Statement Banner

, MLA St. James
June 24, 2013

Old St. James Anglican Church

Mr. Speaker, the heritage buildings in our province stand as a beautiful testament to our unique history. One such building in the St. James community is the Old St. James Anglican Church, located across from Polo Park shopping centre. It is from this quaint little church that our community draws its name. The church is designated a provincial heritage site and it is no small wonder. Erected in 1853, it is the oldest log church in western Canada still in regular use.

Since being built, the Old St. James Anglican Church has borne witness to St. James's history. During the great flood of 1852, settlers camped on the site to escape the waters. The tower that once stood at the front of the church was used as a watchtower during the Riel rebellion of 1869-1870. This church served as the centre of daily parish life for many years and has seen baptisms, weddings and funerals in the community; 160 years after its construction, the Old St. James Anglican Church is still a wonderful community asset used in the summer for weddings, concerts and Sunday services. Their first service of the season was held this weekend, which I was delighted to attend.

It is essential that we preserve buildings like the Old St. James Anglican Church to help keep their historical legacy alive. The church still stands in St. James today thanks to the dedication and care of volunteers who have done a wonderful job of maintaining its integrity and its history. To help them in their efforts, the Manitoba government has committed $8,000 through the Community Places Program for repairs to the church's roof.

Mr. Speaker, we in Winnipeg are blessed to have many heritage buildings that remind us of the past yet continue to serve our communities in the present, remaining vital. I invite anyone taking a stroll through St. James this summer to stop and visit this beautiful piece of our collective history.

Thank you very much.