St. Boniface Hospital Nurses' Residence National Historic Site of Canada
St. Boniface Hospital School of Nursing Education Building
École des sciences infirmières de l’hôpital de Saint Boniface
Links and documents
1927/01/01 to 1928/01/01
Listed on the Canadian Register:
Statement of Significance
Description of Historic Place
St. Boniface Hospital Nurses' Residence National Historic Site of Canada is located in the Winnipeg neighborhood of St. Boniface. Completed in 1928, it served as both an educational facility and a residence for training professional nurses until the school closed in 1997. This five-storey brick buildings is distinguished by its utilitarian design, its symmetrical rectangular massing, regularly arranged windows, and flat roof. The formal recognition refers to the residence on its footprint.
The St. Boniface Hospital Nurses’ Residence was designated a national historic site in 1997 because:
- it commemorates the contribution of nurses and nursing to scientific medicine and to women’s agency as health care professionals;
- it speaks to the training and professionalism of nurses, to their social life, to the development of their unique culture and to the emergence of leaders in the field of nursing.
St. Boniface Hospital Nurses’ Residence represents the recognition and development of nursing as a profession. The School of Nursing at St. Boniface Hospital was founded by the Grey Nuns in Winnipeg in 1897. Constructed between 1927-1928, the St. Boniface Hospital Nurses’ Residence was purpose built to serve the school, and contains bedrooms, recreational space and classrooms. In the school’s modern classrooms, laboratory and library facilities, young student nurses received a modern, scientific education, critical to their professional careers. A movement away from housing the student nurses in hospital wings, which often exposed the students to unclean buildings, long hours and infectious diseases, purpose built nurses’ residences, such as the one at St. Boniface Hospital, represented the growing recognition accorded to nursing as a profession, as well as the granting of autonomous space for women in the public sphere. Separate from the demands of the hospital, the residence provided the students with an opportunity to develop as a profession and to form an internal community of women with common work and social interests. One of the best preserved nurses’ residences in Canada, the School of Nursing at St. Boniface Hospital ceased to exist in 1997. Currently the building serves as the St. Boniface General Hospital Residence and is affiliated with the University of Manitoba.
Source: Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada, Minutes, November 1997.
The key elements that relate to the heritage value of this site are:
- its location at the north end of the St. Boniface General Hospital complex;
- its five-storey massing and brick construction;
- its symmetrical form and utilitarian design, and the regular placement of the window openings;
- the exterior detailing including the limestone sills, and limestone coursing above and below the top storey windows, the heavier limestone course at the base of the first floor, the carved limestone trim and the pediment around the front entrance;
- the twinned limestone staircase leading up to the main entrance;
- the interior’s functional design that reflects its function as a group residence, a site of learning and leisure activity that includes the first floor layout, the well-preserved foyer and lobby that leads to a formal parlour;
- the surviving interior fittings, finishes and furnishings of the upper floors, especially the fourth and fifth, which have retained many of the original student bedrooms off the double loaded corridors;
- the original teaching theatre with stepped seating and expansive windows, as well as the original fittings, finishes and furnishings of the smaller classrooms, including the original blackboards;
- its bank of bronze-clad individual mailboxes with combination numbers, located in the basement;
- the original materials on the main floor, including the dark-stained ornamental wood trim around the structural openings, original hardware on windows and doors, and terrazzo floors.
Government of Canada
Historic Sites and Monuments Act
National Historic Site of Canada
1928/01/01 to 1997/01/01
Theme - Category and Type
Function - Category and Type
- Health and Research
- Hospital or Other Health Care Institution
- Special or Training School
- Group Residence
Architect / Designer
Location of Supporting Documentation
National Historic Sites Directorate, Documentation Centre, 5th Floor, Room 89, 25 Eddy Street, Gatineau, Quebec
Cross-Reference to Collection