Morinville is named after its
founder, Abbe Jean Baptiste Morin.
According to historian Dorothy Field, from the very beginning,
Morinville was a religious centre for French-speaking Catholics
who settled in the region.
The first church was built in Morinville in 1891. It was a small
log building. It was replaced quite quickly, in 1894, when the
population outgrew the original building, with a larger log
That in turn was replaced in 1907 with quite a large and ornate
wood-frame building. And that building is actually still there,
although you might not guess it, because in 1929 it was covered
over with brick.
The church, as it exists today, is very much in the French-
There are other examples, in Edmonton and in St. Albert. It’s a
basic, rectangular floor plan, but it has a bell tower in the
front centre of the church and two small towers on either side,
which are really quite distinctive.
Inside the church there is quite a lot of paintings on the
ceilings and the walls. And a rather ornate alter, as well.
A particular feature of the church that the congregation is very
proud of as well, is the Casavant organ, which was installed in
1926. It was built by the famous Casavant Frères company in St.
As well, an order of nuns, Les Filles de Jesus, established in
Morinville in 1904. And a few years later, they built a convent
In 1909, the first part of the convent, a brick building with a
central tower and metal mansard roof and cupola, was built. It
was expanded, as the student population grew, in 1920, and again
Les Filles de Jesus was organized and controlled from Trois
Rivières, in Quebec, until 1919, when this became the provincial
house and was the centre of operations for Alberta and Montana,
including such sites as the St. Vincent hospital in Pincher
Creek, formerly the LaBelle Mansion, and now a designated site.
In the early 1970s, the order of nuns sold their convent to the
town of Morinville, which continued to run the school until
On the Heritage Trail,
I’m Cheryl Croucher.