Silver Heights United Church

Address:199 Garrioch Avenue
Other Work:1956-57, Christian Education Centre
Architects:Alan Waisman
Doug Gillmor
Firms:Waisman Ross Coop Gilmor and Hanna
Contractors:Frank Carnegie

More Information

In 1965, architects Doug Gillmor and Alan Waisman designed Silver Heights United Church at 199 Garrioch Avenue. The church was an extension of the Christian Education Centre, built previously in 1957, and was the second structure in Winnipeg composed of precast concrete accented by limestone aggregate.

Rectangular in form, the structure’s north and south walls gently converge in plan, tightening toward the chancel on the east wall, below the projecting semi circular tower. A similar effect occurs within the structure, where there is a dramatic shift of light from the dimly lit entrance vestibule and narthex towards the upswept, skylight lit chancel. The tower is a modern reprise of the spires of Gothic Cathedrals in the past.

Natural materials, such as cork walls and red oak for fixtures and furnishings, were chosen for Silver Heights United Church to enhance the liturgical experience. For the architects, the goal was to, “design a church which focuses attention to the central activity there: the worship of God.... If it stimulates [the worshipper] and heightens his participation in the service, it will have fulfilled our purpose for it.”

Significant Dates

  • 1954, Land purchased by the Church Extension Council of Winnipeg Presbytery
  • 1955, Portable building moved from Westworth United Church to site
  • 1957, Silver Heights United Church Christian Education Building opened and dedicated
  • 1965, Sanctuary dedicated

Design Characteristics

  • Architects chose to make denominational distinction subdued (no name was originally on the exterior of church)
  • Exterior finished in precast concrete, with exposed limestone aggregate
  • According to Waisman, finish materials were chosen because of their natural qualitles which were "closer to the Creator's hand."