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Commemorative Church

Grand-Pré, Nova Scotia, Canada

Formally Recognized: 1992/05/14

Side view of the Memorial Chapel, showing the simple steeple set on the roof just behind the main entrance, and the steeply pitched copper roof with bell-cast eaves, 1991.; Canadian Parks Service, Atlantic Regional Office/ Service canadien des parcs, Bureau régional de l'Atlantique, 1991.
Side view
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Other Name(s)

Memorial Chapel
Commemorative Church
Chapelle commémorative

Links and documents

Construction Date(s)


Listed on the Canadian Register: 2005/07/05

Statement of Significance

Description of Historic Place

The dominant structure in Grand-Pré National Historic Site, the Grand-Pré Commemorative Church is a simple, rectangular-plan stone building with a steeply pitched bell-cast roof. It has a simple front-end gable, and above the large front double doors is a round window containing a stained glass depiction of the Acadian expulsion. The Church interior is illuminated by small arched windows, which pierce the sidewalls. The designation is confined to the footprint of the building.

Heritage Value

The Commemorative Church is a Classified Federal Heritage Building because of its historical associations, and its architectural and environmental values.

Historical Value:
The Commemorative Church in Grand-Pré is one of the best examples of a structure built to present and commemorate the Acadian expulsion as popularized in the poem of Evangeline by Henry Wordsworth Longfellow. The Grand-Pré site is commonly accepted as the location where the Acadians were held before the deportation. The site is also associated with the historian John Frederic Herbin, who formed the Grand-Pré Preservation-Restoration and Acadian-Longfellow Memorial Movement, with the aim of purchasing the present site and developing it as an Acadian memorial.

Architectural Value:
The Commemorative Church is a very good example of a structure built in the traditional Quebec manner. Its value lies in its emulated eighteenth century French Regime design, and in its French vernacular architectural influence, as exemplified by the flared eaves. Its value also lies in the very good quality of its materials and craftsmanship.

Environmental Value:
The Commemorative Church is the dominant structure in Grand-Pré National Historic Park and establishes the historic character of the area. It is a familiar and symbolic landmark to both residents and visiting tourists.

Sources: Shannon Rickets, Grand-Pré National Historic Site, Grand-Pré, Nova Scotia. Federal Heritage Buildings Review Office Report 91-168; Memorial Chapel / Commemorative Church, Grand-Pré, National Historic Park, Grand-Pré, Nova Scotia., Heritage Character Statement 91-168.

Character-Defining Elements

The character-defining elements of the Commemorative Church should be respected.

Its early settlement inspired design and good quality materials and craftsmanship as evidenced in:
- the simple rectangular plan;
- the simple steeple set on the roof just behind the main entrance, and the steeply pitched copper roof with bell-cast eaves;
- the twin stone chimneys of rough-cut fieldstone placed towards the rear of the building;
- the rough-cut fieldstone exterior walls;
- the unobstructed interior designed to act as a museum, with its barrel-vaulted
space, wide double doors, side windows and large round window with stained glass window over the entrance;
- the interior mouldings on the vault and wall with dentiled cornice and window surrounds.

The manner in which the Commemorative Church is an important symbolic landmark establishing the present character of the historic site within the scenic landscape of Grand-Pré National Historic Site.




Recognition Authority

Government of Canada

Recognition Statute

Treasury Board Heritage Buildings Policy

Recognition Type

Classified Federal Heritage Building

Recognition Date


Historical Information

Significant Date(s)


Theme - Category and Type

Peopling the Land
Canada's Earliest Inhabitants

Function - Category and Type


Religion, Ritual and Funeral
Religious Facility or Place of Worship


Architect / Designer

René-Arthur Fréchet



Additional Information

Location of Supporting Documentation

Indigenous Affairs and Cultural Heritage Directorate Documentation Centre 3rd Floor, room 366 30 Victoria Street Gatineau, Québec J8X 0B3

Cross-Reference to Collection

Fed/Prov/Terr Identifier




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General view

Grand-Pré National Historic Site of Canada

Grand-Pré National Historic Site of Canada is located at the former Acadian village of Grand-Pré, beside the upper Bay of Fundy, north of Wolfville, Nova Scotia. The site consists…


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