Home / Accueil

Hay River Mission Sites National Historic Site of Canada

Hay River Dene, Northwest Territories, X0E, Canada

Formally Recognized: 1992/06/04

Interior view of Ste. Anne’s Roman Catholic Church, showing the domed semi-circular sanctuary, 1991.; Parks Canada Agency / Agence Parcs Canada, 1991.
Interior view
General view of St. Peter’s Anglican Church, showing the rectangular massing with a gable-ended, pitched roof and a porch of smaller but similar form surmounted by a belfry, 1991.; Hay River Dene Band / Bande des Dénés de Hay River, 1991.
General view
General view of Ste. Anne’s Roman Catholic Church, showing the corner towers with projecting spires on the front façade, 1991.; Hay River Dene Band / Bande des Dénés de Hay River, 1991.
General view

Other Name(s)

Hay River Mission Sites National Historic Site of Canada
K'atlodeeche
K'atlodeeche

Links and documents

Construction Date(s)

1901/01/01 to 1940/01/01

Listed on the Canadian Register: 2009/04/17

Statement of Significance

Description of Historic Place

Hay River Mission Sites National Historic Site of Canada is situated on the old Dene village site within the Hay River Dene Reserve on the east side of the community of Hay River, which is itself at the head of navigation of the Mackenzie River of the Northwest Territories. Established in the late 19th century, the site consists of St. Peter’s Anglican Church, Ste. Anne’s Roman Catholic Church, remains of a rectory, and associated cemeteries containing spirit houses. These missions are situated on either side of the site of the old Dene village proper. Official recognition refers to the individual buildings and their associated landscapes.

Heritage Value

Hay River Mission Sites was designated a national historic site of Canada in 1992 because of:
- their close association with a critical period in Dene / Euro-Canadian relations.

In 1868, an Oblate Mission and a Hudson’s Bay Company fur trading post were established at Hay River. The trading post closed in 1878. A small group of Slavey people led by Chief Chiatlo settled permanently at the location around 1890. Thomas Jabez Marsh established an Anglican mission in 1893, that worked alongside the Roman Catholic mission. By 1909, Marsh and his successor A.J. Vale had completed St. Peter's Church, which eventually included a large school. Around 1900, once the missions were established, they were located approximately at the centre of a 4000 kilometre inland water route that extended north of Edmonton from Athabaska Landing to the Arctic Ocean. This route was the main means by which the western Northwest Territories were opened up to Euro-Canadian influence and development. This meeting of cultures between the local Dene and the two churches have shaped this northern community. The heritage value of Hay River Mission Sites National Historic Site of Canada lies in the physical integrity of the extant buildings and cemetery features as a whole, including the spirit houses, together forming a cultural landscape, in their symbolic importance and in their spatial inter-relationships.

Source: Historical Sites and Monuments Board of Canada, Minutes, June 1992.

Character-Defining Elements

Key elements that contribute to the heritage value of the site include:
- the physical orientation of both mission sites to the river;
- the viewplanes to and from the mission sites and the river;
- the location of St. Peter’s and Ste. Anne’s mission sites bracketing opposite ends of the old Dene village site;
- the spatial relationship of the two churches to each other and to their associated cemeteries.

Key elements that contribute to the heritage value of St. Peter’s Anglican Church include:
- the rectangular massing with a gable-ended, pitched roof and a porch of smaller but similar form surmounted by a belfry;
- the regularly placed, pointed arch windows on the side elevations;
- the log construction;
- the wood siding finish;
- the completeness of the original interior forms, fabric, and religious furnishings, including stained glass windows, pulpits, altars, communion rails, lecterns, seating, and specific religious decorations;
- the pressed metal finish in the sanctuary.

Key elements that contribute to the heritage value of Ste. Anne’s Roman Catholic Church include:
- the rectangular massing under a gable-ended, pitched roof with a central bell tower;
- the corner towers with projecting spires on the front façade;
- the round-headed double entry door into the bell tower and vestibule;
- the regularly placed, round-headed fenestration on the side elevations;
- the log construction;
- the wood siding finish;
- the completeness of the original forms, fabric, and religious furnishings, including stained glass windows, pulpits, altars, communion rails, lecterns, seating, and specific religious decorations;
- the domed semi-circular sanctuary;
- the rear stairwell to the bell tower with its carved handrail;
- the evidence of local craftsmanship in the folk art decoration.

Key elements that contribute to the heritage value of the cemeteries include:
- the double-bar fences marking the limits of the cemeteries;
- the square, front entrance gates surmounted by a cross;
- the spirit houses in form of decorated wooden, pitched-roofed grave houses;
- the individually crafted fences made primarily of wood and the religious symbols, such as crosses, associated with specific graves;
- the inscriptions on grave markers.

Key elements that contribute to the heritage value of Ste. Anne’s Rectory include:
- the footprint, foundation and remains.

Recognition

Jurisdiction

Federal

Recognition Authority

Government of Canada

Recognition Statute

Historic Sites and Monuments Act

Recognition Type

National Historic Site of Canada

Recognition Date

1992/06/04

Historical Information

Significant Date(s)

1890/01/01 to 1973/01/01

Theme - Category and Type

Function - Category and Type

Current

Religion, Ritual and Funeral
Mortuary Site, Cemetery or Enclosure
Religion, Ritual and Funeral
Religious Facility or Place of Worship

Historic

Religion, Ritual and Funeral
Mission

Architect / Designer

n/a

Builder

n/a

Additional Information

Location of Supporting Documentation

National Historic Sites Directorate, Documentation Centre, 5th Floor, Room 89, 25 Eddy Street, Gatineau, Quebec

Cross-Reference to Collection

Fed/Prov/Terr Identifier

328

Status

Published

Related Places

n/a

SEARCH THE CANADIAN REGISTER

Advanced SearchAdvanced Search
Find Nearby PlacesFIND NEARBY PLACES PrintPRINT
Nearby Places