Eight of the Most Beautiful Buildings in Canada
Canada is home to people of many different spiritual beliefs. While the nation has a strong Anglican and Roman Catholic heritage, other religions have flourished as well. There are a number of beautiful and significant religious structures that dot the country’s landscape.
Also known as Our Lady of Quebec City, Cathedral-Basilica of Notre-Dame de Quebec was originally constructed in 1647. It was the first church built in Canada, and serves as the oldest archdiocese in North America outside of Florida and New Mexico. The cathedral has been destroyed by fire two times; once in 1759 during the Siege of Quebec and again in 1922. On both occasions, it was rebuilt, improved upon and restored to its former glory. In 2014, the church celebrated its 350th birthday.
Islam is an increasingly popular religion in Canada, and Toronto has the largest concentration of Muslims in the country. Baitul Islam (House of Islam), located in Maple, Ontario, is one of the biggest mosques in the nation. Built in 1992, it features two domes and one minaret, and was designed by architect Gulzar Haider. The mosque is adjacent to Peace Village, a 260-home housing project that sits on 50 acres.
It took sixteen year to build the Basilica of St. John the Baptist, located in St. John’s, Newfoundland. The cathedral was consecrated on September 9, 1855, and is the biggest church in eastern Canada. It holds approximately 2,500 people and is believed to be the largest construction project in the history of the province. It is the shape of a Latin cross and is 279 feet long and 213 feet wide. The highest point of the nave is 157 feet. The cathedral has been named a National Historic Site of Canada.
Congregation Emanu-El is the oldest synagogue in Canada. It is located on Vancouver Island, British Columbia, and was constructed in 1863. The building’s architecture is classified as Romanesque Revival. The first Jewish settlers to the area mostly emigrated from the United States during the Fraser Canyon Gold Rush, which occurred when gold was discovered in British Columbia’s Thompson River.
St. Michael’s Cathedral in Toronto was designed by William Thomas, who was the architect of eight other churches in the area. It was built during the years 1845–1848. The construction of the cathedral was largely paid for by Irish immigrants who lived nearby.
Located in Cardston, Alberta, the Cardston Alberta Temple is the oldest Mormon Temple outside of the United States. The building took ten years to complete and was dedicated in 1923. An addition was built in 1962, and the church was renovated again in the 1990s. It was named a National Historic Site of 1992.
All Saints Cathedral in Halifax opened for worship in 1910. It is believed to be the largest Anglican Church in Canada, and was designed in the Neo-Gothic style. All Saints can seat approximately 1,760 people.
American earth and performance artist Dennis Oppenheim’s public art sculpture Device to Root Out Evil is a different kind of religious structure. It is a church composed of steel, aluminum and glass, and is almost 20 feet tall. When installed, the sculpture is turned upside down and its steeple sticks into the ground. The piece is controversial; New York City refused to take it. Vancouver offed the church a home and it was installed in Stanley Park. Residents protested, and it was eventually relocated to Calgary’s Glenbow Museum.
Churches and other religious buildings have played an important role in the history of Canada. The country has many lovely structures that represent a variety of types of architecture.