Christ Church Cathedral is the episcopal seat of the Bishop of the Diocese of British Columbia, which includes the whole of Vancouver Island together with the islands of the Gulf of Georgia. It is built in the Gothic style of the thirteenth century to the design of J.C.M. Keith, who won an international competition in 1896 to obtain this commission. Only the Nave was initially completed, and this portion of the building was consecrated on September 29, 1929. Further building was delayed by the Depression of the thirties, and then by the Second World War. The western towers were completed in the 1950s and the reconstruction of the East End, completed and consecrated November 1st 1991, renders the Cathedral one of Canada’s largest churches, with interior dimensions of 93 X 140 feet, and towers rising 122 feet above street level.
This is the Diocese of British Columbia’s third Cathedral Church. The first, built in 1856, was destroyed by fire; the second, built in 1872, became inadequate for the size of the congregation. Both were situated across the street from the present structure on the site now occupied by the Law Courts.
The Bishop of the Diocese of British Columbia is the Right Reverend James Cowan
He was ordained Deacon in 1976 and Priest in 1977 in the Diocese of Qu’Appelle and over a period of 20 years served in three parishes in that Diocese, as well as being an active member Diocesan and Provincial and National Committees and organizations.
In 1997 he came to the Diocese of British Columbia to take up the position of Diocesan Executive Officer and continued his involvement in national and diocesan committees. He was elected Bishop of the Diocese in 2003. He prefers time spent with the parishes in the Diocese to life in an office, but he does not always get what he prefers!
His 'spare time' interests include gardening and reading.
Read a detailed history of the Cathedral by The Rev. Sel Caradus.
Take a self-guided tour of the Cathedral.