Thursday, 24 December 2009

St. Boniface's Cathedrals

I wrote about the Jesus and the College's fire, might as well finish off St. B ! There were six churches in total but only five were actually cathedrals so that is how I will number them.

The first church to serve the community was a small wooden structure (1818 to 1822). The first
cathedral was the second church. It was built in 1822 and served until a new, larger structure opened in 1832.

Cathedral No. 2: Constructed in 1832 it burned down on Dec 14, 1860.

Image: Cathedral No. 2 ca.1848. Source

Cathedral No. 3: opened in 1862 and served the community past the turn of the century.
Image Cathedral No. 3 ca.1900. Source

Cathedral No. 4: Designed by Marchand and Haskell it opened in 1908 and was destroyed by fire, save for the front wall and part of the foundation, in 1968

Image: Cathedral No. 4 under construction ca.1906. Source
Image: Cathedral No. 4 completed c.1910. Source

Image: Cathedral No. 4 interior ca.1937 Source

Image: Cathedral No. 4 ca. March 1968 Source

On July 22, 1968 workmen were repairing the roof near one of the domes. Their equipment was blamed for the demise of the building. Photographer Henry Kalen captured the iconic photograph of the blaze .

Image: Cathedral No. 4 burning by Kalen.

Images: Cathedral No. 4 destroyed. Winnipeg Tribune collection.

After an inspection of the ruins it was decided that portions of the walls, including the façade, could be saved with some structural help. Keeping the façade was especially important as it holds the tombs of previous bishops of Saint-Boniface.

Cathedral St. Boniface

Cathedral No. 5: Architect Etienne Gaboury was charged with creating a new cathedral rising from inside the walls of the old. On July 3, 1971 the ceremonial sod turning took place and just one year later, on July 17, the dedication ceremony was held.

Image: Cathedral No.5 exterior c. 1994. Source

St. B

In 1994 the Cathedral was designated a provincial heritage site.

For more on the 1968 fire:

Cherney Essay
Newspaper Coverage
Firefighter's Account

Other St. B blog posts:
Talkin' About Jesus in St. B Dec 2009
Remembering the St. Boniface College Fire
Dec 2009
Winter Niche
Dec 2008


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Anonymous said...

Surely the date of the picture of the 4th cathedral prior to it burning down is wrong - it says March 1968 but all the trees are fully leaved (if that's a word). If this is an error, it's an error at the source.