(brick and bench order forms attached below)
Christ Church Cathedral has been an iconic treasure in our city since the completion of its nave in 1929. The Cathedral, as successor to the first cathedral church built in 1856 on land now occupied by the law courts, has served community leaders, members and visitors as a place of the spirit for almost a century.
With its soaring arches and magnificent acoustics, it has become a premier centre of choral and orchestral music with weekly performances, well attended and highly praised. In addition to its prime function as a holy place, its ever-expanding contribution to the performance and visual arts makes Christ Church Cathedral truly a 'cathedral for the city.’
The Friends of Christ Church Cathedral (Friends) is a group committed to supporting the Cathedral in ways that ensure this icon remains vital and that the value placed on it by the community, by the city and by visitors continues to grow. While an important complement to the Cathedral, the green space adjacent to the Cathedral, on its south side, makes its own, unique contribution as the outdoor living room for the community. This special area is one of very few green spaces in the city core.
Each weekday, children from the Cathedral School and the YMCA-YWCA daycare come to laugh and play. Mothers, teachers, day care workers and community members of all ages and from all cultural and faith backgrounds find rest and spiritual renewal in the space, a place of respite in a busy city.
The South Lawn Renewal Project, a project of the Friends, is designed to enhance the beauty of this green space, to make it more attractive to its users and to further the engagement of the Cathedral with the entire community. The project will enhance opportunities for learning as the history of the Cathedral and the land on which it sits is recorded in signage around the lawn. We plan to expand outdoor cultural activities and performances, design benches to facilitate conversation, add native plants and recognize the relationship with First Nations peoples.
An important feature of the renewal project is replacement of the asphalt path with a Thanksgiving Walkway of bricks engraved with names and messages of thanksgiving for family members and special friends, beloved pets and others, a permanent reminder of their place in our hearts. A portion of the walkway will be set aside to honour the heroes of the pandemic so that their contribution and the lessons of this difficult period are never lost.
The Cathedral Commons will become a place of beauty and serenity, a jewel in the city core, a place universally accessible to the entire community and visitors who seek respite and spiritual renewal through meditation and conversation. As a complement to the important role already established by Christ Church Cathedral, the South Lawn will truly become a gift to the city, open to all who venture in.