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St. Nicholas Ukrainian Catholic Church

Harrison, Manitoba, R0J, Canada

Formally Recognized: 1998/03/11

Primary elevations, from the southeast, of St. Nicholas Ukrainian Catholic Church, Rackham area, 2006; Historic Resources Branch, Manitoba Culture, Heritage and Tourism, 2005
Primary Elevations
Contextual view, from the northeast, of St. Nicholas Ukrainian Catholic Church, Rackham area, 2006; Historic Resources Branch, Manitoba Culture, Heritage and Tourism 2005
Contextual View
View of the interior of St. Nicholas Ukrainian Catholic Church, Rackham area, 2006; Historic Resources Branch, Manitoba Culture, Heritage and Tourism, 2005

Other Name(s)


Links and documents

Construction Date(s)

1933/01/01 to 1933/12/31

Listed on the Canadian Register: 2006/02/22

Statement of Significance

Description of Historic Place

St. Nicholas Ukrainian Catholic Church, completed in 1933, is a large wood-frame building set on farmland in the Sandy Lake area. The provincial designation applies to the church, its adjacent cemetery and the grounds they occupy.

Heritage Value

St. Nicholas Ukrainian Catholic Church, with its traditional tin-clad cupolas rising above mature evergreens, is a dramatic presence on a gently rolling rural landscape east of Sandy Lake. The imposing white structure, based on a cruciform plan, is a superb example of a large rural Ukrainian Catholic church, one strongly linked with the homeland and religious culture of the immigrants who built the area's first Ukrainian church on this site in the early 1900s. The delicately detailed, well-lit central dome overlooks an interior whose traditional blue and gold hues, faux marble detailing and fine iconography by P. Lypynsky lend authenticity and charm to this faithful recreation of a Ukrainian village church.

Source: Rural Municipality of Harrison By-law No. 2-98, March 11, 1998

Character-Defining Elements

Key elements that define the character of the St. Nicholas Ukrainian Catholic Church site include:
- its location on the highest point in the surrounding farmland and placement facing east, at the end of a long lane, behind a cemetery and a row of tall evergreens
- the short bell tower in white-finished concrete, matching concrete cemetery gate and tall metal cross

Key exterior elements that define the church's Ukrainian Catholic design heritage include:
- the imposing massing, based on a cruciform plan, with the nave, transepts and polygonal apse set beneath a moderately pitched cross-gable roof
- the vertical emphasis provided by three prominent banyas (bulbous domes) with cupolas, including the large central dome set on a octagonal drum over the crossing and two smaller domes atop square corner towers and octagonal drums on the front (east) elevation
- the unpretentious materials and finishes, including walls with light-coloured horizontal siding and tin cladding on the roofs and domes, etc.
- the symmetrical front facade with its twin corner towers, a centred double-door entrance sheltered by a gable roof and a pair of round-arched windows
- the simple fenestration, including modest round-arched windows with sashes of clear glass in plain wood surrounds, slightly smaller openings on the main dome and multi-paned oculi in the gables ends of the nave and transepts
- details such as the scrolled Latin crosses on each cupola, the corner wood pilasters, the fine dentils and scrolled trim under the eaves painted bright blue and gold, etc.

Key elements that define the building's enriched and symbolic interior character include:
- the four-frame cruciform plan, with the central dome open to the interior, providing a focal point from which the transepts, sanctuary and nave flow under high vaulted ceilings
- the rectangular combined narthex and nave, including a compact choir loft accessed by a stairway in the northeast corner and two sections of pews defined by a wide centre aisle and narrow side aisles
- the raised sanctuary in the apse, its semi-circular shape accentuated by a ribbed vault ceiling
- the varied materials and finishes throughout, including paper-based wall and ceiling panelling with simulated masonry finishes; carefully crafted wood trim, including ornate corner pilasters, with simulated marble finishes; plain wooden pews; a solid loft balustrade; wood flooring; etc.
- the extensive hand-painted religious symbols, including the traditional blue central dome ceiling with stars and icons, depictions of the four evangelists on the pendentives, icons on the sanctuary and transept ceilings, etc.




Recognition Authority

Local Governments (MB)

Recognition Statute

Manitoba Historic Resources Act

Recognition Type

Municipal Heritage Site

Recognition Date


Historical Information

Significant Date(s)


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


Architect / Designer




Additional Information

Location of Supporting Documentation

RM of Harrison 108 Main Street Box 220 Newdale MB R0J 1J0

Cross-Reference to Collection

Fed/Prov/Terr Identifier




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