When settlers were first travelling to Canada in the 1800s, churches were often the focal point of communities. Since Manitoba sits on the doorstep of Eastern Canada, it was the starting point for many religions trying to make their way toward the west coast. Manitoba’s harsh winters and flood-filled springs didn’t make this trek easier on the settlers, and many churches had to be rebuilt multiple times between the original construction and what stands there today.

While Manitoba has grown culturally and physically, many of these churches are still standing on their original building sites. Here are 12 photos that show some of Manitoba’s most interesting historical churches.

St. John’s Cathedral

1920 and date unknown

St. John's Cathedral

Photo: Archives of Manitoba

St John's

Photo: Archives of Manitoba

St. John’s Cathedral is the birthplace of the Anglican Church in Western Canada. The first church on the site was the Church Mission House built in 1822 but washed away due to the flood of 1826. In 1833 a stone building replaced it, but in another flood in 1850 severely damaged it. The third church, built in 1862, was also made out of stone and was restored in 1926 to create the fourth and final building on the site.

St. Boniface Cathedral


St Boniface 1940

Photo: Winnipeg in Focus

The first St. Boniface Cathedral built in 1818 was a small log chapel and cathedral that was later destroyed in a building fire in 1860. Two years later, a new cathedral was built out of stone. In 1906, because of increasing popularity, an additional cathedral was built; however, this one was damaged in a 1968 fire leaving only the facade and walls of the old church in tact. In 1972, using stone from the original facade, the smaller church that stands there today was built.

Kildonan Presbyterian Church

Between 1905 and 1915

Kildonan Presbyterian Church

Photo: Archives of Manitoba

Kildonan Presbyterian Church2

Photo: Archives of Manitoba

In 1851, Reverend John Black came to Kildonan which caused the first Presbyterian Church in Western Canada to be built shortly after in 1854. In order to represent the faith and persistence of the first European settlers in the Prairies, the church is made of solid limestone. The Kildonan Community Church was vacated in 1988 and in 2005 the community began searching for ideas to keep the historical building standing. Eleven volunteers known as the Friends of Historic Kildonan Church are now set to restore the church, making repairs to its roof, walls and windows.

St. Clements Anglican Church


St. Clements

Photo: Archives of Manitoba

Construction for St. Clements Anglican Church started in 1860, and the first service was held in December 1861. The church is surrounded by a large cemetery that holds the graves of many of the founding families of Selkirk. The building is designed in the English Parish Gothic Revival style with a crenellated bell tower that was added in 1928.

Headingley Anglican Church


Anglican Church Headingley

Photo: Archives of Manitoba

The Hudson’s Bay company donated one lot and sold one lot to the Diocese of Rupert’s Land for religious purposes in 1853 and the Holy Trinity Church was built a year later. By 1862 the first Anglican school along with burial grounds in the surrounding area that hold the graves of early pioneers were established. A new church was completed in 1876 but was destroyed by a tornado just eight years later. The present Holy Trinity Church was completed in 1885.

All Saints Anglican Church


All Saints Anglican Church

Photo: Archives of Manitoba

The first All Saints Anglican Church was built in 1883 slightly to the east of where the church stands today, at Broadway and Osborne Streets in Winnipeg. The building was demolished when city plans called for the extension of Osborne Street north through the building. The replacement church was built in 1926 and featured a design by architectural firm Northwood and Chivers, which also helped design the Winnipeg Auditorium.

Grace Methodist Church


Grace Methodist

Photo: Winnipeg in Focus

In 1869 the expansion of Wesley Hall, the predecessor for the Grace Methodist Church, opened but the increase in population meant the church needed a building that could accommodate their needs. While the plans to build what is now known as Grace Church were delayed due to a grasshopper plague and the first Riel Rebellion, the building opened in September 1871. Although Grace Church was considered the mother church of Methodism in Western Canada — because of a large portion of the population relocated to the suburbs — demand declined and the building was demolished in 1955 to make way for a parking lot.

Holy Trinity Anglican Church

1884 and 1889

Holy Trinity Anglican Church 1884

Photo: Archives of Manitoba

holytrinitychurch 1889

Photo: Souvenir of Winnipeg, Manitoba

The first attempt at building the Holy Trinity Church was at the corner of Avenue and Garry Streets on land donated by the Hudson’s Bay Company. A violent snowstorm destroyed the incomplete structure and killed a worker who had been sleeping there overnight. The second wooden structure completed construction and opened for worship in November 1868. By 1870 the demand had already outgrown the small church, and it only continued to grow throughout the year. Steps were taken to enlarge the building in December 1870 and November 1875. In 1879, lots for a new building were purchased at the corner of Donald and Graham Streets, and the new church opened in August 1884.

St. Andrew’s On The Red Anglican Church


St Andrews Church 1858

Photo: Archives of Manitoba

The building for St. Andrew’s church completed in 1849 and was made to serve the local community of retired Hudson’s Bay Company personnel and English mixed bloods. The church’s cemetery holds the graves for many HBC officers and settlers in the area. A stone arch added after the First World War lists the names of those killed during military service.

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