark’s Anglican Church, Minnedosa, MB  2:17

Griswold United Church, Griswold, MB  2:01

St. Anne’s Anglican Church, Poplar Point area, MB  2:26

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Filed under Churches, Day Tripping, Heritage Buildings, Manitoba Heritage, Pioneers

Three New Church Videos

Reid Dickie

It’s buzz buzz buzz all the doo-dah day here with three more short videos squirted out and now uploaded to YouTube. I always take lots of pictures at heritage sites, especially churches because they are particularly photogenic – must be their aura. Since I can only use a few pictures in my blog posts, I’ve made short videos using pictures from three Manitoba churches. You get to see contextual views of how and where the building sits, shots of it from many different angles and some sound to accompany the vision. I have featured all three churches in blog posts. Click on the church name to read my blog post. Click picture to watch the video.

St. Michael’s Ukrainian Orthodox Church, near Gardenton,  2:39

Union Point United Church, Hwy #75, near Ste. Agathe 2:07

First and Second St. Elias Ukrainian Orthodox Churches, Sirko 3:09

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Brandon A Hundred Years Ago

Reid Dickie

One of the oldest businesses in Brandon is Christie’s, now known as Office Plus but over the decades has served varying needs related to
education and books. The 1906 Henderson’s Directory lists the business, located at 830 Rosser Avenue, as Christie Books, Stationery, School Furnishings and Wallpaper and their phone number as 133. The business was started in May 1885 by Ernest Lisle Christie, an Ontario native who came west in the early 1880s. In my youth, the store was called Christie’s School Supplies. It has been said that

prior to 1920, virtually every school textbook in western Canada passed through Christie’s shop.

Recently I found an early promotion item created by Christie’s that allows a glimpse of Brandon as it looked a hundred years ago. It’s a packet of six postcards with scenes of the city, packaged in a folder with Christie’s name on the front and published about 1910. Each card has a brief description and tinted image. I also came across one other postcard of Brandon churches from the same era. It’s the last image in this nostalgic collection. Please enjoy!

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Manitoba Heritage That Is Gone, Gone, Gone!

Reid Dickie

During my travels this summer working through my list of heritage places to visit, I came across several heritage sites that no longer exist. Although most of these sites have been designated as municipal and federal heritage sites, for various reasons they are now gone, gone, gone.

Designated a municipal heritage site in 1987 and included in the federal Canadian Register of Historic Places, Bethlehem Lutheran Church manse, which sat on Queen Elizabeth Road in Erickson, MB for a number of years after being moved from Scandinavia, MB, was demolished a couple of years ago. Used for a time as a museum, it deteriorated significantly and was becoming as public danger. It succumbed to old age.

The little village of Sifton, MB had a rare heritage site that was deemed municipally significant and designated as such in 2005. Holy Resurrection Russian Orthodox Church, built in 1926 in the Lemko style, underwent extensive rehabilitation after designation, returning it to its beautiful original colour and condition, as you can see in the above picture. In 2010 the church burned down, probably arson. This isn’t the first fire on this site. Two buildings connected to the parish were also destroyed by fire. A 1905 orphanage burned in 1924 and a 1926 monastery went up in flames in the 1980s.

In the village of Garland, I went looking for Andrew Kowalewich General Store, an example of modest country stores, this one built in 1913 and clad in pressed tin. Although having municipal designation, the building was torn down by the owner about ten years ago.

In Dominion City, MB a timber truss bridge spanning the Roseau River was given heritage designation by the municipality in 2000. Unique in Manitoba because, though most truss bridges are made of steel, this one was made of wood. I use the past tense because the bridge was washed away by flood waters recently.

These aren’t the only Manitoba heritage sites that have vanished but they do give a fair overview of reasons why heritage sites disappear. Natural causes like weather, indifference to heritage significance in succeeding generations, deterioration of materials from age and firebugs are a few causes of heritage loss. Designation by various levels of government, while giving heritage sites prestige and importance, doesn’t assure the continued existence of places that, though once integral to the community, now search for new meaning in the 21st century.

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St. Hyacinthe Catholic Parish Church, La Salle, MB

Reid Dickie

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 an elaborate 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.

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Dog Day Drive on the Sweltering Prairie

Reid Dickie

Yet another 33 degree C. (over 90 F.) day in a perfect summer which demanded a short jaunt out of The Hive onto the lake bed southeast of Winnipeg! There was enough breeze to slake the heat. The air was full of chaff from plundering combines wrapping up the 2012 harvest. Three MCC thrift stores hit along the way – Niverville, Grunthal, Steinbach – with zilch to report from all of them. Surprising!

I paused in Sarto to see if Willow Plain School was open. It wasn’t. Instead I talked to Jake who was restoring the traditional blue window trim to St. Michael’s Ukrainian Catholic Church in Sarto. Here’s Jake at work.

You’ll notice the onion dome at the front of the church is a yellow colour, part of its new coat of paint. Jake thought he’d be repainting them. Here’s a view of the church with its yellow domes. Sarto is on Provincial Road 205.

As I drove east along 205, I saw a number of unusual small buildings along the road about a mile west of Hwy #12. They turned out to be elaborate sheds. Called estate sheds, they are definitely not the kind you buy at Canadian Tire. Some resembled cabins, others playhouses and barns. All the designs had certain delightful, whimsical features.  Two guys were working assembling one of the cabin sheds in the heat. Henry and Ernie told me they came prefab and there are dozens of styles to choose from. All styles have double doors, either on the side or front, to easily access the shed and move equipment in and out.

The company is Triman Estates Mini Sheds in Neepawa, MB who can special order the sheds from Miller’s Storage Barns in the U. S. They come in dozens of sizes and shapes, colours and you can even customize them yourself. Find out more about the company at

Three kms south of Steinbach next to Hwy #12 is St. Paul’s Lutheran Cemetery. You can’t miss the tiny white chapel with the red roof, pointed Gothic windows and tall skinny steeple. In back of the church under shady oaks rest dozens of local parishioners.

The beach at St. Malo Provincial Park was thronged with sunbathers, swimmers, beach volleyball players and people escaping the heat.

This memorial to the deceased who have been shuffled around while the modern world “progresses” can be seen next to provincial road 311 half a km south of its junction with Hwy 59.

Here’s its B-side.

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