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St. Mary's la Prairie Anglican Church

36 Second Street SW, Portage la Prairie, Manitoba, R1N, Canada

Formally Recognized: 2003/01/23

Primary elevations, from the southwest, of St. Mary's la Prairie Anglican Church, Portage la Prairie, 2005; Historic Resources Branch, Manitoba Culture, Heritage and Tourism, 2005
Primary Elevation
View of the bellcote, from the northwest, of St. Mary's la Prairie Anglican Church, Portage la Prairie, 2005; Historic Resources Branch, Manitoba Culture, Heritage and Tourism, 2005
View of the chancel of St. Mary's la Prairie Anglican Church, Portage la Prairie, 2005; Historic Resources Branch, Manitoba Culture, Heritage and Tourism, 2005
Chancel View

Other Name(s)

St. Mary's la Prairie Anglican Church
Église anglicane St. Mary's
St. Mary's Anglican Church

Links and documents

Construction Date(s)

1897/01/01 to 1897/12/31

Listed on the Canadian Register: 2006/01/19

Statement of Significance

Description of Historic Place

St. Mary's la Prairie Anglican Church, a stone structure built in 1897, stands as a focal point in a historic residential neighbourhood near Portage la Prairie's business district. The site's provincial designation applies to the church, the church hall and the side lot it occupies.

Heritage Value

St. Mary's la Prairie Anglican Church, designed by accomplished Winnipeg architect H.S. Griffith, is one of Manitoba's finest examples of late nineteenth-century Gothic Revival architecture. The church, the third built for the parish, also has important associations with Reverend William Cockran who founded the Parish of Portage la Prairie in 1851 and whose work through the Church Missionary Society helped establish the Anglican Church in the West. St. Mary's is an especially ambitious structure with finely crafted rough stone walls, the characteristic Gothic vocabulary of pointed arches and an impressive interior. It also is one of the best examples of its era's taste for picturesque invention, as revealed by its light-hearted flared roof, open bell assemblage and curved buttresses on the porch.

Source: Manitoba Heritage Council Minute, January 13, 1996

Character-Defining Elements

Key elements that define the heritage character of the St. Mary's la Prairie Anglican Church site include:
- the structure's placement on a wide grassed lot on 2nd Street SW, in a traditional east-west alignment, with its front and entrance porch facing west

Key exterior elements that define the building's Gothic Revival style and picturesque qualities include:
- the one-storey rectangular form, tall vertical proportions and steeply pitched gable roof with flared eaves
- the northwest corner porch and eastern apse with polygonal roofs that match the slope of the main roof
- the open bell-cote housed in a unique assemblage of stone and wooden forms extending upward from the front north wall
- the finely crafted stonework, including random-coursed limestone walls and the stone foundation, buttresses, bell-cote supports, arched window heads and sills
- Gothic Revival features such as pointed arches around the windows, louvred opening and the porch's double entrance doors, the Y-tracery in the main west window and the trefoil detailing
- other features and finishes such as the decorative wooden roof brackets, a Celtic cross on the roof's ridge, etc.

Key elements that define the building's impressive interior character include:
- the largely unaltered spaces of the front vestibule, the nave with a high, dark-stained collar-braced ceiling and wide centre aisle, and the raised apsidal chancel with side alcoves
- the Gothic Revival details carried through from the exterior, including the pointed arched window surrounds, chancel arch and openings to the alcoves, the stained-glass memorial windows with deep reveals, the trefoil detailing in the ceiling, altar and wooden pews, etc.
- other fine finishes and furnishings such as the hardwood flooring and plastered walls, the chancel's dark-stained wood ceiling, the dark-stained wood altar, an elaborate pipe organ, etc.




Recognition Authority

Province of Manitoba

Recognition Statute

Manitoba Historic Resources Act

Recognition Type

Provincial Heritage Site

Recognition Date


Historical Information

Significant Date(s)


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

H.S. Griffith



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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