Description of Historic Place
Built in the Dom Bellot style in 1954-1955, and located on the Irving Boulevard, in the centre of the municipality of Bouctouche, the Saint-Jean-Baptiste Catholic Church dominates the whole region.
The heritage value of the Saint-Jean-Baptiste Church as a local historic place resides mainly in its architectural interest, both in relation to the architect and to the style.
Québécois architect Edgar Courchesne (1903-1979), a faithful disciple of the style defined by monk and architect Dom Paul Bellot (1876-1944), is the architect of this place of worship considered to be a pure example of Dom Bellot-style architecture in Canada. Edgar Courchesne also trained under Bellot. He drew up the plans for many churches inspired by this dominant style in Quebec and in certain regions of the Maritimes from the 1940s to 1960s.
The heritage value of this site also stems from the importance of the works contained in the church. Its furnishings consist of works by many religious artists known in Canada, including Fernando Luchesi, Aurelio Hernandez, Antonin Hernandez, Joseph Guardo, Jean-Julien Bourgault, and Casavant.
Heritage value also lies in the history of its construction. The foundations of this church go back to 1926, when the basement was set up to serve as a temporary church. In the end, the basement was used as a place of worship until 1954. It was only then that Msgr. Désiré Allain saw to the building of this new church. For that work, he called on architect Edgar Courchesne and Acadian builder Abbey Landry. The blessing of the cornerstone of the Saint-Jean-Baptiste Church took place in 1955, the bicentennial year of the Acadian deportation, and the Church was consecrated in 1967, the centennial year of Canadian confederation.
Source: Kent Museum, 150 Du Couvent Road Bouctouche, N.B.
The character-defining elements associated with the Saint-Jean-Baptiste Church include elements associated with the building itself and the works it contains.
The elements associated with the building include:
- geographic location in the centre of the municipality;
- square bell tower with pointed spire and topped by an illuminated cross that dominates the region;
- façade with a triple portal entrance and a polyptych fenestration;
- segmented arches over the windows and arcades;
- relatively low profile roof;
- steel structure;
- five-bell chime made by Taylor (John Taylor Bell Founders);
- polygonal nave;
- colonnade in the sanctuary;
- oak trim.
The character-defining elements associated with the works of art it contains:
- statue of John the Baptist, made of marble from Carrara, Italy, decorating the façade;
- marble altars, balustrade, and staircases by Fernando Luchesi;
- metalwork by goldsmith Aurelio Hernandez;
- stained-glass windows by Antonin Hernandez;
- haut-reliefs by Joseph Guardo;
- oak bas-reliefs sculpted by Jean-Julien Bourgault;
- organ by Casavant Frères Limitée.