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Oblats Maison Provinciale

Edmonton

Other Names:
La Maison Provinciale d'Alberta-Saskatchewan
Oblates Maison Provinciale
Oblate Provincial House

Statement of Significance

Description of Historic Place
The Oblats Maison Provinciale is a rectangular three and one-half storey brick building completed in 1929. It occupies one and one-half city lots in Edmonton's Oliver district. The building embodies the Renaissance Revival style and features a symmetrical front facade, projecting front entrance topped by a pediment, and a flat roof crowned by a cupola.


Heritage Value
The historical significance of the Oblats Maison Provinciale lies in its service to the Parish of St. Joachim's, the first Roman Catholic parish in Edmonton, and the Ecclesiastical Province of Alberta-Saskatchewan. It is also significant in its association with the "Mission Block" of west-central Edmonton and the district of Oliver that developed a distinctive Francophone character largely owing to its proximity to St. Joachim's. In addition, it is a very good example of the Renaissance Revival style that is uncommon in Alberta.

Les Peres Oblats de Marie Immaculees des Territoires de Nord Ouest were the first Catholic missionaries in the Canadian West. In 1883 they purchased a parcel of land from the Hudson Bay Company (HBC) about 3.2 kilometres west of the Company’s Fort Edmonton. The Oblates built St. Joachim's church and rectory on the newly acquired property, called the Mission Block.

After the arrival of the Calgary and Edmonton (C and E) Railway in 1891, Edmonton grew dramatically but St. Joachim's was still the only Roman Catholic church in town. In 1894, Father Albert Lacombe was transferred to St. Joachim's from St. Albert. A presbytery and a convent for the Faithful Companions of Jesus were built and a new church was constructed in 1889, all in anticipation of a wave of Francophone emigrants to Edmonton.

In 1912, the parish of St. Joachim detached from the Vicariate of St. Albert and became headquarters of the new Archdiocese of Edmonton. Nine years later, the Mission Block became the administrative headquarters of the new Ecclesiastical Province of Alberta-Saskatchewan. The Maison Provinciale was built between 1928 and 1929 to serve as offices and a rectory for St. Joachim's. One of the last important Oblate buildings in Alberta, it served as a provincial house and rectory until 1997.

Source: Alberta Culture and Community Spirit, Historic Resources Management Branch (File: Des 2053)


Character-Defining Elements
The heritage value of the Oblats Maison Provinciale lies in such character-defining elements of the Renaissance Revival style as:
- form, scale and massing;
- masonry of two-tone brick facade (Flemish bond) with keystones and belt courses of parged concrete;
- dome-roofed cupola sheathed in silver-coloured sheet metal;
- wide bracketed cornice at roof line;
- symmetrical fenestration pattern, nine-over-one wood rectangular windows on upper floors, and twelve-over-one round headed windows on main floor;
- enclosed pedimented front brick entrance porch with ordered entry and double wood doors;
- original plaster walls where extant;
- interior millwork including existing fir flooring and doors.


Location



Street Address: 9916 - 110 Street
Community: Edmonton
Boundaries: Lot 63 and a Portion of Lot 62, Block 10, Plan B
Contributing Resources: Buildings: 1

ATS Legal Description:
Mer Rge Twp Sec LSD
4
24
52
32
13 (ptn.)

PBL Legal Description (Cadastral Reference):
Plan Block Lot Parcel
B
B
10
10
63
62 (ptn.)



Latitude/Longitude:
Latitude Longitude CDT Datum Type
53.537884 -113.510805 GPS NAD 83

UTM Reference:
Northing Easting Zone CDT Datum Type

Recognition

Recognition Authority: Province of Alberta
Designation Status: Provincial Historic Resource
Date of Designation: 2001/10/19

Historical Information

Built: 1928 To 1928
Significant Date(s) 1928 To 1997
Theme(s) Building Social and Community Life : Religious Institutions
Historic Function(s): Religion, Ritual and Funeral : Religious Facility or Place of Worship
Current Function(s): Residence : Group Residence
Architect: Edward Underwood
Builder: J.P. Desrochers
Context: HERITAGE SIGNIFICANCE

When the Canadian Pacific Railway announced in 1879, that its favoured route through the Rocky Mountains was through the Yellowhead Pass, a minor land boom ensued on the plateau above Fort Edmonton in anticipation that the CPR would intersect this. Two years later, the Edmonton Settlement was subdivided. Though the CPR chose the Kicking Horse Pass instead, and extended its line past Fort Calgary, the Edmonton Settlement did not die, and the district around it began to fill up with homesteaders. Mindful of this, the Congregation of Oblates of Mary Immaculate purchased a block of land from the Hudson's Bay Company on the eastern portion of their reserve, just west of present day 109 Street. Though Edmonton was then part of the Vicariate of St. Albert, which was headquartered in St. Albert, the Oblates anticipated a large influx of Francophone settlers around Edmonton as well. They therefore constructed a wood frame church and a rectory on their newly acquired property called the Mission Block, in 1886. The parish was named St. Joachim, after the father of Mary Immaculate.

In 1891, the Calgary and Edmonton Railway arrived at South Edmonton and the following year Edmonton was incorporated as a Town. With its population growing steadily and a large Francophone community emerging within it, it was evident that a larger church would soon be needed. At the time, St. Joachim's was the only Roman Catholic church in town. In 1894, Father Lacombe was transferred to St. Joachim's and a new presbytery was built, along with a convent for the Faithful Companions of Jesus. Two years later, he presented plans for a large brick church, but because of insufficient funds, its construction was delayed. Father Lacombe was then replaced by Father Hippolyte Leduc, under whom 16,000 dollars was raised to build the new St. Joachim's Church, which still stands on 110 Street and 100 Avenue. It was dedicated on September 24, 1899. In 1912, the parish became headquarters of the new Archdiocese of Edmonton, with Bishop Legal of St. Albert moving in to become the new Archbishop. Nine years later, when the Oblates created the new Ecclesiastical Province of Alberta-Saskatchewan, the Mission Block on 110 Street was identified as the site for its headquarters.

For seven years, the presbytery of St. Joachim's served to accommodate the administrative work of the new Ecclesiastical Province. Finally, the Archbishop of Edmonton, Monsignor O'Leary, and the administrators of the Province agreed that a new building was needed. It was thus decided to use the empty lot between St. Joachim's Church and the convent of the Faithful Companions of Jesus for this purpose. In the spring of 1928, Edward Underwood was contracted to design, and J.P. Derochers contracted to build, a four-storey brick structure with could be used as both a provincial house and a rectory for St. Joachim's, with room enough to maintain both priests and administrators. It was to be called La Maison Provinciale d'Alberta-Saskatchewan. With work proceeding rapidly, the building was completed the following October. The first Provincial to serve from its offices was Monsignor Henri Grandin.

La Maison Provinciale's historical significance lies in its service to both the Parish of St. Joachim's and the Ecclesiastical Province of Alberta-Saskatchewan. As such, administrative decisions affecting the whole province were made from its offices. It is a also significant in its association with the Mission Block of west central Edmonton and the district of Oliver which developed a distinctive Francophone flavour over the years, due largely to its proximity to St. Joachim's.

Additional Information

Object Number: 4665-0995
Designation File: DES 2053
Related Listing(s):
Heritage Survey File: HS 6182
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. 2053)
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