Photographer's Note

Montreal - st catherine street

The beginnings of Christ Church go back to the eighteenth century. In 1760, Reverend John Ogilvie, D.D., who had been a missionary to the Mohawks, was put in charge of the Protestant congregation in Montreal. At this time, the congregation worshipped in the Chapel of the Ursulines in the Hotel Dieu, in the lower town. Later on they worshipped in the Recollet Chapel. Indeed, all the Protestant groups in the town worshipped together for a time. In 1789, a church belonging to the Jesuits, which later became the property of the Government, was granted to the Anglican congregation. This church became Christ Church. This first building owned by the congregation stood near the site of the present Court House on Notre Dame Street.

In 1803, the church was destroyed in one of the large fires which plagued the city during this period. For the next eleven years, the congregation worshipped in the Presbyterian St. Gabriel Street Church by arrangement, which again exemplifies the cordial relations between the two religious bodies. It was the convenience of this arrangement, as well as difficulties in raising funds, which led to the long delay in building another church. The second Christ Church was completed in 1814. It stood on the north side of Notre Dame Street, just east of Place d'Armes. In 1820, Letters Patent were granted by King George IV, confirming earlier Letters by which the church was constituted a Parish Church and Rectory. In 1850, the Diocese of Montreal was founded and Christ Church was named as its Cathedral. On December 10, 1856, this church once again burnt down.

After the fire, the general feeling of the congregation seems to have been that the church should move to the western section of the city and leave the rapidly growing commercial area. This time, there was no delay, as there had been in the building of the second church. Within twelve days of the fire, a congregational meeting was held in Mechanics Hall, and a committee was appointed to choose a new site.

The Cathedral was ready for occupation in late 1859, and the opening service was held on the morning of the First Sunday of Advent, November 27, 1859. The church was consecrated on June 18, 1867.

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