St Michael's Cathedral Basilica
Founded in 1848, Saint Michael’s Cathedral Basilica is one of the oldest unchanged monuments in Toronto architecture

Saint Michael’s Cathedral Basilica serves as the principal church of Canada’s largest English speaking Catholic archdiocese. Vivian Lo from ToroLUG has managed to capture the grandeur of the building wonderfully, in a small-but-mighty microscale model.

Though it is located in downtown Toronto and is one of the city’s more iconic heritage buidlings, it was originally built in an area considered outside of the downtown core – and has been engulfed by the development of the city over time. Originally established in 1845, the cornerstone was laid by the first Catholic bishop of Toronto, Michael Power, following the establishment of the diocese after separating from the diocese of Kingston.

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The building itself was constructed by William Thomas as an adaptation of the English Gothic architectural style typical of the 14th century, and the construction was largely financed by the Toronto area’s Irish population, which ballooned following the famines in Ireland.

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The design of this structure is said to be somewhat unique. Though it is modeled after the English Gothic style, it is somewhat atypical as it omits some of the more iconic features, such as flying buttresses and ribbed vaults. As well, the lack of transepts deny the building the typical cruciform shape. Following completion of the spire in 1867, and the dormers in 1890, the building has remained relatively unchanged since, and continues to serve as a landmark for Toronto architectural and religious history.

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