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Visiting St. Volodymyr's Ukrainian Orthodox Cathedral, Toronto, Ontario: A Byzantine Revival Structure Dating From 1946

Updated on May 8, 2020
Provincial flag of Ontario
Provincial flag of Ontario | Source
St. Volodymyr's Ukrainian Orthodox Cathedral in Toronto, Canada
St. Volodymyr's Ukrainian Orthodox Cathedral in Toronto, Canada | Source

A looming profile in Toronto's West End

[NB: Among the many notable buildings which are the subject of these hubpages, these may include religious buildings, described as churches, etc.; these descriptions centre on the buildings' architectural and historical interest. This visit occurred a number of months ago.]

This imposing building on the West side of Bathurst Street, Toronto is called St.Volodymyr's Orthodox Cathedral, dating from 1946.

Interestingly, the inception of Orthodox church buildings in Canada had already begun in the 19th century, but this occurred in the Prairies rather than in Toronto, because of the way patterns of immigration from Ukraine developed (1).

Executed in brick with stone facing, among its most visible features are its three domes, in a style generally similar to other Eastern Orthodox church buildings; significantly, though; these domes are not of the bulbous variety often common in Eastern Europe. As one might expect with a building strongly influenced by Eastern Byzantine style, Romanesque (or Syrian) arches are abundant, whether large, medium-sized or small.

There is a perceptible, if not pronounced, two dimensional feel to the Bathurst Street elevation; this is because of the significant width of the building and the fact that the twin, north and south towers are almost aligned with the main entrance. The tall gable directly above the main entrance is of a style not unusually associated with southern European church buildings — for example, in Italy or France; and I must confess that I initially wondered if this feature indicated that the building had at its inception served a Roman Catholic rather than Eastern Orthodox congregation; but I note with interest that the structure was indeed purpose built as an Eastern Orthodox Cathedral.

Its many steps make for a rather grand entrance.

The sheer variety of church buildings within the Greater Toronto area is indeed very wide.

St.Volodymyr's Orthodox Cathedral is situated at 400 Bathurst Street, Toronto, Ontario.

May 8, 2020


(1) There have been fairly wide cultural distinctions among Ukrainians; historically, some western Ukrainians have been referred to as Ruthenians, although this term has fallen in to relative disuse. Western Ukraine has many Eastern rite Catholics, while eastern Ukraine is mainly Orthodox among its professing religious population. Thus also the distribution of church buildings in which Ukrainians in Canada choose to meet relates both to the historical patterns of immigration within Canada — it was to the Prairies that a significant proportion of the immigration took place in the 19th century — but also to the area within Ukraine — with its religious and cultural differences — that various stages of immigration came.

Some sourcing: Wikipedia

Also worth seeing

In Toronto itself, other among numerous historic church buildings are included the Metropolitan United Church, St James's and St. Michael's Cathedrals; a very few of other noted buildings include: the Ontario Legislative Assembly Building, Queen's Park, Old City Hall, Osgoode Hall, Campbell House, Old Fort York.


How to get there: Air Canada, flies to Toronto Pearson Airport, with wide North American and other connections, from where car rental is available. TTC streetcar 511 passes close to 400 Bathurst Street, Toronto. Some facilities may be withdrawn without notice. Please check with the airline or your travel agent for up to date information. For any special border crossing arrangements which may apply to citizens of certain nationalities, please refer to appropriate consular sources.

MJFenn is an independent travel writer based in Ontario, Canada.

Map location of Toronto, Ontario
Map location of Toronto, Ontario | Source

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