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Immaculate Conception Church and Grounds Municipal Heritage Site

Cape Broyle, Newfoundland and Labrador, A0A, Canada

Formally Recognized: 2006/05/17

View looking west of Immaculate Conception Church and Grounds, Cape Broyle, NL. Photo taken July 2006. ; HFNL/Andrea O'Brien 2006
Immaculate Conception Church and Grounds
View of eastern and northerm facades of Immaculate Conception Church, Cape Broyle, NL. Photo taken July 2006. ; HFNL/Andrea O'Brien 2006
Immaculate Conception Church
View of Immaculate Conception Church and Grounds as seen when decending Cape Broyle Hill along the Southern Shore Highway. Photo taken August 2006. ; HFNL/Andrea O'Brien 2006
Immaculate Conception Church and Grounds

Other Name(s)


Links and documents

Construction Date(s)

1946/01/01 to 1947/01/01

Listed on the Canadian Register: 2006/08/30

Statement of Significance

Description of Historic Place

Immaculate Conception Church and Grounds include a mid-twentieth century church influenced by Gothic Revival style and surrounding lands located on Harbour Road in the community of Cape Broyle, NL. The church has a brick facade with twin, sharply peaked towers at the entrance and is bordered on one side by Cape Broyle Harbour and by mature trees and gardens on the other. The designation includes the church and a parcel of land surrounding it.

Heritage Value

Immaculate Conception Church and Grounds has been designated a municipal heritage site by the Town of Cape Broyle because of its historic, cultural and aesthetic value.

Immaculate Conception Church and Grounds has historic value as it is a physical testament to a way of life once common in small communities throughout Newfoundland and Labrador. When Cape Broyle needed a new church it was constructed with funds raised by the community and was built by local craftsmen. Reverend Michael Kennedy, Cape Broyle’s first parish priest, initiated the construction of Immaculate Conception Church. It was designed by St. John’s architect William J. Ryan and built between 1946 and 1947 under the direction of carpenter Jack Hoyles. Fr. Kennedy stated that the parish would not seek government assistance for the construction, that money could be raised by parishioners. This money came mainly from fish donated by fishermen on Sundays, Peter and Paul Day and Lady Day. Local merchants John J. O’Brien and Ronald J. O’Brien donated the use of their premises for curing the fish. Those who did not fish donated three percent of their wages for the month of July. The first sod was turned on May 12, 1946 by Patrick O’Brien, then 87 years old and the oldest resident of the community. Men came in their turn to dig out the basement and pour the concrete foundation. Paid labourers included carpenters, electricians, plumbers and plasterers. No monies were owed when the church was consecrated during Midnight Mass, Christmas Eve 1947. Such community efforts to erect public buildings were once a common practice in small communities. These projects speak to an earlier way of life which is waning in the face of centralized religious governance and regional concentration of places of worship.

The grounds associated with Immaculate Conception Church have historical value due to their connection with the Cashin family. The Cashin’s were prominent fish merchants in the community and their home was once located directly north of the church. The house and surrounding lands were later obtained by Immaculate Conception Parish.

Immaculate Conception Church and Grounds has cultural value for current Cape Broyle residents whose parents and grandparents contributed to the construction of the church and who continue to aid in the maintenance of the church and surrounding grounds. These efforts harken back to a time and place when religion played an important role in this almost exclusively Roman Catholic community.

Immaculate Conception Church and Grounds has aesthetic value as an example of an outport church incorporating Gothic Revival design elements, particularly in the use of Gothic windows. The church also contains spectacular stained glass donated by parishioners over the years. The collection includes Irish stained glass and works by Newfoundland artisans. The environmental setting is of further aesthetic value as the church is a prominent, well-known landmark. As reported in Fr. Kennedy’s diary, the site was chosen by architect William Ryan because the “front of the church would be seen just after passing the ‘Bill of the Cape’ at the entrance to the harbour and would also be exposed to the local road on the east side.” It is clearly visible descending Cape Broyle Hill on the Southern Shore Highway, from South Side Road, along Harbour Road and when approaching the community from the ocean. The grounds have aesthetic value as they contain two religious statues, the church bell and many mature, non-native trees that have remained untouched for over a century.

Source: Town of Cape Broyle Regular Council Meeting Motion 36/06 May 17, 2006.

Character-Defining Elements

All those features representative of the historic and cultural value of the site, including:
-cornerstone dated 1945;
-extensive collection of stained glass in church;
-placement of statues of the Sacred Heart and Virgin Mary on church grounds;
-placement of bell and supporting framework, and;
-associated lands with opens fields, mature trees and scrubs and related pathways.

All those exterior features representative of the style of the church, including:
-mid pitched gable roof;
-number of storeys;
-size, style, and placement of towers;
-exterior brick cladding;
-window size, style, trim and placement;
-wooden, multi-paned, pointed arch windows;
-pointed arch window openings;
-large round window in apse;
-size, style, trim and placement of exterior doors;
-location of entrances;
-chimney style and placement;
-location of vestry on right side facade, and;
-general massing of the structure.

All those features elements that define the building as a landmark including:
-location on Harbour Road;
-unobstructed view from Southern Shore Highway, South Side Road, Harbour Road and ocean approach;
-existing entrances to the site, and;
-dimensions, location and orientation of building.



Newfoundland and Labrador

Recognition Authority

NL Municipality

Recognition Statute

Municipalities Act

Recognition Type

Municipal Heritage Building, Structure or Land

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

William J. Ryan


Jack Hoyles and parishioners

Additional Information

Location of Supporting Documentation

Heritage Foundation of Newfoundland and Labrador
1 Springdale Street
St. John's, NL
A1C 5V5

Cross-Reference to Collection

Fed/Prov/Terr Identifier




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