What is under that scaffolding? An update on the Capital Campaign

The Very Reverend Bertrand Olivier

Just over a year ago, I arrived in Montreal to take up the post of Rector of Christ Church Cathedral and Dean of Montreal. I knew that that was going to involve a lot of rolling up of sleeves, and in that I was neither surprised nor disappointed. On my first morning, I was greeted by the now very familiar green Capital Campaign banners above our St Catherine Street entrance, and scaffolding slowly being erected around our tower. Many construction and campaign cabinet meetings later, here we are early 2019 with scaffolding still present, and the tower wrapped in a gigantic scarf like white tarpaulin. Yet, there is currently not a great deal of activity on the site. So, what is happening at Christ Church Cathedral, your cathedral and the mother church of the Diocese of Montreal?

The good news is that we completed Phase 1 of our plan. Before even beginning to touch the spire – the main reason for starting the restoration project in the first place – much preparation work was required in particular with regards to the tower masonry. Inevitably, in a building over 150 years old, the best initial plans had to evolve as unforeseen additional work was uncovered. Thankfully, a grant from Parks Canada allowed us to do all that was necessary without derailing the original budget. We have also secured funding from the Conseil du Patrimoine Religieux du Québec, along with donations from major philanthropic institutions and, of course, members of our congregations and friends and supporters around the Diocese and beyond.

Anyone involved in construction in Montreal at this present time knows that the sector is extremely active. There is not enough people-power and construction costs are going up. Nevertheless, we are currently finalising plans for Phase 2 which will see the most visible and striking moment of this project. The spire will be lifted down to ground level after being split in two parts, to allow for the restoration of the aluminium tiles and the metallic structure which corroded over the years. As we set out to embark on this external Phase 2, we will also be starting to move on some of the internal upgrades that have formed part of our overall plan, so in the coming years, regular visitors to the Cathedral will start to see internal improvements too.

Fundraising is continuing apace, and we are grateful for the ongoing support of CPRQ for this important heritage project for downtown Montreal, at the time of the revitalisation of St Catherine Street and Phillips Square. Meanwhile, we continue to need financial support, in order to complete this important project for the Diocese. You can give online through our Canada Help link, or simply send a donation to the Cathedral office. For further information, call 514-843-6577 x 241 or email: cathedral.administrator@montrealcathedral.ca.

Your prayers are also key for the success of our project. Please join us in regularly praying for this project, that it may bring glory to God here in downtown Montreal for many generations to come.

Eternal and generous God,
You have given us Christ Church Cathedral as a powerful symbol of your presence in Montreal a gathering place for Anglicans in our diocese, and a place of ministry and mission in the heart of the city. Continue to bless our restoration project, our architects, consultants and all charged with the intricate and arduous labour involved. We pray for the fundraising team and all those who have supported us so far. Renew our vision, creative energy, and generosity, that we may together bring this project to completion, and glorify your name, through Jesus Christ our Lord, to whom our cathedral is dedicated. Amen

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