Friday, April 16, 2010

Foresight and Hindsight

 Extra original exterior bricks are stored in the basement of St. Michael's Cathedral.

Foreseeing that repairs would one day be necessary, the builders of St. Michael's Cathedral wisely set aside (more than 160 years ago) extra bricks for future use. Some of these are still stacked in the basement of St. Michael's Cathedral and reveal the original light yellowish (!) colour of the exterior.


  1. How many are there? Are they for repairs or are they for the unfinished transepts?

  2. I don't know how many there are and didn't see all of them. There are numerous pallets, for sure. Perhaps they were also intended to be used for completing the transepts until the development of Shuter St. made that impossible. I don't know.

  3. I have been in the basements, crypts, attics and other weird and wonderful places of untold numbers of churches in Ontario. Not once have I witnessed a church (or Cathedral) bear evidence of the obvious good presence of mind to set aside extra brick for the future. No doubt, most sacred buildings had extra bricks and stones when the work of construction was complete--but they were invariably sold off, given away or plowed under ground. It's worth noting in 1848 there would have been dozens of building sites within a few stone throws of the Cathedral using the same "Toronto yellow" brick. The temptation to sell them for immediate convenience must have been overwhelming and says much about the builders and parish's intention and sense of history. They were building something that could be expected to last hundreds of years--and it shows in both the loftiest and the humblest of places.