Christ Church Cathedral in Vancouver BC, is engaged in a years-long renovation of their historic Vancouver building. The cathedral is the oldest surviving church in downtown Vancouver and had been slated for demolition and replacement in the 1970s. The most recent phase of the renovation has enlarged the size of the parish kitchen, installed a new zinc roof, power-washed the masonry exterior and erected a stained-glass bell tower, with 4 new bronze bells.
The cathedral is the seat of the bishop’s See of the Diocese of New Westminster, Anglican Church of Canada. The bishop diocesan is the Rt Revd Melissa Skelton. The Dean & Rector of the Cathedral parish is the Very Revd Peter Elliott.
The planners for the service celebrating the completion of this latest phase of the renovation on 17 NOV 2016, expected 300 folks to attend. Almost 900 people showed up leaving the cathedral filled to capacity and standing room only. Vancouver BC is built on the traditional territory of the Musqueam First Nation, an indigenous tribe of the Coast Salish people. The service began with a formal welcome by Audrey Siegl of the Musqueam First Nation to their territory. She sang a song of the Coast Salish to the congregation.
The latest phase of the renovation took 18 months to complete and cost CAN$9 million. When completed, the total renovation is forecast to cost CAN$20 million over two decades of projects. The new zinc roof, which replaces a shingle roof is stated to last over 100 years. The parish kitchen is now twice it’s original size and will be a blessing to those who volunteer in the parish program that feeds 100+ homeless folks every day.
It has been a dream of the parish to raise a spire & bell tower for 40 years. In the 19th and the early 20th centuries, Christ Church Cathedral was the highest point in Vancouver. It was called the light on the hill. The light from the cathedral was used by seamen for navigation into the port of Vancouver. The new tower, thought to be the only stained-glass bell tower in the world, is now the fulfillment of that years-long dream. It houses 4 new bells which were cast in France especially for the cathedral. Encasing the bells is the stained-glass artwork of Sarah Hall, called Welcoming Light, recalling the cathedral’s historic vocation as a sign of welcome. The plan is to ring the bells daily at 8 am and 6 pm calling folks to worship, as well as to help celebrate holidays, holy days and commorations of the other faiths representing Vancouver’s deep ecumenical community.