The start of our community, like so many others in Canada, is hard to trace back to an exact date. The history of West St. Paul is part of the larger history of Manitoba. The First Nations people called this place between the Forks of the Red and Assiniboine Rivers and Lake Winnipeg home for centuries before the Europeans arrived.
Fur traders and voyageurs were among the first Europeans to arrive followed by the Selkirk settlers. It was these settlers and retired workers from the Hudson Bay Company who first started to farm the land and built more permanent year round residents. They built on what was then called Image Plains, later to be known as Middlechurch.
The histories of St. John’s and St. Andrew’s Anglican Churches are well recorded in the history of Manitoba, but the history of St Paul’s Anglican Church is one which gives West St. Paul the start of its recorded history.
The church built on Image Plains was later nicknamed Middlechurch as it is located between St John’s Anglican Church in Winnipeg and St Andrew’s Anglican Church in St Andrew’s. Our name, West St. Paul, comes from the Parish of St. Paul located West of the River. Located on Balderstone Road our first church has a strong historical connection to the province.
The cemetery at St. Paul's is the resting place of many of the community's first families who resided and farmed in the area.
At the end of Balderstone Road a ferry once docked linking the east and west parts of the parish of St Paul. Residents from the St Paul Parish would cross the river to attend Church and School located on the West Side of the River.
West St. Paul continued to grow and with more residents the need for a Catholic Church in the area was recognized by the Sisters of Service. In 1950 permission was given to St. Theresa Church to use what was then the auditorium (now called Red River Hall) of the new West St. Paul School. Within a year it became evident that a parish church was needed. The old West St. Paul School along with two acres of land was then purchased. By 1960, again the need for a new building was evident as the old building was no longer suitable for the growing population. The "New” Saint Theresa Roman Catholic Church was built in 1961.
By walking the trails in the Middlechurch area you are able to visit these two historical churches, the cemetery and a walk down to where it is thought the ferry may have docked as well as the offices of the RM of West St Paul and the current West St. Paul School.
Resources for this information was taken from the book "The Changing Scene” A History of West St Paul, copyright, 1989.