The first photo published of the newly reopened St. Michael's Cathedral as seen on Sept. 29. Photo by Evan Boudreau

St. Michael’s Cathedral is back in action

  • September 29, 2016

TORONTO – After six years under construction, St. Michael's Cathedral is once again ready to welcome its flock on a daily basis.

“Our Cathedral is once again in action,” said Cardinal Thomas Collins, Archbishop of Toronto. “It has been returned to the noble simplicity that was the dream of Bishop Michael Power. It is like a gift from God.”

A gift that came at a cost of about $128 million.

The Cathedral had been open for services on a limited basis during construction, but in June 2015 the Archdiocese of Toronto was forced to close its mother church leaving parishioners to seek an alternative place to pray for six months before reopening in a limited capacity for Christmas services. The Cathedral continued to hold a reduced number of weekly services during 2016 as crews, overseen by Buttcon Limited, completed work on the building.

“People have been sort of soldiering through with scaffolding and the shutting down of the Cathedral,” said Collins during a media event on Sept. 29. “Now that's all in the past. Tonight we are consecrating the Cathedral.”

The re-dedication Mass, scheduled for 7 p.m., is an invitation-only service to be celebrated by Collins. A Mass of Thanksgiving, with a few seats available for members of the public, is planned for Friday at noon with an outdoor reception on Bond Street to follow.

Fr. Michael Busch, rector of the Cathedral, hopes to see the new cushioned pews packed with parishioners all the way through the weekend.

“We're open for the weekend and we're going to be open for every weekend from now on,” he said. “I am hoping that it will be full at every single Mass.”

Busch said people have been contacting the Cathedral office wondering when things would return to normal.

“People are dying to see it,” he said. “They've been calling on the phone asking how do I get in and when can I see it. We've already had tons of inquires about weddings and baptisms and school groups are calling because everyone wants tours.”

Marg Baker, a parishioner of Cathedral, was one of the fortunate few to have already gotten a glimpse of the finished interior.

“It is just stunning,” she said. “(But) the meaning will come in full force when the liturgies happen.”

And although the services are returning to normal inside the Cathedral, there is still much work to be done before the restoration is complete.

“We are not done, we're substantially complete. There are aspects that need to be finished,” said Busch. “We probably have another two years to go to finish everything outside and the crypt.”

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