Historic Sites of Manitoba: St. Boniface Cathedral (190 Avenue de la Cathedrale, Winnipeg)

Link to:
Clerics | Photos & Coordinates | Sources

A modest plaque located in the northwest corner of the St. Boniface Cathedral Cemetery at the intersection of Tache Avenue with Avenue de la Cathedrale gives the dates of the five cathedral building that have occupied this site.

The first church, a simple log structure, was constructed in November 1818 by Father Joseph-Norbert Provencher. He dedicated it to Saint Boniface, the English missionary, monk and apostle who spread the Catholic faith among the Germanic tribes in the 8th century. Saint Boniface, the first permanent mission west of the Great Lakes, became the heart of Roman Catholic missionary activity extending to the Pacific and Arctic coasts, as well as serving the growing population of the Red River Settlement. The church was replaced in 1825.

In 1832, Provencher erected a cathedral surmounted by twin spires, and in 1862 a stone cathedral was built under the direction of Bishop Taché. On 15 August 1906, Archbishop Langevin blessed the cornerstone of what became one of the most imposing churches in Western Canada. Designed by the Montreal architectural firm of Marchand and Haskell, this structure, the best example of French Romanesque architecture in Manitoba, was constructed between 1906 and 1908 using structural steel provided by Dominion Bridge. It was gutted by an extensive fire on 22 July 1968, leaving its stone walls intact.

The present cathedral, blessed by Archbishop Baudoux in 1972, was designed by Franco-Manitoban architect Étienne Gaboury. It incorporates the sacristy, façade and walls of the former basilica. In the façade lie the tombs of the bishops of Saint-Boniface. A Heritage Canada Foundation National Award of Honour plaque on the right hand side of the original main entrance to the Cathedral acknowledges the work in preserving and integrating the main façade into the new building.

A bronze plaque near the main entrance of the old St. Boniface Cathedral, unveiled on 22 October 1944, honours the memory of Métis leader Louis Riel. The building is a municipally-designated historic site.





Wilfred Louis Jubinville (1872-1946)




Albert “Bert” Frechette (1934-2021)

Photos & Coordinates

St. Boniface Cathedral of 1863

St. Boniface Cathedral of 1863 (circa 1881)
Source: Archives of Manitoba, St. Boniface - Cathedral (1863), #13.

Postcard view of St. Boniface Cathedral

Postcard view of St. Boniface Cathedral (no date)
Source: Gordon Goldsborough, 2014-0167

Postcard view of interior of St. Boniface Cathedral

Postcard view of interior of St. Boniface Cathedral (no date)
Source: Gordon Goldsborough, 2014-0161

St. Boniface Cathedral

St. Boniface Cathedral (February 2012)
Source: George Penner

Aerial view of St. Boniface Cathedral

Aerial view of St. Boniface Cathedral (June 2021)
Source: George Penner

Louis Riel commemorative plaque

Louis Riel commemorative plaque (2010)
Source: City of Winnipeg

Cathédrale Saint-Boniface preservation plaque

Cathédrale Saint-Boniface preservation plaque (2010)
Source: City of Winnipeg

Site Coordinates (lat/long): N49.88930, W97.12240
denoted by symbol on the map above

See also:

Manitoba Business: Dominion Bridge Company

Memorable Manitobans: Étienne-Joseph “Steve” Gaboury (1930-2022)

Historic Sites of Manitoba: St. Boniface Cathedral Cemetery (Winnipeg)

Historic Sites of Manitoba: Provincially Designated Historic Sites

Historic Sites of Manitoba: Municipally Designated Historic Sites

Historic Sites of Manitoba: Gauthier Block (554 Des Meurons Street, Winnipeg)


“Steel business in western Canada,” Winnipeg Tribune, 26 June 1909, page 19.

Obituary [Albert Frechette], Winnipeg Free Press, 13 February 2021.

St. Boniface Cathedral, Manitoba Historic Resources Branch.

Information for this page was provided by The City of Winnipeg’s Planning, Property and Development Department, which acknowledges the contribution of the Government of Manitoba through its Heritage Grants Program.

We thank George Penner and Jordan Makichuk for providing additional information used here.

This page was prepared by Gordon Goldsborough.

Page revised: 23 February 2024

Historic Sites of Manitoba

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