Right in the heart of our beloved city lies one of our most treasured facilities, that is Christ Church Cathedral. The building we cherish and enjoy in the city is actually the 3rd building on site; the first one constructed in 1856 burned to the ground on the night of September 30, 1869, and the second was deemed inadequate for the size of the congregation. In 1891 the new stone cathedral was designed and on September 9, 1926 the cornerstone was placed. This is the structure that still stands today, lovingly maintained and preserved as a link to our heritage from the period of colonization.
In today’s post we are continuing our running series called “The Anglican Church Project“, a project we are working on with the Anglican Diocese of BC intended to photograph all of the parishes in the Diocese inside and out over a period of time. Due to the incredible volume of photographs we have taken of the cathedral, we have created a sub-project called “Christ Church Cathedral Victoria” that contains all of the posts.
When visiting Christ Church Cathedral in person, you are immediately struck by the incredible architectural elements and details that went into its design.
An excerpt from Wikipedia: Christ Church Cathedral (Victoria, British Columbia) states:
In 1891, through an international design competition, architect J.C.M. Keith of Victoria was commissioned to design a larger and more enduring edifice. He produced a design in 13th century gothic style, inspired by Durham Cathedral in England, with transepts and a great central lantern tower, of concrete and stone with brick vaulting.
In today’s post we are going to focus on the exterior of the cathedral. There is no arguing that the facility is absolutely breathtaking in the fine details and the scale of it, and this is made even more amazing when you consider the tools and resources that were available in the early 1900’s during its construction. It’s at this point that the fact that it was built by expert craftspeople as a true labor of love comes fully to light.
In this photograph we see one of many very special features of the facility. Sitting just above the window on the left, we see a special stone with a marker embedded in it. This marker is a result of a visit by Winston Churchill on September 9, 1929, who was quick to help when the superintendent asked him to lay a stone on the north tower. We will be revealing more of these incredible features in upcoming posts.
These west-facing towers were actually completed in 1957 due to budget constraints, and today they are home to the bell tower. Trust me when I say, the inside of the bell tower is well beyond description and we will be featuring it later as well.
The scale of the facility is truly amazing. As you tour the outside grounds making your way around the perimeter, the size becomes evident. This accents the purpose and intent of the church as a special place of worship for the community. There is no denying the inherent drama we find in the grand stonework.
All the photographs we are featuring of Christ Church Cathedral were captured over the course of two separate photo-shoots. This is obviously due to the sheer volume of images we captured, requiring repeat visits to complete the entire catalog. For those who follow our blog regularly, you already know of our deep love for historic architecture, which of course translates into a profound personal experience for us as we continue our work on this project.
As we complete our tour of the outside of the cathedral here today, please rest assured this is hardly the end of this story here at Toad Hollow. In upcoming posts we will take you inside to see the bells in the tower, the interior of the cathedral itself, and we will even make a visit to the crypts in the basement.
As I am sure you are starting to see, this was an amazing set of sessions for us. Our continued work on “The Anglican Church Project” continues to delight and amaze us with each new adventure, but it also deserves to be noted that our visit to Christ Church Cathedral in Victoria was a special time that will remain with us forever.
We hope you will join us on our future posts. Thank you so much for taking the time to visit us here today, we really appreciate each visitor that comes to share in our explorations. As always, we are truly delighted to hear from everyone, so please feel free to leave us any comments you may have below.
Our entire catalog of high quality photographs of Christ Church Cathedral is available online here.