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Trappist Monastery Guest House

100 rue des Ruins de Monastere, Winnipeg, Manitoba, R3G, Canada

Formally Recognized: 1990/03/30

View, from the northwest, of the Trappist Monastery Guest House, Winnipeg, 2005; Historic Resources Branch, Manitoba Culture, Heritage, Tourism and Sport, 2005
Northwest Corner View
View of the main entrance to the Trappist Monastery Guest House, Winnipeg, 2005; Historic Resources Branch, Manitoba Culture, Heritage, Tourism and Sport, 2005
Main Entrance
No Image

Other Name(s)

Trappist Monastery Guest House
S.N.A.C. (St. Norbert Arts Centre)
C.A.S.N. (Centre des arts de Saint-Norbert)

Links and documents

Construction Date(s)

1912/01/01 to 1912/12/31

Listed on the Canadian Register: 2006/01/12

Statement of Significance

Description of Historic Place

The Trappist Monastery Guest House is a three-storey wood-frame structure crowned with a mansard roof punctuated by dormers. Constructed in 1912 on the foundation of an 1892 building, the guest house, now home to the St. Norbert Arts Centre, is tucked away from the south Winnipeg community of St. Norbert in a thick veil of forest on the banks of the La Salle River. The provincial designation applies to the guest house and the lot it occupies, which forms part of a larger heritage complex in combination with the ruins of the monastery's church and monastic wing.

Heritage Value

The Trappist Monastery Guest House is the last remaining intact building on the original site of Notre Dame des Prairies, a monastery closely associated with the development of St. Norbert and the preservation of the French language and culture in the area. Operated from 1892 to 1978, this facility was both a contemplative setting and a substantial, self-sufficient mixed farm where the Trappists led productive, but austere lives. Their church, monastic wing and guest house formed the nucleus of the complex. Designed and built by the monks, the guest house is typical of the Second Empire style and standard layout of Roman Catholic eccliastical architecture in Canada. Its unadorned, restrained character further expresses the Trappists' Cistercian values that favour simple architecture and minimal decoration over worldly ostentation. This important site recalls one of only four Trappist monasteries established in Canada by the early twentieth century.

Source: Manitoba Heritage Council Minutes, March 30, 1990

Character-Defining Elements

Key elements that define the heritage character of the Trappist Monastery Guest House site include:
- its secluded and protected location on an oxbow of the La Salle River, on the southwestern edge of St. Norbert, surrounded by a wooded pocket of oak and elm
- the guest house's relationship to the limestone ruins of the complex's former church and monastic wing, placed somewhat apart to preserve the monks' solitude

Key elements that define the guest house's vernacularly interpreted Second Empire style include:
- the functional three-storey wood-frame structure with a rectangular plan and boxy massing
- the mansard roof of traditional French architecture with modest pedimented dormers on all sides
- the symmetrical facades with horizontal wood siding, historically accurate in white paint, with the exposed stone foundation dating from 1892
- the tall rectangular casement windows throughout and the minimal ornamentation and simple detailing

Key elements that define the building's modest interior layout, finishes and details include:
- the formal rectangular plan, with rooms running off a transverse central hall, high ceilings
- the largely intact second floor, composed of small, basic individual rooms
- the original wooden staircase positioned along the south wall, fully enclosed in its own stairwell
- the practical details and finishes, including some wainscotting, hardwood floors, period mouldings and hardware, doors with transoms, etc.




Recognition Authority

Province of Manitoba

Recognition Statute

Manitoba Historic Resources Act

Recognition Type

Provincial Heritage Site

Recognition Date


Historical Information

Significant Date(s)

1892/01/01 to 1978/12/31

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




Additional Information

Location of Supporting Documentation

Main Floor, 213 Notre Dame Avenue, Winnipeg MB R3B 1N3

Cross-Reference to Collection

Fed/Prov/Terr Identifier




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