The Future of our Cathedral

There is a proposal making its way now through the approval process of the Archdiocese and the City of Vancouver about the upgrade to Holy Rosary Cathedral for more seismic safety and better building facilities.  I would like to update you about progress with this proposal.

In a careful and detailed study of Holy Rosary Cathedral conducted in 2014, a prominent engineering company, Ausenco,  has found a high risk to both human life and the building itself in the event of a serious earthquake. The Archdiocese does not have the financial resources to upgrade the structure (estimated at CDN$24 million).

After some five years of diligent efforts, the Holy Rosary Cathedral Building Committee has now proposed a solution that not only addresses the earthquake dangers but also two other problems, the decaying parish hall and the inadequate housing for priests and the Cathedral offices.

The Rectory, housing eight priests and the Cathedral’s offices, was built in 1935, while Rosary Hall was first built in 1907 and expanded in 1939.  Despite their age, neither building is deemed to have significant architectural or historic value, and both are in need of major roofing, electrical and plumbing upgrades that are also beyond our financial resources.

The proposal is to make available  to a developer five of the twelve building lots that make up the whole Holy Rosary Cathedral site (including Rectory and Rosary Hall).  The title for these five lots would be exchanged with the developer for  permanent title of several floors of  a new commercial building  located on these five lots. Ownership of these floors in perpetuity is given to the Cathedral to assure an adjacent residence, office space, and parish hall (this is known as an airspace title).  As well, the developer would provide funds for the seismic upgrade of the Cathedral and supervise this work.  In addition, a legacy fund will be created from this proposal to help finance ongoing planned maintenance of the Cathedral.

In the next few weeks, the Holy Rosary Building Committee will offer as much detailed information on this proposal as possible.  There are many aspects to this proposal that are not known yet that could effect its progress through the approval process.  These include the requirements of the City of Vancouver for such a project in this location.  Market conditions and a possible economic recession influence this proposal as well.

Please contact me at if you have any questions at this time.

We ask for your prayers to assist us with this proposed project.  Holy Rosary Cathedral has served Catholics in our Archdiocese since 1899.   We want to continue the way that the Cathedral offers a beautiful sacred space in downtown Vancouver for parishioners and visitors.  May St. Joseph, patron saint of builders, and our Lady of the Holy Rosary, continue to intercede for the success of this proposed project.

Fr. Galvon

Related Post