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Listed on the Canadian Register:
Statement of Significance
Description of Historic Place
Notre Dame de Lourdes (Our Lady of Lourdes) Roman Catholic Church is a late nineteenth century, one and one-half storey building situated in the hamlet of Lamoureux near Fort Saskatchewan. The church design was inspired by French-Canadian models and features a gable roof, bell tower and spire, as well as a large Palladian window and niche with statue of Mary on the front facade.
The heritage value of Notre Dame de Lourdes (Our Lady of Lourdes) Roman Catholic Church lies in its association with the religious life of early French-Canadian settlers in the province and its embodiment of an influential style of French-Canadian ecclesiastical architecture.
In the early 1870s, French-Canadian brothers Joseph and Francois Lamoureux were persuaded by a Canadian Pacific Railway (C.P.R.) surveyor to leave Kamloops and seek their fortunes along the North Saskatchewan River valley. They arrived at a site on the north banks of the river near present day Fort Saskatchewan in 1872 and erected some rudimentary structures. Over the next two years, other members of the Lamoureux family were brought to the area from Quebec and the nucleus of one of Alberta's earliest French-Canadian settlements evolved. The Lamoureux family included some of the first farmers, craftsmen, and entrepreneurs in the province; they were instrumental in the growth of their community, establishing a sawmill, gristmill, and ferry for the fledgling settlement and purchasing a sternwheeler for transporting lumber along the North Saskatchewan River. In 1877, Joseph Lamoureux purchased River Lot Sixteen for $100.00 and a log chapel was erected on the site. The growth of the community over the succeeding years necessitated the construction of a new place of worship; under the leadership of Father Ernest Dorais, funds were raised for a new church and construction began in 1902. The building was blessed and dedicated to divine service on February 15, 1903 - the anniversary of the apparitions of the Virgin Mary at Lourdes. The parish received its name from Bishop Vital Justin Grandin, who reputedly was cured of an excruciating ear ache through the intercession of Mary. He dedicated this church in her honour.
Notre Dame de Lourdes (Our Lady of Lourdes) Roman Catholic Church expressed the French-Canadian religious and aesthetic sensibilities of its parishioners. Designed by Montreal architect Monsieur Venne, the church reflects the nineteenth-century French-Canadian parish church style associated with prominent architect Thomas Baillairge. This style marries elements of traditional French-Canadian architecture with aspects of the Georgian and Neo-Classicist styles. The small, basilican plan of the building and its tall central spire recall some of the medieval church elements incorporated into the French-Canadian ecclesiastical style, while the Palladian window on the front facade was a Georgian style embellishment commonly employed by Bailliarge in his designs. In 1928, a significant, though sympathetic, addition was made to the rear of the building and the interior was redecorated. Multi-coloured glass was added at this time, as well as new pews. The church maintains its character as an expression of French-Canadian religious sensibilities through its continuity with the building traditions of Quebec and its association - through the church's name, statuary, and miniature grotto - with devotion to the Virgin Mary, a historically significant form of religious veneration in French Canada.
Source: Alberta Culture and Community Spirit, Historic Resources Management Branch (File: Des. 429)
The character-defining elements of the Notre Dame de Lourdes (Our Lady of Lourdes) Roman Catholic Church include such features as:
- mass, form, and style;
- gable roof crowned by central belfry featuring square base, four-sided open lantern with arch motif, and pyramidal spire crowned by cross;
- horizontal wood siding;
- double entrance doors enclosed in an arch with semi-circular glass fanlight;
- symmetrical Palladian-style window above doorway arch;
- niche containing statue of Our Lady of Lourdes;
- fenestration pattern, including rectangular windows topped by rounded arches on the sides of the building;
- basilican floor plan (nave, aisles and apse);
- large rounded arches dividing the interior of the church into nave and side aisles;
- faux marble columns extending from Doric-inspired bases with capitals supporting semi-circular arches;
- two faux marble columns flanking entrance and extending through open choir loft to the ceiling;
- original interior elements, including furnishings, artifacts, mouldings, and trims;
- miniature grotto beside the church.
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. 429)
Cross-Reference to Collection