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St. Dunstan's Roman Catholic Cathedral / Basilica National Historic Site of Canada

65 Great George Street, Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island, C1A, Canada

Formally Recognized: 1990/02/23

View of the interior of St. Dunstan's Roman Catholic Cathedral/Basilica, 1999.; Parks Canada Agency/Agence Parcs Canada, 1999.
Interior photo
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Other Name(s)

St. Dunstan's Roman Catholic Cathedral / Basilica National Historic Site of Canada
St. Dunstan’s Basilica
Basilique St. Dunstan

Links and documents

Construction Date(s)

1896/01/01 to 1907/01/01

Listed on the Canadian Register: 2006/12/20

Statement of Significance

Description of Historic Place

St. Dunstan’s Roman Catholic Cathedral National Historic Site of Canada is a large, stone church in the centre of Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island. Set on the lawns of a well-treed ecclesiastical precinct next to a large stone bishop’s palace, its imposing bulk, masonry construction, and Gothic Revival style towers, pinnacles, and triple portal facade create an imposing presence on Great George Street.

Heritage Value

St. Dunstan's Roman Catholic Cathedral was designated a national historic site of Canada because it is a fine representative example of the High Victorian Gothic Revival style of architecture.

Designed and built in the French-inspired interpretation of the High Victorian Gothic Revival style by Quebec architect Francois-Xavier Berlinguet in 1896-1907, the cathedral suffered extensive fire damage in 1913 after which its interior was substantially redesigned and rebuilt in a more English-inspired idiom by architect J. M Hunter. St. Dunstan's is the centre of the Roman Catholic church in Prince Edward Island and the mother church of the diocese. It was consecrated and elevated to the status of Basilica in 1929.

Source: Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada, Minutes, 1990: Commemorative Integrity Statement.

Character-Defining Elements

Key elements of the site include:
- the High Victorian Gothic Revival stylistic characteristics including irregular massing, the twin-towered facade with tall, slender pinnacles, stained glass windows, and picturesque roofline;
- late French Gothic stylistic characteristics on the exterior including the broad, three-bay, two-storey facade defined by piers and stringcourses with large traceried windows between the piers, triple portal entry, and polygonal apse with surrounding sacristy;
- the English Gothic stylistic influence on the interior plan and decoration with its cruciform plan with narthex, short nave with side aisle, crossing, wide transepts, and large sanctuary, triforium, clerestory, piers of clustered shafts and foliated capitals supporting broad Gothic arches of the nave arcade, and light ribbed vaulting with a pattern of eight-pointed stars along the crown of the nave vault,
- the stone building materials,
- the imposing siting of the church within an ecclesiastical precinct, facing Great George Street.




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)

1913/01/01 to 1913/01/01
1929/01/01 to 1929/01/01

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

Francois -Xavier Berlinguet



Additional Information

Location of Supporting Documentation

National Historic Sites Directorate, Canadian Inventory of Historic Building Documentation Centre, 5th Floor, Room 525, 25 Eddy Street, Hull, Quebec

Cross-Reference to Collection

Fed/Prov/Terr Identifier




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