on-line contest

What's New

Most Popular

Enlarge Map



SASKATCHEWAN STANLEY MISSION HISTORIC SITE AND NISTOWIAK FALLS

Story and photos by

Our Osprey Wings air charter from Missinipe to Jim's Camp, a Churchill River fly-in fishing camp, included two amazing Northern Saskatchewan attractions.

Aerial view of Holy Trinity Anglican Church and cemetery
Aerial view of Holy Trinity Anglican Church and cemetery
Photo © Barb & Ron Kroll

Holy Trinity Anglican Church Provincial Historic Site and Nistowiak Falls, in Stanley Mission, are part of Lac La Ronge Provincial Park, the largest park in Saskatchewan, Canada.

Holy Trinity Anglican Church

Our float plane landed gently on the Churchill River. We deplaned and walked along a dock and sidewalk to Stanley Mission's Holy Trinity Church and cemetery.

The Gothic-style white church is the oldest building in Saskatchewan, still standing today. Reverend Robert Hunt built Holy Trinity, between 1854 and 1860, for the Anglican Church Missionary Society and named it after his Stanley Park home in Gloucestershire, England.

Rev. Hunt used local stone and hardwood lumber, hand-sawn by First Nations people, to build the Stanley Mission church. He also imported stained glass, window frames, hinges, locks and other building materials from England, sometimes waiting as long as four years for shipments to arrive.

To convert the First Nations people to Christianity, Father Hunt translated religious texts into Cree. He also built a parsonage, school, warehouse, barn, ice house and carpenter's shop to create a self-sufficient agricultural community.

Aerial view of Churchill River and Stanley Mission Church
Aerial view of Churchill River and Stanley Mission Church
Photo © Barb & Ron Kroll

The town of Stanley Mission thrived for several years. Gradually, the community moved to the south bank of the Churchill River, around the Hudson's Bay Company.

Today, only the church and its cemetery remain in the original settlement location. The Saskatchewan Historic Site and Provincial Heritage Property church still provides religious services to the Stanley Mission Cree Nation.

Holy Trinity Anglican Church Provincial Historic Site is open daily, year-round. Admission is free.

Driving directions

You can also get to Holy Trinity Anglican Church, by boat, from Stanley Mission (population 1,500). The community is located on the Churchill River, 50 miles (80 kilometers) northeast of La Ronge, Saskatchewan.

From La Ronge, drive north on Hwy 102 for 27 miles (44 kilometers), then drive east to Stanley Mission on Hwy 915 for 22 miles (36 kilometers). Several Saskatchewan canoe routes also include the Stanley Mission's Holy Trinity Church.

Jim's Camp

We re-boarded the float plane for our flight to Jim's Camp, at the foot of Nistowiak Falls. From the air, Nistowiak Falls is one of the most spectacular waterfalls in Saskatchewan, tumbling over a series of rocks and ending in foaming green rapids.

Nistowiak Falls on Churchill River SK
Nistowiak Falls on Churchill River SK
Photo © Barb & Ron Kroll

Lac La Ronge drains through Rapid River and Iskwatikan Lake over the falls into Nistowiak Lake in the Churchill River. The word Nistowiak means "meeting of the waters" in the Cree language.

We followed a path to the top of the 33-foot (10-meter)-high waterfalls. No billboards, railings or souvenir shops marred our views of the rapids and waterfalls, but we needed insect repellent to combat the mosquitoes.

Canoe trips

Although we visited Nistowiak Falls by charter plane, you can also get to the waterfalls on boat tours from Stanley Mission. It takes about two days to canoe east on the Churchill River from Stanley Mission to Nistowiak Falls. The distance between them is 12 miles (20 kilometers).

Along the way, you can view a series of First Nations rock paintings. The ocher pictographs portray animals, human figures and symbols.


TRAVEL INFORMATION

Stanley Mission, Nistowiak Falls and Lac La Ronge Provincial Park: www.tpcs.gov.sk.ca

Tourism Saskatchewan: www.sasktourism.com

More things to see & do in Saskatchewan

Saskatchewan Vacations - What To See and Do

Canadian Fly-in Fishing - Sportsman's Lodge Saskatchewan

Jet Boating in Churchill River from Otter Lake Resort

Wanuskewin First Nations Archeological Site in Saskatchewan

Manitou Springs Resort Spa - Watrous Saskatchewan