Windsor's Assumption church seeks historic status

·2 min read
Assumption Church in Windsor. (Mike Evans/CBC - image credit)
Assumption Church in Windsor. (Mike Evans/CBC - image credit)

Our Lady of the Assumption Catholic church in Windsor, a parish that dates back more than 250 years, is looking to be recognized for its historic value.

The church has submitted an application to Parks Canada to be recognized as a site of national historical significance. A representative of Parks Canada visited the church on Tuesday.

"In that application is the church itself, but also a lot of the grounds, including Assumption Park," said Paul Mullins, who is leading the church's restoration project.

The parish's early days are well documented thanks to its first pastor, Father Pierre Potier, who prepared a "very extensive" manuscript detailing the affairs of the parish after he started in 1767 and even beforehand, according to Mullins.

"I'm very happy that I'm able to present a copy of this to the historian who's examining our incredible history," Mullins said.

According to the church, Assumption is the oldest continuous parish in the province.

The current church building was completed in 1843 though the parish, which operated out of several buildings over the years, dates back to the previous century.

Mike Evans/CBC
Mike Evans/CBC

The church is in the midst of a multi-phase, multi-million dollar restoration process. It was closed for several years while that work was underway, reopening in 2019.

Mullins hopes obtaining the historic designation will allow the church to attract more visitors.

Decision could take years

The decision to grant historic status to a site rests with the minister responsible for Parks Canada, environment minister Steven Guilbeault.

Nominees must pass a preliminary investigation in order to be formally considered. Historians conduct research and present their findings to the Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada, which then makes recommendations to the minister.

"To be designated as a national historic site, a place must be in a condition that respects the integrity of its design, materials, workmanship, function and/or setting, insofar as any of these elements is essential to understand its significance," a spokesperson for Parks Canada said in a statement.

The process can take two or more years from the time an application is received.

Parks Canada said Our Lady of Assumption Church was evaluated in 1979, but was not chosen as a historic site at that time.

Our goal is to create a safe and engaging place for users to connect over interests and passions. In order to improve our community experience, we are temporarily suspending article commenting