ST. JEAN BAPTISTE CHURCH AND RECTORY
St. Jean Baptiste R. C. Church
St. Jean Baptiste Roman Catholic Church and Rectory
Baptiste Roman Catholic Church and Rectory
Links and documents
1894/01/01 to 1907/01/01
Listed on the Canadian Register:
Statement of Significance
Description of Historic Place
St. Jean Baptiste Church and Rectory are situated on single, large city lot on Morinville's Main Street. The early twentieth century church is an ornate brick building featuring a steep gable roof, tall central steeple with flanking towers, and stained glass windows. The rectory consists of a one and one-half storey mansard roof log building and a later two and one-half storey wood frame building, both of which have been clad in brick. The church and rectory maintain their association with the historic Notre Dame Convent, which is not included in this designation.
The heritage value of the St. Jean Baptiste Church and Rectory lies in their association with French religious culture in the province and their connection with the majestic architectural traditions of Quebec.
In 1891, Fr. Jean-Baptiste Morin led several francophone families to the Morinville area from Quebec. His new community was part of a colonization plan to encourage francophone settlement in the vast lands of Western Canada. The rapid development of ecclesiastical infrastructure testifies to the centrality of the Roman Catholic Church in the new town. The first chapel in Morinville was constructed the same year Fr. Morin and his followers arrived; three years later, the settlers built the community's first church. In 1907, they completed work on the majestic St. Jean Baptiste Church. The first mass was held in the building on January 1, 1908. The first rectory - a simple log structure constructed in 1895 - was moved and joined to a second building erected in 1912 to create the current rectory. Both the church and the rectory were faced with brick in the late 1920s.
St. Jean Baptiste Church is one of the most elaborate and ornate Roman Catholic churches in Alberta and reflects the nineteenth century French-Canadian ecclesiastical style associated with architect Thomas Baillairge. Marrying traditional French-Canadian church design with eighteenth century British and French classicism, Baillairge's architectural style was embodied in numerous Alberta churches. St. Jean Baptiste Church's tall central spire, layout and ornately carved interior elements all express dimensions of traditional French-Canadian church design. Classicist ideas are evident in the pediment, the Romanesque Revival window arches, and the arrangement of the triple tower scheme. This foundational template is supplemented with High Victorian Gothic features, including the layered striping, geometric patterning, and dramatic polychromatic design of the exterior. The combined effect of the church's various design elements is one of solemn grandeur, encouraging meditative reflection. The rectory's exterior mirrors many of the features of the church. The building's interior incorporates the original log presbytery built in 1895 as an extension on the north side.
Source: Alberta Culture and Community Spirit, Historic Resources Management Branch (File: Des. 431)
The character-defining elements of the St. Jean Baptiste Church and Rectory include such features as:
- spatial relationship between church and rectory;
- unobstructed view of church and rectory from Main Street.
St. Jean Baptiste Church exterior:
- symmetrical form and massing;
- steep gable roof, central steeple with pinnacles crowned by cross, and flanking towers surmounted by domes topped by crosses;
- diachromatic brickwork, quoins, semi-circular Romanesque Revival arches over windows, and decorative masonry elements;
- fenestration pattern, including symmetrical arrangement, stained glass elements, and south rose window;
- symmetrical arrangement of doors reflecting interior plan of central nave with flanking aisles;
- statue of Jesus Christ in recessed alcove.
St. Jean Baptiste Church interior:
- barrel vault over the nave and semi-dome over the apse;
- interior plan, columns, balconies, altar, and finishes;
- extensive pressed metal interior sheathing and details;
- ornate wall and ceiling murals surrounding altar;
- original furnishings, oil paintings, statuary, and woodwork.
St. Jean Baptiste Rectory:
- symmetrical form and massing;
- pyramidal roof with cross gables and crowning statue of St. Jean Baptiste;
- decorative masonry work, including segmental arches and diachromatic patterns;
- "ST JEAN BAPTISTE" letters above front door;
- fenestration pattern, including arched top, oriole windows, and gabled dormers.
North engaged structure of rectory:
- form, scale, and massing;
- log building sheathed with diachromatic brick;
- mansard roof, full east and west porches;
- fenestration pattern, including gable wall dormers.
Province of Alberta
Historical Resources Act
Provincial Historic Resource
Theme - Category and Type
- Building Social and Community Life
- Religious Institutions
- Expressing Intellectual and Cultural Life
- Architecture and Design
Function - Category and Type
- Religion, Ritual and Funeral
- Religious Facility or Place of Worship
Architect / Designer
Location of Supporting Documentation
Alberta Culture and Community Spirit, Historic Resources Management Branch, Old St. Stephen's College, 8820 - 112 Street, Edmonton, AB T6G 2P8 (File: Des. 431)
Cross-Reference to Collection