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St. Andrew's Roman Catholic Cathedral National Historic Site of Canada

740 View Street, Victoria, British Columbia, V8W, Canada

Formally Recognized: 1990/02/23

General view of St. Andrew’s Roman Catholic Cathedral National Historic Site of Canada, showing the High Victorian taste for rich and varied surface design, 2008.; Parks Canada Agency / Agence Parcs Canada, Mario Savard, 2008.
General view
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Other Name(s)

St. Andrew's Roman Catholic Cathedral
St. Andrew's Roman Catholic Cathedral National Historic Site of Canada
Cathédrale catholique St. Andrew's

Links and documents

Construction Date(s)

1890/01/01 to 1892/01/01

Listed on the Canadian Register: 2009/08/07

Statement of Significance

Description of Historic Place

St. Andrew’s Roman Catholic Cathedral National Historic Site of Canada is an imposing heritage landmark in the urban core of Victoria, B.C. The cathedral’s twin-towered design has a strong vertical emphasis and a picturesque asymmetry that is enhanced by a soaring spire and a bold combination of red brick, pale grey stone, slate and metal building materials. Ornate vaulting, stained glass and galleries contribute to the sense of grandeur within the well-preserved interior. The designation refers to the cathedral on its legal lot at the time of designation in 1990.

Heritage Value

St. Andrew’s Roman Catholic Cathedral was designated a national historic site of Canada in 1990 because:
- it is a fine representative example of the Gothic Revival Style.

Designed in 1892 by Perrault and Mesnard of Montreal, and built by contractor J.H. Donovan, St. Andrew’s was inspired by the medieval cathedrals of Europe, whose emphatic verticality and picturesque asymmetry greatly appealed to 19th-century architectural taste. The influence of French Gothic Revival style is evident in the twin towered façade, centre rose window and the triple entrance portal. Features such as the rich array of contrasting colours and materials created by the red-brick walls with grey stone trim and slate roof were characteristic of the High Victorian Gothic Revival Style.

Character-Defining Elements

Aspects of this site which contribute to its heritage value include:
- the complex cruciform plan, including the complementary but not identical front towers, single tall spire, narthex, nave, transepts, polygonal apse and two galleries above the narthex, reflecting the influence of French Gothic sources on the design;
- the use of French Gothic-inspired detailing including triplet entranceway, corner piers and wall buttresses, decorated parapets, the rose window located above the main entrance, polished granite columns and wall surrounds on the main entrance, rose windows on both transept end walls, and trefoil windows on the walls of the nave and apse;
- the High Victorian taste for rich and varied surface design evident in the use of polychrome in the slate roofing, detailing of red brick wall surfaces with limestone, the use of polished granite details, the diaper-work panels on the front façade, ornate metal eaves and roof ornamentation;
- interior features including the ornamental vaulting, stained and coloured glass windows, decorative plaster detailing, columns and galleries.




Recognition Authority

Government of Canada

Recognition Statute

Historic Sites and Monuments Act

Recognition Type

National Historic Site of Canada

Recognition Date


Historical Information

Significant Date(s)


Theme - Category and Type

Building Social and Community Life
Religious Institutions
Expressing Intellectual and Cultural Life
Architecture and Design

Function - Category and Type



Religion, Ritual and Funeral
Religious Facility or Place of Worship

Architect / Designer

Perrault and Mesnard


J.H. Donovan

Additional Information

Location of Supporting Documentation

National Historic Sites Directorate, Documentation Centre, 5th Floor, Room 89, 25 Eddy Street, Gatineau, Quebec

Cross-Reference to Collection

Fed/Prov/Terr Identifier




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