‘Something New’ is set to replace St Matthew’s Anglican Church after Regina Council removed the ‘Heritage’ designation

St Matthew's Anglican Church is pictured on February 14, 2022.  Regina City Council this week voted to remove the property's heritage designation following a motion by the diocese.  (Will Draper/CBC - photo credit)

St Matthew’s Anglican Church is pictured on February 14, 2022. Regina City Council this week voted to remove the property’s heritage designation following a motion by the diocese. (Will Draper/CBC – photo credit)

The land on which a centuries-old church stands in Regina’s Heritage District will be home to something new after Regina City Council voted unanimously to authorize the building’s delisting.

St. Matthew Anglican Church on Winnipeg Street was built in the 1920s in the Gothic Revival style, but more than a century later the red brick building is crumbling, crooked and unsafe to live in.

The foundation of the church is made of brick and clay tiles and was not properly designed for the soil conditions in Regina. The repairs needed to save the building could cost $10 million, and that’s money the Anglican Diocese of Qu’Appelle says it simply doesn’t have.

The diocese has therefore submitted the application to the council. Diocesan official Rev. Mike Sinclair said the removal of the “heritage” designation from the church presents an opportunity for “something new to be born” in its place.

“It’s a mixed bag to be honest. It marks the end of an era for a beloved place of worship,” Sinclair said after Wednesday’s council vote.

Adam Bent/CBC

Adam Bent/CBC

It has been a long road to this point and there is still much work ahead of the diocese.

St Matthew’s was designated a municipal heritage site in 2005 but has not been used for religious services in recent years and has been closed to the public.

As of 2018, his community began a process of merging with four others in Regina. They are all now part of the Immanuel Anglican Church.

Although the diocese has tried to preserve the church, the renovation work has become too expensive. The surveyor’s reports have provided cost estimates for the repairs ranging from $3 million to $10 million.

Wednesday’s decision to remove the St Matthew’s Heritage designation – which applied to elements of the building’s exterior as well as its stained glass windows – now clears the way for a potential redevelopment.

Sinclair said the diocese will now meet with some of its partners to determine next steps.

A Vision for Purpose document submitted to the city shows that the future could be to retain some of the exterior walls and use them in a new build “serving the needs of the neighborhood with a community center and mixed-use rental housing.” . “

The document is not binding, but it was enough to persuade city council members to support delisting.

Sinclair said it was important for the diocese to have a presence in Regina’s heritage district.

“We’ve always been there,” he said. “We have a relationship with the community, we have a responsibility as a diocese to consider how best to use the space given to us.”

Image of the Trinity Centers Foundation

Image of the Trinity Centers Foundation

Rather than selling the land to someone else for redevelopment, Sinclair said the diocese wants to serve as steward and reach out to the community to explore what the future of the space will be.

Mayor Sandra Masters said it is always unfortunate when a listed building is lost, but stressed that it was not the diocese’s fault. It did everything right, the mayor said, and this was a joint decision made through the effects of time and the nature of the site where the church was built.

“Sometimes when you want to catch up, it’s just too far away,” Masters said.


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