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

SD62 bus driver Kerry Zado said it’s common to see drivers lose their patience and pass by his bus while he’s picking up students during the morning commute. (Aaron Guillen/News Staff)
School bus driver laments motorists who pass while red lights are flashing

All buses in Sooke School District outfitted with stop sign cameras

Victoria police are seeking home surveillance video and witnesses following a prowling incident in Esquimalt Jan. 20. (Black Press Media file photo)
Esquimalt prowler removes air conditioner, peers into person’s home

VicPD is seeking video footage, witnesses following Jan. 20 incident

A cyclist navigates the shoulder in traffic along Oak Bay Avenue in Victoria. (John Luton Photo)
Oak Bay council supports Fort Street bike lanes

Victoria bike lanes would connect to Cadboro Bay Road

The Victoria Fire Department extinguished a 15 foot tent fire in the 500-block of Ellice Street Jan. 19. (Black Press Media File Photo)
Victoria police investigating after 15-foot flames engulf tent

Flames damage nearby business in 500-block of Ellice Street

(Black Press Media files)
Transport Canada not budging on enclosed deck rules, despite calls from BC Ferries union

There have been at least 23 cases of the U.K. variant detected in Canada, four of which are in B.C.

Maj.-Gen. Dany Fortin, vice-president of logistics and operations at the Public Health Agency of Canada, speaks at a news conference on the COVID-19 pandemic in Ottawa, on Friday, Jan. 15, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Justin Tang
B.C. records 500 new COVID-19 cases Wednesday, 14 deaths

Outbreak at Surrey Pretrial jail, two more in health care

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 Jan. 19

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

Vancouver Canucks’ Travis Hamonic grabs Montreal Canadiens’ Josh Anderson by the face during first period NHL action in Vancouver, Wednesday, Jan. 20, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Horvat scores winner as Canucks dump Habs 6-5 in shootout thriller

Vancouver and Montreal clash again Thursday night

Rod Bitten of Union Bay won $500,000 in the Lotto Max draw on Jan. 15. Photo supplied
Vancouver Island electrician gets shocking surprise with $500K Extra win

Rod Bitten has been hard at work with home renovations, which is… Continue reading

Eighteen-year-old Aidan Webber died in a marine accident in 2019. He was a Canadian Junior BMX champion from Nanaimo. (Submitted)
Inadequate safety training a factor in teen BMX star’s workplace death in 2019

Aidan Webber was crushed by a barge at a fish farm near Port Hardy

Oyster River Fire Rescue members were called out to a suspicious fire in Black Creek. Two vehicles parked at a private residence were destroyed by fire. Photo courtesy Oyster River Fire Rescue
Suspicious fire destroys two vehicles at Vancouver Island residence

Oyster River Fire Rescue personnel were dispatched to a fire at a… Continue reading

Seven streets in downtown Duncan, including Station Street, will soon have new native names added to their signage. (Submitted graphic)
New Duncan street signs will be in English and Hul’q’umi’num

Seven streets to get additional names in First Nations language

Southern resident killer whales in B.C. waters. Research shows the population’s females are more negatively influenced by vessel traffic than males. (Photo supplied by Ocean Wise Conservation Association)
Female orcas less likely to feed in presence of vessel traffic: study

Research the southern resident population raises concerns over reproduction capacity

Most Read