St. Mary's Cathedral Winnipeg

Our History

On June 15, 1869 St. Mary’s Chapel (Fort Garry Mission) established in the Grey Nuns Convent and school on Notre Dame St E. at Victoria, by Bishop Taché, OMI of St. Boniface Cathedral: River Lot 3 property bought from Wm Drever. This was the first Red River Settlement mission on the west side of the Red River in the village of Winnipeg in the district of Assiniboia, a district of the NW Territories, formerly called Rupertsland. It was to serve English speaking Catholics.

Fr. Joseph McCarthy, OMI, was the 1st Pastor, and founder of the parish. 
The move to St. Mary's Avenue

On September 1871, St. Boniface became an Archdiocese, with Taché as the first Archbishop.

In 1873, Winnipeg was incorporated as a city.

In 1874:
Mission of St. Mary moves to St. Mary Ave site - blessed by Archbishop Taché - 7 lots given (3 bought) to the Oblates of St. Boniface Archdiocese by HBC from their Reserve. The new church rectory had the mission chapel on the 2nd floor.

Sisters of the Holy Name replace the Grey Nuns at the school and the 1st St. Mary's Academy was built on the Notre Dame site.  The first pastors were Rev. JB Beaudin, OMI, and Rev. Albert Lacombe, OMI - famous missionary among the western aboriginals. 

St. Mary's School for Boys

In 1875, St. Mary's school for boys was built. The school was taken over by Fr. McCarthy, OMI, in 1878 when a new school was built on the north side. In 1880, the Brothers of Mary took over and the old school became their residence. In 1936, this building, located at 220 Hargrave Street, became the Catholic Central Bureau. 

Most Holy Name of Mary

April 16, 1876 - St. Mary's Parish canonically erected by Archbishop Taché under the invocation of the "Most Holy Name of Mary."
August 15, 1880 - Blessing of the cornerstone for the new (present) church.
September 4, 1881 - Benediction of the new St. Mary's Church - nave only completed.
Around this time, the transcontinental CPR arrived, signalling a boom in immigration and the economy. 

The New St. Mary's

1882 - Parish divided to form Immaculate Conception parish.
1884 - Purchase of the cemetery property on Osborne Street and an organ for the church.
1885 - Opening of Holy Angels School for girls and small boys, under the Sisters of the Holy Name in August.
Construction of the sanctuary and sacristy, and the addition of steam heating in the church.
September 25, 1887 - Consecration (dedication) of new St. Mary's Church by Bishop Fabre of Montreal. 

1888 - Construction of a new school for the Brothers and repairs to the presbytery.
1889 - St Mary's cemetery established.

​​Through the Years

1891 - Addition of hot water heating system in sacristy and presbytery.
1892 - Addition of indoor plumbing and facilities in presbytery.
1895 - Archbishop Langevin (former pastor of St. Mary's) appointed Archbishop #3 of Archdiocese of St. Boniface
1896 - new vestibule, twin towers, façade, and enlarged side chapels.
1899 - New Rectory built (2nd) - first Chapel/Rectory moved to Carlton Street side and became St. Joseph's Orphanage. This building went on to become:
- A Boarding House (1907)
- Oblate Juniorate (1913)
- Boarding House (1914)
- Convent of the Holy Name Sisters (1917)
- Providence Shelter (1923)
- Franciscan Friary (1937 to 1962)

This building was demolished in 1962.

​​The New St. Mary's School

In 1903, the new St. Mary's School across the street from the church was opened. Boys were taught by the Brothers until 1917, and girls by the Sisters of the Holy Name. Classes become co-ed after 1917.

1912 - Original Church, Rectory, and School were all debt-free. Relocation to Broadway Avenue location was considered and properties were purchased there for $350,000. 

Archdiocese of Winnipeg and St. Mary's Cathedral

On December 15, 1915, Archdiocese of Winnipeg was created. Msgr. A A Sinnott was appointed as the first Archbishop.

December 24, 1916 - Enthronement of the new Archbishop at St. Mary's - residence on Kennedy Street (pictured). St. Mary's was designated as the pro-Cathedral.

December 8, 1918- Archbishop Sinnott took over the parish, now designated the Cathedral, appointed secular clergy to take over parochial work, and named Fr. John Dutton as 1st Rector. Msgr. J J Blair became Chancellor.

Debt incurred in 1912 was financed by a mortgage in the form of a bond-issue in holland. The Archbishop and Rector worked continually to erase this debt. It took 40 years and cost the parish $741,000, including the sale of the acquired Broadway Street properties of 1912. The mortgage was burned on April 27th, 1952 in a special celebration at the Capitol Theatre. 

Rectory, Administrative Centre and Hall

March 19, 1919 - Fire gutted the Sanctuary from the basement, damaging stained glass windows in the Sanctuary. $30,000 repairs paid for by insurance and furnishings paid for by generous donations.

1966 - The rectory built int 1899 and administrative centre was demolished. The present Rectory, administrative centre, and hall were constructed.

1968 - St. Mary's School closed and was later destroyed by arson in 1969.

1976 - 100th anniversary of the canonical erection of the parish

100th Anniversary Celebration

In 1987, the church was totally renovated and redecorated for the centenary celebration of the dedication of the church.
January 1988 marked the 100th anniversary celebration of the dedication of the church, a cathedral since 1918. 

21st Century

2002 - New addition joining church to hall was built including a Hospitality centre.

2003 - New baptismal font and renovations to the church foyer was completed.

Cathedral Rectors

From 1869 to 2015, the parishioners of St. Mary's have been under the spiritual care of 10 Archbishops, and 220 priests, including 13 Oblate Pastors and 10 Rectors.​

Pastors of St. Mary's Parish (Archdiocese of St. Boniface)

Rev. Joseph McCarthy, OMI
Rev. J.B. Baudin, OMI
Rev. A. Lacombe, OMI
Rev. L.G. Gladu, OMI
Rev. L. Lebret, OMI
Rev. Joseph Lavoie, OMI
Rev. Charles Oullette, OMI
Rev. L.V. Fox, OMI
Rev. Adélard Langevin, OMI
Rev. Didace E. Guillet, OMI
Rev. Charles Cahill, OMI
Rev. Richard M. D'Alton, OMI
​Rev. William Patton, OMI

1869 - 1872
1872 - 1882
1874 - 1874, 1879 - 1880
1879 - 1879
1882, 1889 - 1890
1882 - 1885
1885 - 1889
1890 - 1894
1894 - 1895
1895 - 1903
1903 - 1908, 1912 - 1913
1908 - 1912
1913 - 1918

Rectors of St. Mary's Cathedral Parish (Archdiocese of Winnipeg)

Very Rev. John Dutton
Very Rev. R.G. MacGregor
Rev. Msgr. T.W. Morton, P.A.
Rev. Msgr. J.E. Cahill, DD
Rev. Msgr. J.K. MacIsaac, DD, MA
Rev. Msgr. Roy J.H. Larrabee, PA, VG
Very Rev. Darrin J.G. Gurr
Very Rev. Michael K. Koryluk
Rev. Msgr. Ward Jamieson
Very Rev. Geoffrey Angeles

1918 - 1919
1919 - 1920
1920 - 1934
1935 - 1938, 1946 - 1962
1962 - 1967
1968 - 1997
1997 - 2004
2004 - 2010
2010 - 2013
​2013 - Present