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Elementary School

240 1st Ave, Gravelbourg, Saskatchewan, S0H, Canada

Formally Recognized: 1986/05/07

Front facade of the Elementary School.; Government of Saskatchewan, Lisa Dale-Burnett, 2004.
Front facade, 2004.
View of the former chapel of the Elementary School.; Mike Fedyk, 2006
Interior view, 2006.
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Other Name(s)

Elementary School
Gravelbourg Elementary School
Convent of Jesus and Mary
Thevenet College
Gravelbourg Library

Links and documents

Construction Date(s)

1917/01/01 to 1927/12/31

Listed on the Canadian Register: 2007/03/15

Statement of Significance

Description of Historic Place

The Elementary School is a Municipal Heritage Property located at 240 First Avenue in the Town of Gravelbourg. The property features a large four-storey brick-and-Tyndall Stone structure, built between 1917 and 1918. It is linked by rotundas to two three-storey wings, built between 1926 and 1927. The property also includes fenced, landscaped grounds.

Heritage Value

The heritage value of the Elementary School resides in its architecture and ornate interior decorations. The building was designed by the prominent French Canadian architect J.E. (Joseph) Fortin who was responsible for the design of several other major Roman Catholic properties, including the Our Lady of Assumption Roman Catholic Co-Cathedral. The building’s exterior and interior proportions portray Classical Revival influences, including symmetry, monumental proportions and pediments above the main entrance. The building also reflects traditional French-Canadian architectural details,such as the mansard roof, and a Baroque influence, evident in the design of the vestibule. Significant interior features include the two-storey former chapel. This large room includes two balconies and a choir loft, and features Corinthian columns.

The heritage value of the property also resides in the exterior materials that relate the Elementary school to other prominet Gravelbourg buildings. The exterior is clad in Claybank brick, Tyndall Stone, glass and wood materials, which were used to construct the structure between 1917 and 1918 and used to add two wings to the original building in 1926 and 1927.

The heritage value of the Elementary School also lies in its association with the development of education in the Gravelbourg district as it related to the roles of the Roman Catholic Church and its religious orders. The property was built by the Sisters of Jesus-Mary under the direction of Mother Sainte-Emilenne (Alma Trudel) to meet the growing educational needs of the Gravelbourg area during the settlement era. The Sisters operated the property as a non-denominational public school, girls’ boarding school and convent until 1971, when it was sold to the Gravelbourg School Division. Sisters trained at the facility played educational roles in several other southern Saskatchewan communities including Meyronne, St. Victor, Lisieux and Coderre. The building dwarfed most schools in rural Saskatchewan and its size reflected the importance the Roman Catholic Church placed on education and also served as a statement of the Church’s influence.

Source:

Town of Gravelbourg Bylaw 819/86.

Character-Defining Elements

The heritage value of the Elementary School resides in the following character-defining elements:
-those elements constructed from Claybank brick, Tyndall Stone, glass and wood building materials, such as the building’s exterior and interior walls as well as its original windows, interior hardwood floors, hand-crafted wooden balustrades and balusters, railings, panelling, doors and doorways;
-those features that reflect the influences of the Classical Revival style of architecture, such as the symmetrical design, monumental proportions, the pediments, entablature, lintels, parapets, cornices, projected bays, rounded-arch windows and doors as well as the interior features including the Corinthian columns and capitals in the former chapel and decorative features of the vestibule;
-those features that reflect traditional French-Canadian architectural details, such as a mansard style silver metal roof with dormer windows;
-decorative features such as the Corinthian influences found in the columns, ceiling, oratory and sanctuary in the former chapel as well as the oak railings around the balconies in the former chapel and the proscenium arch above the stage in the basement auditorium;
-those features that speak to the role of the property as an educational institution and reflect its association with the Roman Catholic Church and the Sisters of Jesus-Mary such as the spatial composition of the original building and the south wing, the location of the building on its original site, its monumental size, the floor of the basement auditorium, which is inlaid with the monogram of the order, the inscription above the main entrance, the white cupola enclosing a pacard bell and topped with a large iron cross as well as the oak and brass communion rail, the sanctuary, oratory, nave and choir loft in the former chapel.

Recognition

Jurisdiction

Saskatchewan

Recognition Authority

Local Governments (SK)

Recognition Statute

Heritage Property Act, s. 11(1)(a)

Recognition Type

Municipal Heritage Property

Recognition Date

1986/05/07

Historical Information

Significant Date(s)

n/a

Theme - Category and Type

Building Social and Community Life
Religious Institutions

Function - Category and Type

Current

Leisure
Library
Education
Primary or Secondary School

Historic

Education
Composite School
Religion, Ritual and Funeral
Religious Facility or Place of Worship

Architect / Designer

Fortin, Joseph Ernest

Builder

E. Poole

Additional Information

Location of Supporting Documentation

Department of Culture, Youth and Recreation Heritage Resources Branch 1919 Saskatchewan Drive Regina, SK File: MHP 1081

Cross-Reference to Collection

Fed/Prov/Terr Identifier

MHP 1081

Status

Published

Related Places

n/a

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