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St. Paul's Anglican Church National Historic Site of Canada

Dawson, Yukon, Y0B, Canada

Formally Recognized: 1989/06/01

General view of St. Paul's Anglican Church, showing the rectangular massing under a steep gabled roof with truncated transepts, polygonal apse, and  tower with pyramidal, bell-cast roof.; Parks Canada Agency / Agence Parcs Canada.
General view
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Construction Date(s)


Listed on the Canadian Register: 2009/10/20

Statement of Significance

Description of Historic Place

St. Paul’s Anglican Church National Historic Site of Canada, located on the banks of the Yukon River, is a component of the Dawson Historical Complex National Historic Site of Canada, Yukon. This example of frontier mission architecture was built in 1902 in the Gothic Revival style, its simple volumes set under a steeply pitched roof. The rectangular building has a central tower attached to the west end, truncated transepts and a semi-circular apse. Regularly placed, pointed arch side windows light the nave, while rose windows are set high in the transept terminals. Modest ornamentation includes the dark-painted accent boards and “half timbering” boards on the upper section of the tower. Official recognition refers to the building on its legal lot at the time of designation (1989).

Heritage Value

St. Paul’s Anglican Church was designated a national historic site of Canada in 1989 because:
- it is a significant example of a mission church in the Gothic Revival Style.

Constructed in 1902 to serve the new settlement at Dawson, this small church is a significant example of frontier mission architecture. Its simple design blends Gothic Revival style elements, including stained glass windows and well-crafted woodwork, with an Arts and Crafts aesthetic. Other features include exposed roof trusses made of heavy timbers and transept-like side wings, which serve as a vestry, organ alcove, meeting and choir rooms. St. Paul’s, which took the place of an earlier log building, is also a symbol of the long-standing presence of Anglican missions in Canada’s North beginning here in the 1860s, ministering to Aboriginal peoples and later to miners and settlers.

Source: Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada, Minutes, November 1989, February 1990.

Character-Defining Elements

The key elements that contribute to the heritage character of this site include:
- its location in the administrative zone of Dawson;
- the rectangular massing under a steep gabled roof with truncated transepts, polygonal apse, and tower with pyramidal, bell-cast roof;
- the pointed arch entry through the tower;
- exterior detailing, including regularly placed Gothic arched windows, round-arched openings in the tower with blind arcade below, pointed arch plaque over the main entry, rose windows in the transepts, and Venetian window in the apse;
- the functional plan, comprising nave, chancel, sacristy and two-storey pseudo-transepts used as organ alcove, meeting/choir room and vestry;
- interior finishes and detailing including well-crafted woodwork evident in the exposed roof structure (composed of king-post roof trusses constructed of heavy timbers, purlins, v-joint diagonal boarding, chamfered truss beams, and decoratively-shaped corbels), wide mouldings around the windows, doors and the chancel arch, panelled double entry doors, and dado in the vestibule, plasterwork and stained glass;
- viewscapes of the surrounding Dawson Historical District cityscape, as well as views of the Yukon River and its surrounding landscape.




Recognition Authority

Government of Canada

Recognition Statute

Historic Sites and Monuments Act

Recognition Type

National Historic Site of Canada

Recognition Date


Historical Information

Significant Date(s)


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

James G. Purden



Additional Information

Location of Supporting Documentation

National Historic Sites Directorate, Documentation Centre, 5th Floor, Room 89, 25 Eddy Street, Gatineau, Quebec

Cross-Reference to Collection

Fed/Prov/Terr Identifier




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