Christs Church Cathedral
Christ's Church Cathedral stands on a plot of land donated by Nathaniel Hughson in 1835. Hughson's business rival, George Hamilton, had actually offered the congregation a parcel of land where the Church of the Ascension now stands on John Street South, but the offer was refused because the land was "too far out of town".
The first church, Christ's Church, was a frame building with a magnificent wooden steeple that dominated the town's skyline. At the time, the church was accessible by water via an inlet from the Bay that snaked into the town along the line of Hughson Street.
In 1853, the congregation hired Hamilton architect William Thomas to redesign the church in stone in the Gothic-Revival style. However, they declined to use Thomas' full design, opting to rebuild only the chancel and nave. Thomas later took his design to the congregation of St. Andrew's Presbyterian Church who used it to erect their new stone church (now St. Paul's on James Street South). This is why the St. Paul's looks like an Anglican Cathedral and not a typical Presbyterian church.
In 1875, the Anglican Diocese of Niagara designated Christ's Church a Cathedral, and architects Langley and Burke were hired to add the stone facade and the west end of the building, after dismantling the original wooden steeple.
And so Christ's Church Cathedral stands where it was originally not intended to stand, and looks the way it was originally not intended to look.
Written by: Bill Manson
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