Council designates St. Joachim church a municipal historic resource

A Roman Catholic church in Edmonton's Oliver neighbourhood has been designated a municipal historic resource.

Roman Catholic church in Oliver now qualifies for $411,000 city funding for restoration

The city of Edmonton considers the interior of St. Joachim Church to have "a strong Baroque aesthetic." (CBC)

A Roman Catholic church in Edmonton's Oliver neighbourhood has been designated a municipal historic resource, giving the church more than $400,000 for interior and exterior restoration.

The money for St. Joachim church — up to $411,000 — will come from the city's heritage resources reserve fund.

"Being over 100 years old, we have to bring it back to its original state, or at least we can't change anything," Pauline Lambert, president of the St. Joachim parish pastoral council, said Tuesday after city council approved the historical designation.

The St. Joachim mission was established at Fort Edmonton in 1850. The church was built at 110th Street and 99th Avenue in 1899 to accommodate the growing size of the congregation. The steeple and stained glass windows were added afterwards. 

The church was the centre of Oliver's Catholic community until St. Joseph's Cathedral was built four blocks away in 1925. It is one of two Francophone parishes in Edmonton. 

St. Joachim Church was built in 1899. (CBC )

Council designated the church as a municipal historic resource for its architectural and historical significance.

"It really became the heart of the Catholic and francophone Catholic, in particular, community in Edmonton for quite some time," said David Johnston, principal heritage planner for the City of Edmonton. 

Johnston said the building is also an excellent example of late 19th-century French-Canadian ecclesiastical architecture.

Francis X. Deggendorfer was the architect. According to the city, the Baroque and High Victorian Gothic details he incorporated into the interior and exterior of the building makes it recognizable.

Johnston said the church is one of the oldest structures still standing in Edmonton and is one of the most impressive Catholic churches in Alberta. 

The church was designated a provincial historic site about 40 years ago.