Roofers work on the copper section of the roof on the iconic St. Andrew’s Cathedral at View and Blanshard streets downtown. The Catholic cathedral is one of the largest churches in the region, with one of the most unique roofs. (Don Descoteau/News Staff)

Roofers work on the copper section of the roof on the iconic St. Andrew’s Cathedral at View and Blanshard streets downtown. The Catholic cathedral is one of the largest churches in the region, with one of the most unique roofs. (Don Descoteau/News Staff)

Downtown Victoria cathedral replaces 100-year-old roof

St. Andrew’s Catholic Church looks to copper to solve its roofing dilemma

Passersby on View Street, and those with a clear view of St. Andrew’s Cathedral from downtown Victoria buildings, have likely noticed workers atop the historic church.

Large copper panels, created using a machine that bends and crimps rolled metal in just the right places, are being installed as a replacement for the slate roof that covered the cathedral for 110 years or so.

The new roof is expected to cost between $400,000 and $500,000, according to Chris Ryzuk, a St. Andrew’s parishioner who is helping oversee the project. It’s just the second full roof replacement since the church was built in 1892.

The original tin-covered, board and batten roof remained in place for about 25 years then gave way to the slate.

“The normal time to replace slate is 100 years, so it’s lasted quite well,” says Ryzuk, whose background is in geotechnical and structural engineering.

ALSO READ: Sidney church marks a century with tolling bells Sunday

When he first became involved in the building’s maintenance about 12 years ago, “the intent was to change the roof.” But the cost to maintain the slate roof cost less than loan payments on a new roof. That changed before long, as the old roof began to wear out.

A portion of shale replaced in the 1980s with lower quality material – more durable shale was unavailable at the time – was beginning to exfoliate, leaving it subject to weather damage.

The copper roof, which contractor Parker Johnston Industries has indicated will be complete sometime in December, could last upwards of 100 years and will have minimal maintenance costs, Ryzuk said. Those were strong considerations in choosing from a variety of roofing styles.

“You have to look at the cost of the roof versus the costs of maintenance over the long term and ask, ‘how long is this building supposed to last?’” he says.

Given the building’s heritage status, the church also had to gain special permission to install a copper roof.

ALSO READ: COVID-19: B.C. church services resume with public health limits

Overall, the building is in pretty good shape, Ryzuk said, as issues that have arisen over the years, such as failed arches and a stained glass window that needing rebuilding, have been dealt with.

Other notable uses of copper locally include the domes of the B.C. legislature and roof elements of the Fairmont Empress Hotel and Paul’s Motor Inn. Distinct copper roofs elsewhere include the Parliament Buildings in Ottawa and the Berlin Cathedral. Most have oxidized into a green patina over the years.

Ryzuk estimates the St. Andrew’s roof will take on the same look within 40 years or so, but notes a portion has already begun to turn brown with the recent rains.


 

Do you have a story tip? Email:don.descoteau@blackpress.ca. Follow us on Instagram.  
Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Andrew Swanson was arrested Wednesday after he was wanted for an alleged choking assault and for obstructing police. (Black Press Media File Photo)
Victoria police arrest Andrew Swanson on warrants for alleged choking assault, obstruction

A member of the public spotted Swanson and called 911 before police came and made the arrest

(Black Press Media file photo)
Youth sustains minor injuries in stabbing at Saanich Plaza

Suspect under age of 16 taken into custody, no risk to the public, police say

Sue Hodgson returns as publisher of the Peninsula News Review starting June 1. (Courtesy Sue Hodgson)
Peninsula News Review welcomes back Sue Hodgson as publisher

Dale Naftel takes helm of Oak Bay News as publisher

A B.C. Centre for Disease Control map showing new COVID-19 cases by local health area for the week of April 25-May 1. (BCCDC image)
Vancouver Island’s COVID-19 case counts continue to trend down

Fewer than 200 active cases on the Island, down from highs of 500-plus earlier this spring

Jackson Peters picks, plays and sings on Willows Beach. Peters likes to tour parks in Greater Victoria to practice his music and enjoy the outdoors. (Christine van Reeuwyk/News Staff)
PHOTOS: Beach weather strikes in Oak Bay

Willows hosts those looking to swim, play volleyball and build sand castles

Protesters attempt to stop clear-cutting of old-growth trees in Fairy Creek near Port Renfrew. (Will O’Connell photo)
VIDEO: Workers, activists clash at site of Vancouver Island logging operation

Forest license holders asking for independent investigation into incident

Anyone with information on any of these individuals is asked to call 1-800-222-TIPS (8477) or visit the website victoriacrimestoppers.ca for more information.
Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers wanted list for the week of May 4

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

(Black Press Media file photo)
POLL: Do you plan to travel on the Victoria Day long weekend?

It’s the unofficial start to the summer season. A time of barbecues,… Continue reading

Starting Tuesday, May 11, B.C. adults born in 1981 and earlier will be able to register for a vaccine dose. (Haley Ritchie/Black Press Media)
BC adults 40+ eligible to book COVID-19 vaccinations next week

Starting Tuesday, people born in 1981 and earlier will be able to schedule their inoculation against the virus

Parks Canada and Tla-o-qui-aht Tribal Parks dig the washed up Princess M out from sand along the south shore of the Pacific Rim National Park Reserve. (Nora O’Malley photo)
Rescue attempt costs man his boat off Pacific Rim National Park Reserve

Coast Guard response questioned after volunteer responder’s speedboat capsizes in heavy swells

Road sign on Highway 1 west of Hope warns drivers of COVID-19 essential travel road checks on the highways into the B.C. Interior. (Jessica Peters/Chilliwack Progress)
B.C. residents want travel checks at Alberta border, MLA says

Police road checks in place at highways out of Vancouver area

(File)
With revenge porn on the rise in 2021, B.C. seeks feedback for new legislation

New legislation could help victims take down images and receive compensation

The Canadian Coast Guard icebreaker Louis S. St-Laurent sails past a iceberg in Lancaster Sound, Friday, July 11, 2008. The federal government is expected to end nearly two years of mystery today and reveal its plan to build a new, long overdue heavy icebreaker for the Canadian Coast Guard. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Vancouver, Quebec shipyards to each get new heavy icebreaker, cost remains a mystery

Vancouver’s Seaspan Shipyards and Quebec-based Chantier Davie will each build an icebreaker for the coast guard

Most Read