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Historic Sites of Manitoba: St. Michael’s Ukrainian Orthodox Church and Cemetery / St. Michael’s Ukrainian Catholic Church and Cemetery (Willow Creek, RM of Gimli)

Link to:
Clerics | Photos & Coordinates | Sources

Ukrainian pioneers settled this area in the late 1890s. St. Michael’s Ukrainian Independent Orthodox Church was built in 1901-1902 but was mysteriously destroyed by fire in 1903. Its cemetery consisted of ten graves but, by 1918, it was no longer being maintained. Bush fires and neglect destroyed the wooden crosses although a single concrete monument remained. The cemetery has been restored and is currently maintained with signage and a commemorative cross erected in 2004 by the Very Rev. John A. Melnyk of Winnipeg, formerly of Fraserwood.

In 1904, the present church was erected on the site and it was turned over to the Ukrainian Catholic church in 1917. St. Michael’s church is constructed of logs and covered with six-inch siding. It retains its original ceilings of four-inch wide boards painted blue with a scattering of gold stars. Floral motifs around the inside of the walls and windows were painted by visiting Belgian priests. During this period of settlement there was a shortage of Ukrainian priests to serve the population. The Belgian priests may have stayed with local families while serving the congregation.

A monument near the cemetery, erected in 1978, lists the names of people who originally settled in the Willow Creek area, starting in 1896. The church became a municipally-designated historic site in 2003. On its grounds is a monument, erected in 1978, that lists the names of people who settled in the Willow Creek area from 1896.

Photos & Coordinates

Site of St. Michael’s Ukrainian Orthodox Church and Cemetery

Site of St. Michael’s Ukrainian Orthodox Church and Cemetery (September 2020)
Source: Rose Kuzina

St. Michael's Ukrainian Catholic Church

St. Michael’s Ukrainian Catholic Church (May 2017)
Source: Christine Loff

St. Michael’s Ukrainian Catholic Church

St. Michael’s Ukrainian Catholic Church (2010)
Source: Gordon Goldsborough

St. Michael’s Ukrainian Catholic Church

St. Michael’s Ukrainian Catholic Church (October 2015)
Source: Gordon Goldsborough

St. Michael's Ukrainian Catholic Church

St. Michael’s Ukrainian Catholic Church (2016)
Source: Desiree Rolfe

St. Michael’s Ukrainian Catholic Church and Cemetery

St. Michael’s Ukrainian Catholic Church and Cemetery (September 2020)
Source: Rose Kuzina

Interior of St. Michael’s Ukrainian Catholic Church

Interior of St. Michael’s Ukrainian Catholic Church (August 2015)
Source: George Penner

St. Michael’s Ukrainian Catholic Cemetery

St. Michael’s Ukrainian Catholic Cemetery (May 2017)
Source: Christine Loff

Willow Creek settlers monument

Willow Creek settlers monument (October 2015)
Source: Gordon Goldsborough

Site Coordinates (lat/long): N50.58054, W97.09815
denoted by symbol on the map above

See also:

Historic Sites of Manitoba: Municipally Designated Historic Sites

Sources:

St. Michael’s Ukrainian Catholic Church, NE 27-18-3E, Winnipeg Beach area, Manitoba Historic Resources Branch.

We thank Desiree Rolfe, Christine Loff, and Rose Kuzina for providing additional information used here.

This page was prepared by Gordon Goldsborough.

Page revised: 21 November 2020

Historic Sites of Manitoba

This is a collection of historic sites in Manitoba compiled by the Manitoba Historical Society.

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