The first Anglican cathedral built outside of Great Britain, the Cathedral of the Holy Trinity is a National Historic Site and an interesting place to visit.
The Cathedral of the Holy Trinity in Quebec
Located at 31 Rue des Jardins in Old Quebec, the cathedral looks more or less the same as it did two centuries ago. A historic piece of architecture when it was built, today the building is a popular attraction and continues to function as an important church for modern-day Quebecois Anglicans.
There are regular worship services held in the cathedral year-round as well as various concert series. For those interested in learning about the rich history of the church, the building is open to the public for visits. There are usually guided tours on offer as well.
Visiting the Cathedral
For most of the year, if you want to visit the cathedral outside of the times of worship you might have to make a reservation. You can do so on the Cathedral of the Holy Trinity website.
During the summer is when the church is most open. In July and August the building is open to all visitors from 10:00 am to 5:00 pm each day. There is a small admission fee of $3 to explore all of what the building has to offer. During those same times there are guided tours offered that you don’t need to make a reservation for. These tours cost $6.
The cathedral contains many fine examples of English craftsmanship. There are a series of stained glass windows that were mostly made in London along the walls. Multiple statues help line the interior and there are some monuments made in honour of English aristocrats like the 4th Duke of Richmond.
One of the more striking pieces that’s usually on display is The King’s Gift. These fine silver pieces were part of the communion service given by King George III on his visit to the cathedral.
As well, the two organs in the building are fairly historic. While the chamber organ has only been in the cathedral since 2004, it was originally crafted back in 1790. The instrument passed through multiple owners in England and in Canada before it landed in the church. The gallery organ has been in the cathedral since 1885, although it was extensively renovated in the early 20th century.
Services and Music
There are three weekly services held at the cathedral. They are on Wednesday at noon (in English) and on Sunday at 9:30 am (in French) and 11:00 am (in English). Everyone is welcome for these services. The cathedral remains the main church in Quebec’s Anglican Diocese and so is usually well-attended. Unfortunately, as of mid-January in-person services are suspended indefinitely due to COVID.
On top of the choir for the Sunday services, there are musical performances fairly often in the cathedral. This includes the annual Midi en Musique series, unfortunately cancelled in 2020 and 2021 due to COVID-19. The church proudly claims some of the best acoustics in the city which makes it a common venue for musicians.
History of the Cathedral
Before the cathedral Quebec City had the Recollect monastery which was used by both Anglicans and Catholics. After that building was destroyed in a fire in 1796 the local government decided to build a new, entirely Anglican church – the first of its kind ever erected outside of the United Kingdom.
Construction began on the cathedral at the dawn of the 19th century. The building opened to the public in 1804 and for a long time stood as the tallest building in the city. Designed in a more restrained style, the church does not look that extravagant.
The one striking feature is the cathedral’s bell tower which rises well above the rest of the building. The bells themselves are among the oldest in the country at nearly a full two centuries old. The eight bells in the tower each weigh between 650 and 1,850 pounds. This weight means it takes a team of eight people to ring them properly.
The cathedral has remained more or less intact since it was first built. The most notable change was in 1818 when the roof was rebuilt so it could be raised. This made the building more stable and it has now stood proudly in Quebec for over 200 years.
For more information visit the Cathedral of the Holy Trinity website.
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