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St. Paul, Alberta, T0A, Canada

Formally Recognized: 1984/05/18

Old St. Paul Rectory Provincial Historic Resource, St. Paul (June 2005); Alberta Culture and Community Spirit, Historic Resources Management Branch, 2005
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Construction Date(s)


Listed on the Canadian Register: 2007/02/06

Statement of Significance

Description of Historic Place

The Old St. Paul Rectory is a two and one half-storey building situated on an expansive lot near the downtown core of the Town of St. Paul. Constructed in 1896, the building features symmetrical massing, a three sided galerie (covered veranda) on the ground floor, and a pedimented portico on the second storey.

Heritage Value

The heritage value of the Old St. Paul Rectory lies in its association with the last major effort of the Roman Catholic Church in Alberta to provide an agricultural settlement for the Metis people. It also possesses heritage value for its fine Canadian French-Colonial architecture.

During the mid- to late-nineteenth century, the Roman Catholic Church in Alberta established several mission sites devoted to the Metis people. Spearheaded by the Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate religious order, these missions were intended to serve the Metis' spiritual needs and facilitate their transition from a hunting and trading lifestyle to a sedentary, agricultural form of economy. In 1892, the legendary missionary Father Albert Lacombe began lobbying the federal Conservative government for assistance in establishing an agricultural settlement for the Metis. St. Paul-des-Metis became a reality in 1895, when the Dominion government leased four townships of land to a syndicate which included the Bishop of St. Boniface and the Bishop of St. Albert. With Lacombe as Superintendent and Treasurer and Father Joseph-Adeodat Therien as manager, the new settlement grew into a modest community of thirty families containing a sawmill and industrial school. The Sisters of the Assumption also came to the settlement to serve its inhabitants. A chronic lack of funding and a number of calamities, including a fire that destroyed the school, led to the abandonment of the site as a Metis agricultural community and its opening to general settlement in 1909.

The Old Rectory at St. Paul was built in 1896 as the administrative centre for the Oblate priests at the new settlement. The building's design embodies the nineteenth century, Canadian French-Colonial architectural vision, a marriage of seventeenth century French colonial architectural elements with features of the eighteenth and nineteenth century classicism prevalent in the English colonies. The three-sided wooden galerie (covered veranda) and the general lack of exterior ornamentation represent the French colonial architectural tradition, while the building's symmetrical massing, Palladian-like proportions, and Georgian style pedimented portico express the layering of classicist British colonial design sensibilities into those of French Canada.

Source: Alberta Culture and Community Spirit, Historic Resources Management Branch (File: Des. 1172)

Character-Defining Elements

The character-defining elements of the Old St. Paul Rectory include such features as:
- mass, form, scale, and style;
- gable roof with corbelled chimney and gable-roof dormer;
- horizontal wood drop siding;
- three-sided covered veranda, included simple, square column supports and gently sloping awning;
- second storey pedimented portico above the main entrance leading to balustraded porch;
- fenestration pattern.




Recognition Authority

Province of Alberta

Recognition Statute

Historical Resources Act

Recognition Type

Provincial Historic Resource

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
Peopling the Land

Function - Category and Type



Religion, Ritual and Funeral
Religious Facility or Place of Worship

Architect / Designer




Additional Information

Location of Supporting Documentation

Alberta Culture and Community Spirit, Historic Resources Management Branch, Old St. Stephen's College, 8820 - 112 Street, Edmonton, AB T6G 2P8 (File: Des. 1172)

Cross-Reference to Collection

Fed/Prov/Terr Identifier




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