Walking Tour: Religious Edifices in Downtown Vancouver (Self Guided), Vancouver

Vancouver's churches, cathedrals and chapels are as numerous as they are diverse. They reflect the nation's religious history and the culture of the city. This downtown walking tour will take you to the most sacred religious edifices of the city.
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Walking Tour: Religious Edifices in Downtown Vancouver Map

Guide Name: Walking Tour: Religious Edifices in Downtown Vancouver
Guide Location: Canada » Vancouver (See other walking tours in Vancouver)
Guide Type: Self-guided Walking Tour (Sightseeing)
# of Attractions: 7
Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 4.7 Km or 2.9 Miles
Author: clare
Sight(s) Featured in This Guide:
  • St. Andrew's Wesley United Church
  • First Baptist Church
  • Coastal Church
  • Christ Church Anglican Cathedral
  • Holy Rosary Cathedral
  • Vancouver Buddhist Church
  • Russian Orthodox Holy Trinity Church
St. Andrew's Wesley United Church

1) St. Andrew's Wesley United Church

St. Andrew's Wesley United Church is located in Vancouver's West End. The church itself is built in a Gothic revival style, and features a tall Gothic tower, stained glass windows, a vaulted nave, a cross-like shape, and plenty of natural light. These features make St. Andrews pretty unique among churches in Vancouver- not many of them have a real cathedral appearance.

St. Andrew's Wesley United Church is the product of two separate congregations, that of St. Andrews, and that of Wesley. The congregation is part of the United Church of Canada, a union formed from Canada's Methodist, Presbyterian, Local Union, and Congregational churches. The denomination was formed in 1925, and construction on St. Andrew's Wesley United Church was completed in 1933. It has been designated as one of Canada's heritage sites, which has allowed this beautiful church to escape modern urban development on its lot, and avoid having its graceful Gothic revival style ruined by careless renovations.

Aside from its appearance, the church is also unique for having Jazz Vespers. Jazz Vespers occurs every Sunday from 4 to 5 PM, and gives visitors a chance to listen to some of Vancouver's finest jazz musicians in its stunning, Gothic atmosphere.
First Baptist Church

2) First Baptist Church

First Baptist Church, in downtown Vancouver, is housed in a beautiful old stone building. The extremely diverse community of the church is made up of children, teens, and adults, all from different social backgrounds. This church is very welcoming to guests who want to join their holy fellowship.
Coastal Church

3) Coastal Church

Coastal Church was established in 1994 by Pastors Doue and Cherul Koop in downtown Vancouver. This non-denominational church has a congregation made up of more than 30 nationalities. This church's use of music, arts and other progressive methods make the teaching of the Word of God very effective.
Christ Church Anglican Cathedral

4) Christ Church Anglican Cathedral

Christ Church Anglican Cathedral is Vancouver's first church. In addition to being one of Canada's heritage sites, the Cathedral has the distinction of being allowed to sanctify same-sex marriages, earning it a key place in Vancouver's religious, social, and civil rights history.

Though construction on the Cathedral began in 1889, the first cornerstone of the actual building wasn't laid until the year 1894. Since then, the church has undergone several additions and renovations, including the addition of several stained glass windows by glass artist Guido Nincheri circa 1941. One of the most interesting features of the church is its heraldic motif, present on its interior and exterior. It combines a Celtic cross, salmon, and a spindle whorl, to symbolize the Anglican religion's British origins, and the Salish First Nations people who were Vancouver's original residents.

The church was designated as a heritage site after it was nearly bulldozed to make room for a high rise tower complex in 1976. The tower complex was designed and planned out, but a storm of public outcry prevented the beautiful old Cathedral from being torn down. As a result, it continues to stand as Vancouver's oldest church.
Holy Rosary Cathedral

5) Holy Rosary Cathedral (must see)

The Holy Rosary Cathedral is a French Gothic style Catholic cathedral that has graced Vancouver since the turn of the century. Designed by T.E. Julien, the sandstone and granite building is in the shape of a cross and features some very beautiful stained glass work and hang-rung cathedral bells. It is considered one of Vancouver's Heritage Buildings.

The Cathedral's stained glass windows feature scenes from the lives of saints and Jesus. These include the Holy Family Window, which displays Jesus, Mary, Joseph, and Mary's parents, St. Joachim and St. Anne; the Baptism of the Lord Window, a 1940s design by Guido Nincheri; and the Jesus with Children window, also by Guido Nincheri.

The bells of Holy Rosary Cathedral are all rung by bell ringers, not played from a recording. The original bells were cast in France and shipped to Vancouver, but they weren't in tune. It was decided to ship the seven bells, named for the Seven Sacraments, to England to be recast and properly tuned. The result was a ring of eight bells, representing a full musical octave. The bells were finally hung for change ringing in 1906, and have remained so ever since.

Why You Should Visit:
Inspiring, located in the center of the city, and very welcoming to travelers who want to unwind.
Not on the scale of some of the European cathedrals but stained glass, statuary, pipe organ and full set of bells – it has it all.
Sight description based on wikipedia
Vancouver Buddhist Church

6) Vancouver Buddhist Church

Vancouver has a proud multicultural history, including vibrant Chinese and Japanese populations. In 1904, fourteen Buddhist followers set out to create a Buddhist temple in Vancouver. By 1906, a plot of land was purchased, and a minister was sent from Kyoto.

The Vancouver Buddhist Church is tied to the Nishi Hongwanji Temple in Kyoto, and adheres to Jodo Shinshu, or True Pure Land, Buddhism. This sect of Buddhism follows the teaching of 13th century Buddhist reformer Shinran Shonin. It encourages followers to pursue the goal of Enlightenment, which is symbolized by the True Pure Land, a realm outside of space and time where humans can learn and develop into bodhisattvas and buddhas.

Despite Jodo Shinshu's peaceful leanings, war forced the closing of the temple during World War II. All Japanese-Canadians were ordered to evacuate, closing the Buddhist temple until 1951. In 1954, the people associated with the temple attempted to reorganize it, and purchased an old Methodist Church on Jackson Avenue. As the church grew, the members chose to replace the old Methodist Church with a new building. Construction of the current Vancouver Buddhist Church was completed in 1979, and has been serving the needs of Vancouver's Buddhist community ever since.
Russian Orthodox Holy Trinity Church

7) Russian Orthodox Holy Trinity Church

Russian Orthodox Holy Trinity Church was constructed between 1938 and 1940 by Arch Priest Alexander Kizyunom. The original interior of the church contained simple, paper icons and a drab, unpainted iconostasis. The present interior features a beautiful wooden iconostasis and stained glass windows thanks to the second rector of the church, Arch Priest Philemon Gorelik.

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