The Trappist Monastery was developed in 1892 by Cistercian monks. The settlement included a series of buildings reflective of the unique religious architecture of Manitoba. Buildings were constructed with austere and restrained French design, favoring simple architecture and minimal decoration. Original architectural features of the chapel included brick and tyndall stone, rose windows, a silver-domed bell-tower, eight free-standing radiating columns and a cluster of seven small chapels. The monastery was attached to the chapel and had a mansard roof and dormer windows. The monastery has been described as having outstanding architectural merit, in both form and construction.
By 1978, the monastery was no longer a secluded location, causing the monks to relocate to Holland, Manitoba. In 1983, a fire destroyed much of the chapel and monastery. The ruins were designated as a provincial heritage site in 1988. By 2008, the chapel and monastery ruins were in dire condition. Vandalism and degeneration of the masonry made the ruins unsafe for the public. Once a picturesque location for outdoor theatre and a passive interpretive site, the ruins were closed to the public in April 2008 and secured with chain-link fencing.
Using the Standards and Guidelines for the Preservation of Historic Places, BridgmanCollaborative Architecture developed a detailed assessment and preservation plan for the historic site. Working with Alpha Masonry in a “design-build” process, we documented, stabilized and repaired the existing historic fabric to preserve the Trappist Monastery Ruins in a historically sensitive manner. The resulting environment anticipates and addresses areas of wear in a historically sensitive manner. The ruins were reopened to the public in 2009.