Sunday, April 10, 2011

St James Anglican Cathedral Toronto

This bust and plaque is located in a park next to St. James Anglican Cathedral.

Robert Gourlay was born on March 24, 1778, in Ceres, Fifeshire, Scotland. He was educated at St. Andrews University, and in the summer of 1817 Gourlay arrived in Upper Canada. He immediately began to interest himself in the system of land ownership. In the official Upper Canada Gazette, Gourlay published an address and a series of questions and had them distributed throughout the province. The answers to his questionnaire strengthened his belief that the methods of granting land tended to stifle immigration into the colony.

In February 1818 Gourlay published a second address, demanding an inquiry into the abuses he had uncovered, but the legislature failed to act. He now saw not only the system of landholding as corrupt but the whole system of government as unresponsive to the needs of the settlers. In yet another pamphlet he urged the people to petition collectively for needed reforms.

The ruling oligarchy in Upper Canada now began to move against Gourlay. Arrested twice in June 1818 on charges of criminal libel, he was tried in August but acquitted of both charges by juries sympathetic to his aims.

Gourlay now unsuccessfully turned to the newly arrived governor, Sir Peregrine Maitland. Frustrated, Gourlay became more radical in his pronouncements. In December 1818 he was arrested once more and given 10 days to leave the province. When he refused, he was jailed, and in August 1819 he was ordered to leave the province, with the threat of death if he returned. He went to the United States and returned to England before the end of the year.

In 1822 Gourlay published a Statistical Account of Upper Canada, detailing the conditions in the province. In 1842 the government of Canada erased the 1819 sentence against Gourlay. He returned to Canada in 1856 and in 1860 ran for a seat in the Legislative Assembly. He lost and shortly afterward returned to Scotland, where he died, in Edinburgh, on Aug. 1, 1863.

Many of Gourlay's charges, though exaggerated, were not without substance, and he was instrumental in focusing attention upon some of the real grievances of the common people in the colony and in encouraging the reform impulse there.

Cathedral Church of St. James in Toronto, is the home of the oldest congregation in the city. The parish was established in 1797. The Cathedral was begun in 1850 and completed in 1853, was at the time one of the largest buildings in the city. It was designed by Frederick William Cumberland and is a prime example of Gothic Revival architecture. It opened for services on 19 June 1853.

The cathedral's exterior is composed of white brick and Ohio sandstone. Several layers of brick in the facade create strong, square inset designs around the lancet windows of the clerestory. This allows for a play of light and shadow that dramatizes the heaviness of the wall, and was the effect of emphasizing the wall's depth by partially cutting into it. The spires are built of stone and decorated with pinnacles and dormers, and ball flower ornaments atop the pinnacles. Tower walls are reinforced with square and octagonal buttresses that taper abruptly with generous weatherings at transitional points and terminate in pinnacles, some with slender colonettes abutting chamfered edges, with ribbed, stepped, or gable caps. These buttresses are accented by heavy weatherings in lighter coloured stone (creating visual contrast while drawing attention to the points of stress on the building), and topped with pinnacles, thus emphasizing their massiveness, structural function, and verticality. They provide spatial rhythm on the east and west facades.

A careful balance between horizontal and vertical elements can be observed throughout the interior and exterior of the church. On the exterior, a dog-toothed fret runs along the aisle roofline, while on the interior, a band of continuous painted bosses similarly run along the top of the aisle wall. These horizontal bands balance the composition against the verticality of the exterior tower and pinnacles, and the interior pointed arches of the nave arcade, creating a sense of stability and repose.

St. James in 2004At 92.9 metres (305 feet), the tower and spire have remained the tallest in Canada and the second tallest in North America after St. Patrick's Cathedral, New York—although the spire of St. James is still shorter than the dome of Saint Joseph's Oratory in Montreal, which is the tallest church in the Western Hemisphere. The tower has five bells that still ring through the city today, and the chiming clock is "one of the finest examples of a chiming public clock anywhere in the world."[5] At the turn of the 20th century, St James' Cathedral was still the tallest building in Toronto, and was often the first thing immigrants noticed when they stepped off the train at old Union Station.

The total length of the cathedral is 198 feet, with a maximum width of 98 feet.

St. James Cathedral's Gothic Revival architecture is reflected throughout the structure. Every part of a Gothic cathedral is directly related to a “core dimension” which is used as an effort to achieve harmony and organic unity within the building where everything is linked rationally and proportionally, creating a coherent whole. Every element in the cathedral—including the stained glass windows, the pointed arches, high ceilings, the pinnacles, even the flying buttresses—allow as much light as possible to flood the interior. The Gothic style means an aesthetically unified whole, but the combination of different architectural elements such as the ribbed vaults, flying buttresses, and pointed arches allows for generous illumination of the interior space with natural light.