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St. Alban's Anglican Church

Athabasca, Near

Other Names:
St. Alban's Anglican Church and Cemetery
St. Alban's Church

Statement of Significance

Description of Historic Place

Heritage Value

Character-Defining Elements


Street Address:
Community: Athabasca, Near
Boundaries: Portion of the southwest quarter of Section 31, Township 65, Range 22, West of the Fourth Meridian.
Contributing Resources:

ATS Legal Description:
Mer Rge Twp Sec LSD
4 (ptn.)

PBL Legal Description (Cadastral Reference):
Plan Block Lot Parcel

Latitude Longitude CDT Datum Type
54.661439 -113.332633 GPS NAD 83

UTM Reference:
Northing Easting Zone CDT Datum Type


Recognition Authority: Province of Alberta
Designation Status: Registered Historic Resource
Date of Designation: 1985/05/25

Historical Information

Built: 1914/01/01 To 1914/01/01
Significant Date(s) N/A
Historic Function(s): Religion, Ritual and Funeral : Religious Facility or Place of Worship
Current Function(s):

St. Alban's Anglican Church was one of a series of churches constructed in the Athabasca Landing area between 1912 and 1915 to serve the needs of the incoming settlers. These churches included Holy Trinity, Pleasant Valley; St. James, Pine Creek; St. Mark, Flat Lake and St. Andrew, Colinton.

Settlement of the area was underway as early as 1905, but completion of the Canadian Northern (CN) Railway branch line to Athabasca Landing in 1912 accelerated the process. One of the Anglican clergymen active in the area was Reverend Robert Little, whose visits led to the decision to build St. Alban's Church. Two acres of land were donated for use as a site and funds for the purchase of materials came from England. Volunteer labour under the direction of a local carpenter named Tarrant built the church. Construction was initiated in 1914 and then completed in August of 1915. The Reverend Little assisted Bishop Robins in the dedication service. Robert Little was later to play a prominent role in the Anglican Diocese of Athabasca as Archdeacon and Secretary Treasurer.

The parish was a quiet one, in which few exceptional events occurred. During the Great Depression, St. Alban's Church took its part in the provision of relief services. In 1937, for example, St. Alban's Church followed a member's suggestion and collected a boxcar of vegetables for shipment to destitute settlers at Hilda, Alberta. The parish history gives the impression of steady community participation, and the church helps to illustrate the Historic Sites Source Master Plan theme of settlement underway before World War One.


St. Alban's Anglican Church was modeled after the earlier frame mission church designs that were built throughout the western provinces during the latter half of the nineteenth century. Like St. Andrews Anglican Church in Gleichen, Alberta (1886) and McDougall Memorial United Church in Morley, Alberta (1872), St. Alban's is basilican in plan. It also has a gable roof adorned with a wooden, four sided bell turret. A gable roof porch is the defining feature of the west facade. The sanctuary (a square, frame structure) is attached to the main body of the church at the termination (or alter-end). Consistent with the Church of England's preference for the Gothic style, the upper frame of the rectangular sash window frames have been carved into pointed arches. This holds true for all three such windows on each side of the structure as well as the tripartite window in the termination wall. The effort to recreate a Gothic theme is also evident in the interior, as seen by the pointed chancel arch that divides the sanctuary from the nave of the church. Although not necessarily a Gothic Revival feature, the cemetery in the churchyard recalls a centuries old English tradition, as does the locally crafted stone and iron gateway surrounding the property. This modest, functional structure, built nearly twenty years after the Anglican church at Gleichen, is a testimony to the enduring nature of the mission church design in the rural west.

Additional Information

Object Number: 4665-0713
Designation File: DES 1171
Related Listing(s):
Heritage Survey File: HS 27295
Website Link:
Data Source: Alberta Culture and Community Spirit, Historic Resources Management Branch, Old St. Stephen's College, 8820 - 112 Street, Edmonton, AB T6G 2P8 (File: Des. 1171)
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