Description of Historic Place
Ste. Anne Roman Catholic Church, a sprawling brick complex with a high metal spire, erected in 1895-98 and expanded in 1915, occupies a large site adjoining the Seine River and historic Dawson Road in Ste. Anne. The municipal designation applies to the church structure.
Ste. Anne Roman Catholic Church, a Romanesque Revival-style complex in one of the oldest parishes in southeastern Manitoba, is an ambitious example of the type of churches built in Franco-Manitoban communities at the turn of the twentieth century. The substantial brick edifice, symbolically cruciform in plan and designed by Joseph-Azarie Senecal, then the architect of choice for local Roman Catholic facilities, presents a stately visage from its spacious site in the centre of Ste. Anne. Equally impressive is the church's interior, including its elegantly appointed nave and sanctuary paintings by internationally renowned artist Leo Mol. Also valued for its historical significance, this church serves a parish established in the pre-Confederation era (1859) by Father Joseph LeFloch to minister to Metis and French settlers (many of whom are buried in the adjacent cemetery), and is situated on the Dawson Road, part of the first surveyed all-Canadian route between Lake Superior and the Red River district.
Source: Town of Ste. Anne By-law No. 6-2005, January 10, 2006
Key elements that define the landmark character and historic significance of the Ste. Anne Roman Catholic Church site include:
- its scenic central location in Ste. Anne near a stand of massive oaks on the Seine River
- the ongoing relationship with the church cemetery whose markers stand on the east and south sides of the church
- the building's placement within a large grassed lot, set back from Avenue Centrale (Dawson Road), with its front facing north toward the business district
Key exterior elements that define the structure as a substantial, Romanesque Revival-style parish church include:
- the expansive, carefully arranged massing, based on a cruciform plan, including an elongated nave under a steeply pitched gable roof, an apse and transepts with hipped roofs, and east and west vestibules with flat roofs, all clothed in buff-coloured brick
- the square entrance tower, slightly projected through the front gable end to support a classically inspired belfry and slender polygonal spire, both of white pressed metal
- the symmetrical composition of the front and side elevations, with bays clearly demarcated by pilasters and corbelled brickwork, and the front bound by corner pilasters capped by metal belfries with pinnacles
- the repetitive use of round-arched openings, including large nave windows, pairs of facade windows, a Palladian-style tower opening, the belfry and gable dormer openings, the double-door main entrance, etc.
- the generally smooth brickwork contrasted by articulated brick highlights such as corbelled mouldings, voussoirs, belt courses, drip-moulding, niches, a tall chimney, etc.
- fine features such as the front's balustrade parapet, the side vestibules' lintelled doorways and patterned parapets, the belfry's pinnacles and geometric details, the spire's blind lucarnes, etc.
- the south annex (1915), of complementary design and materials, and with flat-headed doorways and windows, including a 1½-storey section with a high hipped roof and dormers and a one-storey chapel
Key elements that define the church's impressive interior character include:
- the logical inner order of the voluminous spaces, including the narthex (front vestibule), nave with a wide centre and side aisles, transepts and raised sanctuary
- the north-end balcony extended in a semicircle over the nave on arcades with square columns and accessed by staircases off the narthex and east transept
- the high coffered nave ceilings
- the many fine details, including arched window surrounds, smooth plaster walls, delicate wood trim, a subdued colour palette, the Classical column capitals, the balcony balustrade, wood pews, etc.
- the exquisite religious murals, motifs and icons, including the wooden sculpture and sanctuary paintings of Ste. Anne, the four stained-glass windows, etc.