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St. Vital Church

20th Street, Battleford, Saskatchewan, S0M, Canada

Formally Recognized: 1985/08/19

View of church with river valley in background.; Government of Saskatchewan, J. Bisson, 2003.
Front and side elevations, 2003.
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Other Name(s)

St. Vital Church
St. Vital Roman Catholic Church

Links and documents

Construction Date(s)

1883/01/01 to 1883/12/31

Listed on the Canadian Register: 2007/02/28

Statement of Significance

Description of Historic Place

St. Vital Church is a Municipal Heritage Property located on a 1,820-square metre parcel of land overlooking the North Saskatchewan River in the Town of Battleford. The property features a one-storey, stucco-clad church with spire, constructed in 1883.

Heritage Value

The heritage value of St. Vital Church lies in its association with the historical beginnings of the Town of Battleford. Founded in 1877, the St. Vital Roman Catholic Parish is the oldest parish in the Diocese of Prince Albert. Led by Rev. Florent Hert, he erected a log chapel with straw roof on the south side of the Battle River in 1878. However, due to much flooding at this location, the current St. Vital Church was built above the Battle River Flats in 1883, overlooking the North Saskatchewan River. Constructed in the post-on-sill (Red River) frame method, the building demonstrates both the construction methods and the vernacular architecture of the era. The simple, rectangular building with gable roof provides the interior with a 5-metre ceiling, which gives the sanctuary a sense of opulence. Wainscotting and a wood-panelled ceiling bring a sense of worship to the virtually unadorned building. In 1894, a front porch was added and the building extended with a sacristy and annex at the back of the church, which required construction of a new altar. Decorative arched columns mark the original size of the sanctuary, and separate the altar from the congregation. In 1892, the post-on-sill construction was covered in wood siding and stuccoed in 1971. Among the five oldest known churches in Saskatchewan, it is also believed to be the oldest Roman Catholic church in the province.

Located on its original site overlooking the North Saskatchewan River, St. Vital Church is surrounded by green space and remains an important symbol of the community's early years.

Town of Battleford Bylaw No. 15/85.

Character-Defining Elements

The heritage value of St. Vital Church resides in the following character-defining elements:
-those features that reflect its vernacular church architecture, including its rectangular form, gable roof with centrally-placed wooden spire and cross, symmetrically-placed windows, rose window;
-interior elements that create a sense of worship, such as the wood-panelled ceiling, wainscotting, decorative arched columns, and 5-metre ceilings;
-post-on-sill method of construction;
-its location and unimpeded view overlooking the North Saskatchewan River.




Recognition Authority

Local Governments (SK)

Recognition Statute

Heritage Property Act, s. 11(1)(a)

Recognition Type

Municipal Heritage Property

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




Additional Information

Location of Supporting Documentation

Department of Culture, Youth and Recreation Heritage Resources Branch 1919 Saskatchewan Drive Regina, SK File: MHP 918

Cross-Reference to Collection

Fed/Prov/Terr Identifier

MHP 918



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