Description of Historic Place
2241 Victoria Avenue, commonly known as First Baptist Church, is a Municipal Heritage Property occupying 1000 square metres located in downtown Regina, at the south-east corner of Victoria Avenue and Lorne Street, bordering Victoria Park. Classically detailed, the 1911-12, red-brick structure is distinguished by an entrance featuring giant Ionic columns.
The heritage value of 2241 Victoria Avenue lies in its status as the home of Regina’s First Baptist Church, one of the earliest Baptist congregations to be formed in the North-West Territories. Organized in September 1891 with a membership of fifteen people, the first church was built two months later on Cornwall Street between 11th and 12th Avenues. Due to strong growth in membership, plans for the construction of this church were made in 1907, but were not carried out until 1911.
The heritage value of 2241 Victoria Avenue also lies in its Classical Revival architecture with a Palladian stylistic influence, designed by Regina architect W.W. Hilton, First Baptist Church was constructed in 1911-12 by Smith Brothers and Wilson, a leading Regina construction company. Well-known for his large volume of residential commissions, the design of First Baptist Church also showcased this early, Regina architect’s talent for large-scale projects. With its classical detailing, intersecting axes, central massing, and dome, the structure displays a strong Palladian influence. First Baptist Church shares the distinction with Westminster United Church as being one of only two Classically-inspired churches in the city. Severely damaged by a tornado in 1912, it was repaired in a largely similar fashion, retaining its monumental portico, pedimented gables and reconstructed dome.
The heritage value of the property also resides in the structure’s interior architecture. Comprising the interior is a vast sanctuary which has seating capacity for 1000 people, and is notable for its lofty ceiling and clear span design, with sightlines unencumbered by supports. The austere interior is highlighted by panelled wraparound galleries, and panelled choir loft.
The heritage value of the church also resides in its contribution to the prominent and historic streetscape that borders Victoria Park. Centred within the downtown core, First Baptist Church is a major focal point within the city and is enhanced by relationship with Victoria Park, Regina’s central square.
City of Regina Bylaw No. 9295.
The heritage value of 2241 Victoria Avenue resides in the following character-defining elements:
-those historic exterior elements which reflect its Classical Revival architecture, such as its symmetrically, centrally massed plan with intersecting axes; cross gable roof, incorporating hip and flat roof sections, and a central dome; open portico with giant Ionic stone columns and entablature; ornamental front pediment window; leaded, stained glass windows, red, pressed brick cladding with smoothly finished limestone detailing, including window lintels, sills, door casings, cornice and belt course; a rusticated foundation; pedimented gables with denticulated pressed metal cornices; pilaster wall treatments with sandstone bases and capitals; an elevated front entrance and portico base with straight-flight steps leading to triple doorways;
-those elements which contribute to the historic architecture of the interior, such as the vast sanctuary with clear span design, lofty ceiling, sloped floor, wraparound galleries with panelled balustrades, an elevated pulpit, and panelled choir loft; an entrance vestibule containing staircases to the gallery; adjoining office space;
-those elements which pertain to its relationship to Victoria Park, such as its original location on Victoria Avenue facing Victoria Park to the north.