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MHS Centennial Organization: St. Mary’s Academy (Winnipeg)

Aerial view St. Mary’s Academy and surrounding Crescentwood neighborhood, 1923
Source: Archives of Manitoba, FA23/1-72, C10, Box 15, 1960-2.

St. Mary’s Academy was born and brought up with the city of Winnipeg. In 1869, Winnipeg was a bedraggled frontier village in the Red River Settlement. On May 1st of that year, at the request of Archbishop Taché, two Grey Nuns opened the first Catholic school in Winnipeg, St. Mary’s Academy, to serve the English-speaking Catholics on the west side of the Red River across from St. Boniface. The Academy was located in a rented house between The Forks, and the corner of Portage and Main. The arrangements with the Grey Nuns was meant to be temporary one until the Sisters of the Holy Names of Jesus and Mary, a teaching congregation from Quebec, arrived in August 1874 to take charge. Initially coeducational, boys from the school were later moved to a new school when three Christian Brothers came to Winnipeg. Boys were not seen at the Academy again until 1915 when, by special request from the Archbishop, they were accepted into grades 1 and 2 until 1950. Enrolment at the girls school increased rapidly so a new building was needed. A second house was built at the site but it was quickly outgrown, necessitating a move to larger quarters on Notre Dame East in 1881. The demand continued to grow so, in August 1903, the school moved to its present 15-acre site on open prairie in Crescentwood. Today, St. Mary’s Academy remains committed to academic excellence, while providing religious and extracurricular opportunities for the province’s young women. The Manitoba Historical Society recognizes St. Mary’s Academy for 136 years of continuous operation, and asks His Honour, the Honourable John Harvard, to present a Centennial Organization Award to Sister Susan Wikeem, Director of the Academy.

Award presented by Lieutenant-Governor John Harvard, Jacqueline Friesen, and Gordon Goldsborough on 3 April 2005.

See also:

Historic Sites of Manitoba: St. Mary’s Academy (Academy Road, Winnipeg)

Page revised: 15 May 2011

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