As Montreal’s first Anglican community, Christ Church Cathedral has been lifting up the cross of Christ since its inception. The Cathedral building, on the other hand, has not been without architectural issues, and has faced many challenges in holding up its spire cross. The original stone spire, built in the 1850s, weighed nearly 1.6 million kilograms––about as heavy as 150 school buses. By the 1920s, the Cathedral’s spire leaned more than a metre to the south. To save the building from collapse, the original spire was taken down in 1927 and replaced in 1940 with a much lighter steel and aluminum version.
However, a chemical reaction between the steel and aluminum tiles corroded the frame over time, and in 2016, the Cathedral’s spire was at risk of collapsing into the building. We had to act fast––to save the building, and to ensure the safety of the public––so we got to work right away.
We are pleased to announce that we have finally reached the last stage of the project. On May 19th 2022, the Cathedral’s cross was reinstalled atop the spire. Together with Rector’s Warden Sheena Gourlay, Dean Bertrand Olivier braved his fear of heights and climbed 70 metres to the top of the spire to rededicate and bless the cross as a symbol of Christ’s abiding presence in the heart of downtown Montreal. This event, two years after the cross had been taken down, launched the final phase of the project: replacing the aluminum tiles on the spire’s roof and taking down the scaffolding that has surrounded the building since 2017.