Hopedale Mission National Historic Site of Canada
Hopedale, Newfoundland and Labrador
© Parks Canada Agency / Agence Parcs Canada, David Henderson, 2007.
Hopedale, Newfoundland and Labrador
Historic Sites and Monuments Act (R.S.C., 1985, c. H-4)
1782 to 1893
1782 to 1926
Event, Person, Organization:
Mission Building, Mission Church, Mission House, Reserve Storehouse, Dead House
(Name of contributing resources)
Research Report Number:
1976-029, 1999-058, 1983-024
Existing plaque: Mission church, Hopedale, Newfoundland and Labrador
Hopedale Mission was established by the Moravian Church in 1782 and named for an earlier mission, the Church's first and tragic attempt in 1752 to establish a Labrador post. The detached mission building, probably built in the 18th century, is the earliest surviving Moravian structure on the Labrador coast. The Church, with its truncated gable ends and distinctive cupola, and the connecting Mission House were built between 1850 and 1861. In addition to their spiritual influence on Inuit life, the Moravian Brethren provided until the 1950s almost all the medical and educational services in northern Labrador.
Description of Historic Place
Hopedale Mission National Historic Site Canada is a complex of large, wooden buildings constructed by the Moravian Church at Hopedale, Labrador. These large, wooden structures stand starkly silhouetted against the rocky shoreline of the vast, barren landscape. Official recognition refers to the cultural landscape comprised of the mission buildings on their shoreline site.
Hopedale Mission was designated a National Historic Site of Canada because: it symbolizes the interaction between the Labrador Inuit and Moravian missionaries; and, singularly and collectively, the mission buildings are fine representative examples of Moravian Mission architecture in Labrador.
The heritage value of Hopedale Mission National Historic Site of Canada lies in the common purpose, spatial, architectural, and functional relationships of the grouped buildings in this complex, and in their architectural expression as illustrations of Moravian mission architecture.
The Moravian Mission at Hopedale was established in 1782. Today Hopedale Mission National Historic Site of Canada contains seven buildings: the Early Mission Building, the Mission House (workshop wing), the Mission House (main wing), the Church, a connecting link between the Church and the Mission House (all completed by 1850-1861), the Reserve Storehouse (1892), and the Dead House (1861). The Oil and Salt Storehouse that was in this complex of buildings when they were designated in 1970 and was demolished in 1999.
Source: Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada, Minutes, November 1999.
Key elements that contribute to the heritage character of the site include: the irregular profile of the complex with buildings of varied heights, rooflines, and massing; the tight grouping of buildings; the evidence of Moravian construction techniques, including brick in-filling; the original wooden construction materials, including clapboarding covered with a lime wash, and shake roofing; the evidence of hand craftsmanship on most wood materials, the evidence of the evolution of functional design over time; the spatial relationships between buildings and evidence of its evolution over time; the line of the present fence around the complex; the viewscapes from the Mission House of the present and former buildings, to the wharf and to dock remnants; the early mission building with its two-storey, rectangular massing with end-gabled roof and the irregular definition of its apertures; the Mission House (workshop wing) with its two-storey, rectangular massing with end-gabled roof, regularly spaced, square headed windows on its second storey, and the large utility door on its first storey; the Mission House (main wing) with its two-storey, rectangular massing with a steeply pitched end-gable roof, eyebrow dormers and symmetrical chimneys, and the irregular pattern of fenestration with standard-size, square headed windows; the Church with its rectangular massing under a steeply pitched roof with a truncated gable and central cupola, the regular placement of windows between flanking doors on its side façades, arched transoms above doors and the found form, features and materials of the connecting link between the Church and the Mission House in its single storey height and irregular footprint; the Reserve Storehouse with its found scale, massing, form, features and materials; the Dead House with its found scale, massing, form, features and materials; the archaeological remains, including remnants of earlier buildings within the complex such as the Oil and Salt Storehouse, remnants of a garden between the Mission House and the Church, remnants of the Blubber Yard, and remnants of the historic fences within the complex.