St. Mary's Anglican Church and Cemetery
St. Mary's Pro-Cathedral
Links and documents
1875/01/01 to 1875/12/31
Listed on the Canadian Register:
Statement of Significance
Description of Historic Place
St. Mary’s Anglican Church and Cemetery is a Municipal Heritage Property located west of the City of Prince Albert in the Rural Municipality of Prince Albert No. 461. The picturesque 2.2-hectare property consists of an 1875 log church and pioneer cemetery. The simple, gable-roof church is clad with bevelled siding and features Gothic-arch windows.
This property is of heritage value as the first Anglican church to be built in the Diocese of Saskatchewan. Built in 1875, St. Mary’s Anglican Church was the Pro-Cathedral of an enormous area stretching from an area northwest of Lake Winnipeg to the Rocky Mountains, covering approximately 1,269,000 sq. kilometres. As the religious seat for the Reverend John McLean, the first Lord Bishop of Saskatchewan (1874-86), the church witnessed the first ordination to occur in the Diocese in 1876. Until 1880, when Bishop McLean opened the adjoining Emmanuel College building, St. Mary’s Anglican Church was the most significant religious structure of the Diocese. With the establishment of Emmanuel College the previous year, St. Mary’s became an integral component in a religious and educational complex that was to be the primary centre of learning of the Diocese and the predecessor to the University of Saskatchewan.
The St. Mary’s Anglican Church Cemetery, which comprises the churchyard of this property, is of heritage value as the final resting place for many pioneers, settlers, and North-West Mounted Police members killed in the 1885 Conflict at Duck Lake. Bishop McLean, who died in 1886, is buried outside the chancel window. Participants of the Almighty Voice Incident of 1897 are also buried in the cemetery. With its many stone monuments, mature plantings and old fruit trees, the cemetery also presents a highly picturesque setting for the church.
The heritage value of the property also lies in the architecture of St. Mary’s Church, which exemplifies an early example of pioneer church construction. The vernacular church is built of hewn pine logs and features a gable roof. During the late-nineteenth century or early-twentieth century, the church was clad in bevelled siding and its square windows were modified as Gothic-arch windows. It is believed that at this time the interior received its tongue-and-groove-clad finish. A notable feature of the church is a crypt under the chancel, which was used to store bodies in the winter months when grave digging was not possible due to the frozen ground.
Rural Municipality of Prince Albert No. 461 Bylaw No. 5-1983.
The heritage value of St. Mary’s Church and Cemetery resides in the following character-defining elements:
-those elements of the church which relate to its pioneer-era construction, such as its log construction with bevelled wooden siding, fieldstone foundation, front-gable roof with wooden-shingles and closed tongue-and-groove eaves, rectangular plan with rectangular chancel and porch, symmetrical form and fenestration, Gothic-arch windows, stained glass chancel window, wooden plank floor, chancel crypt, and its tongue-and-groove-clad interior walls and ceiling;
-those elements of the cemetery (churchyard), such as its many stone monuments and markers, the mature plantings including old fruit trees and the fenced perimeter with concrete gate posts and iron gates;
-the contextual elements of the property, such as its rural, agricultural situation and the siting of the church on its original location.
Local Governments (SK)
Heritage Property Act, s. 11(1)(a)
Municipal Heritage Property
Theme - Category and Type
- Building Social and Community Life
- Religious Institutions
Function - Category and Type
- Religion, Ritual and Funeral
- Religious Facility or Place of Worship
- Religion, Ritual and Funeral
- Mortuary Site, Cemetery or Enclosure
Architect / Designer
Location of Supporting Documentation
Saskatchewan Ministry of Tourism, Parks, Culture and Sport
Heritage Resources Branch
1919 Saskatchewan Drive Regina, SK
Cross-Reference to Collection