Description of Historic Place
Cathédrale Notre-Dame de l’Assomption is located on the corner of St George and Lutz Streets in Moncton. It consists of a grey sandstone cruciform Gothic Revival cathedral structure with a prominent square bell tower, built between 1939 and 1940.
Cathédrale Notre-Dame de l’Assomption is designated a Local Historic Place because it is a good example of the religious Gothic Revival architectural style. It is also recognized for its religious importance for the Acadians living in the Moncton region.
Cathédrale Notre-Dame de l’Assomption was built between 1939 and 1940 by Ambrose Wheeler Limited. The architectural plans were designed by Louis-N. Audet of Sherbrooke, Quebec. It is known across Canada for its blend of classic Gothic Revival features, such as its cruciform footprint, Gothic arch windows, sandstone masonry and traditional ecclesiastic décor with more modern elements. It is the largest religious structure in the Moncton’s skyline.
In 1955, in preparation of the Bicentennial of the Acadian Deportation, many improvements to the interior were made, including the installation of a Casavant Brothers pipe organ, permanent church pews and 10 stained glass windows by Auguste Labouret of France depicting women from the bible. Other renovations saw remains of several Monsignors removed from the original crypt and placed within a chapel and alcoves on the main floor.
Cathédrale Notre-Dame de l’Assomption is also designated for its religious importance for the Acadians living in Moncton. In 1936, Pope Pius XI created the Archdiocese of Moncton. The crypt and unfinished chapel of Notre-Dame de l’Assomption, established in 1914 by Msgr. Henri-D. Cormier at the corner of Lutz Street and St. George Street, was chosen as the proper location for the new cathedral. Opening services were conducted by Cardinal Msgr. Jean-Marie Rodrigue Villeneuve, Archbishop of Quebec and Louis-Joseph Arthur Melanson, Archbishop of Moncton. Celebrations and commemorations of significant events within the Acadian community are honoured in statues, monolithic inscription stones, stained glass windows and other decorative details.
Besides being religiously and culturally significant, many of the interior adornments stand alone as significant artistic achievements by local Acadian artists and artisans. During Pope John Paul II’s visit to Moncton in 1984, the Cathédrale Notre-Dame de l’Assomption was the pontiff’s only major stop besides the specially constructed Papal Visit site.
Source: Moncton Museum, Moncton, New Brunswick - second floor files – “226 St. George St. – Cathédrale Notre-Dame de l’Assomption”.
The character-defining elements relating to the location and the exterior elements of the building include:
- location on top of 1914 crypt of the Notre-Dame de l’Assomption parish;
- See of the Archdiocese of Moncton;
- Gothic Rival cruciform cathedral layout;
- symmetrical massing;
- sandstone masonry;
- square bell tower with copper spire;
- largest religious structure in Moncton;
- commemroative plaques and inscription stones;
- stone religious iconographic statues and coats of arms;
- lancet, oculus and gothic arch windows;
- clearstory windows around nave and domed apse;
- gable dormers;
- moulded copper cornices;
- stepped buttresses;
- triple segmented arch arcade façade with iron gates;
- rectangular sidelights flanking entrance arcade;
- coffered doors;
- gabled and stepped parapets;
- corbel stone chimney.
The character-defining elements relating to the interior elements of the structure include:
- stone masonry walls and arches;
- vaulted ceiling;
- religious and cultural iconographic stained glass windows;
- sanctuary steps inscribed with Latin names of the Major Orders;
- sanctuary lamp;
- Belgian and Italian tile flooring throughout;
- original woodwork, including pews and confessionals;
- copper, marble and wood details of chancel and altar area;
- iconic statues;
- statue niches;
- Stations of the Cross;
- square pillar capital carvings depicting Acadian labour and trade practices;
- Casavant Brothers pipe organ;
- chapel for Msgr. Louis-Joseph Melanson;
- commemorative alcoves.