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

The old home at 785 Island Rd. is coming down as the developer was unable to find a feasible business case to save it. (Black Press Media File Photo)
With no takers to move old Oak Bay home, teardown begins

‘We tried a last hurrah,’ developer says

Leah Davis, store manager at Oscar & Libby’s in downtown Victoria, sets out stock at their Fort Street location. The pandemic has changed the way this retailer and others do business, says owner Teri Hustins. (Don Descoteau/News Staff)
Pandemic alters holiday business strategies for Victoria merchants

Many independent merchants count on holiday shopping to get them through quiet periods

Goldstream Food Bank vice-president Walter Dubeau is happy to help others by volunteering at the food bank’s Christmas hamper program. (Rick Stiebel/News Staff)
Goldstream Food Bank Christmas Hamper program in full swing

Gratitude evident as hamper helpers happily give back

The Vancouver Island Crisis Society has seen a five per cent rise in call volumes compared to this time last year. (Black Press Media file photo)
Winter blues a concern for Vancouver Islanders during COVID-19 Christmas season

Statistics show British Columbians anticipate worsening mental health

Jason Soukochoff is wanted on a Canada-wide warrant, say Victoria police. (Courtesy VicPD)
Victoria police seek man with violent criminal history against elderly

Jason Soukochoff wanted on Canada-wide warrant for parole violations

A man wearing a face mask to help curb the spread of COVID-19 walks in downtown Vancouver, B.C., Sunday, Nov. 22, 2020. The use of masks is mandatory in indoor public and retail spaces in the province. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. records deadliest day of pandemic with 13 deaths, 738 new COVID-19 cases

Number of people in hospital is nearing 300, while total cases near 30,000

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 Nov. 24

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

(AP Photo/Haven Daley)
POLL: Do you think the current COVID-19 restrictions should continue beyond Dec. 7?

One week into the new restrictions to curtail the spread of the… Continue reading

The COVID-19 test centre at Peace Arch Hospital is located on the building’s south side. (Tracy Holmes photo)
B.C. woman calls for consistency in COVID-19 post-test messaging

‘Could we just get one thing straight?’ asks Surrey’s Deb Antifaev

(File photo)
Alberta woman charged after allegedly hitting boy with watermelon at Okanagan campsite

Police say a disagreement among friends at an Adams Lake campsite turned ugly

Court of Appeal for British Columbia in Vancouver. (File photo: Tom Zytaruk)
B.C. woman loses appeal to have second child by using late husband’s sperm

Assisted Human Reproduction Act prohibits the removal of human reproductive material from a donor without consent

An excavator was stolen from a rural property south of Nanaimo this month, say police. (Photos submitted)
Excavator stolen from property south of Nanaimo

Bobcat Mini believed to have been stolen between Nov. 12-14, say RCMP

Krista Macinnis displays the homework assignment that her Grade 6 daughter received on Tuesday. (Submitted photo)
B.C. mom angry that students asked to list positive stories about residential schools

Daughter’s Grade 6 class asked to write down 5 positive stories or facts

Most Read