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Old St. James Anglican Church

540 Tylehurst Street, Winnipeg, Manitoba, R3G, Canada

Formally Recognized: 1998/01/27

Primary elevations, from the southwest, of Old St. James Anglican Church, Winnipeg, 2005; Historic Resources Branch, Manitoba Culture, Heritage and Tourism, 2005
Primary Elevation
Contextual view, from the east, of Old St. James Anglican Church, Winnipeg, 2005; Historic Resources Branch, Manitoba Culture, Heritage and Tourism, 2005
Contextual View
Interior view of the nave of Old St. James Anglican Church, Winnipeg, 2005; Historic Resources Branch, Manitoba Culture, Heritage and Tourism, 2005
Interior View

Other Name(s)

Old St. James Anglican Church
St. James Anglican Church

Links and documents

Construction Date(s)

1853/01/01 to 1853/12/31

Listed on the Canadian Register: 2006/02/01

Statement of Significance

Description of Historic Place

Old St. James Anglican Church, a log and milled-timber structure built in 1853 on a ridge above the Assiniboine River, stands on a tree-sheltered site within a highly developed mixed-use area of west-central Winnipeg. The provincial designation applies to the church, its cemetery and the large river lot they occupy.

Heritage Value

Old St. James Anglican Church is the oldest surviving wooden church in Western Canada and the first of its type built in Manitoba in a formal Gothic Revival style, which set a template for many later churches throughout the province. The solid building, erected by volunteers, also is a rare mid-1800s example of the Red River frame method of log construction. The church's development under the leadership of Rev. W.H. Taylor created a focal point for settlement in the community of St. James and established one of the first parish churches for Anglicans living along the western or Assiniboine River arm of the expanding Red River Colony. Caringly restored in 1967 and still used for summer services, the church remains a prominent architectural, historical and religious landmark - one that, with its cemetery, presents an island of pioneer simplicity amid the contemporary bustle of its urban surroundings.

Source: Manitoba Heritage Council Minutes, January 13, 1996

Character-Defining Elements

Key elements that define the site character of the landmark Old St. James Anglican Church include:
- its location on the north bank of the Assiniboine River between Tylehurst and Doreen streets, well set back from Portage Avenue, one of Winnipeg's main thoroughfares
- the church's east-west alignment, facing west, within a grassed and treed cemetery holding many pioneer gravesites

Key elements that define the building's wooden construction and Gothic Revival style include:
- its simple one-storey rectangular form and vertical proportions, with a steeply pitched gable roof and neatly ordered facades marked on the long sides with pilaster shapes
- the south-side vestry with a short gable roof that matches the slope of the main roof
- the honest expression of materials, including the Red River frame assembly of hand-hewn oak logs, horizontal board siding painted traditional white with contrasting trim, a tall brick chimney and a wooden bellcote with a pavilion roof perched on the ridge over the front elevation
- modest Gothic Revival features such as the pointed arch around the entrance; single and three-part pointed windows with hood-mouldings, most containing single-hung sashes, clear panes and Y-tracery; the Celtic cross atop the bellcote; etc.

Key internal elements that define the church's heritage character include:
- the largely unaltered, straightforward plan incorporating a small front vestibule, wide centre-aisle nave and raised chancel with a wood railing in front of the altar
- the plain finishes and materials, including the exposed timber walls, flat painted ceiling with exposed crossbeams, hardwood flooring, etc.
- the Gothic Revival details carried through from the exterior, including a tall pointed arched vestry opening that matches the height of the nave windows, the delicate rose- and gold-coloured stained-glass panel of the three-part east window and one stained-glass window on the south side
- basic religious furnishings and fixtures such as the planed board pews and kneelers with buffalo hide, the 1909 electric light fixtures, the handmade altar, 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
Religion, Ritual and Funeral
Mortuary Site, Cemetery or Enclosure


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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