Did you know the cathedral cornerstone contains a coin honouring the day when King George VI and Queen Elizabeth (the late Queen Mother) visited Moncton in 1939?
The 1939 royal tour took place between May 17th to June 15th, 1939, signifying the first time a reigning Canadian monarch stepped foot in Canada. The intent of the tour was to demonstrate to Canadians that although Canada is an independent kingdom, it still holds a valued relationship to Britain and the monarch. With the approaching outbreak of war, the tour was further used to sustain mutual trans-Atlantic support.
Close to the end of the tour, on June 13th, 1939, King George VI and Queen Elizabeth arrived in Moncton, New Brunswick. This happened to be the same day that the benediction of the cornerstone of the cathedral took place. In true time-capsule fashion, a coin commemorating the visit of the monarchs was sealed inside the cornerstone along with blessings of the cstone and the cathedral, medallions of the Assumption and the Virgin Mary, and copies of two local French language newspapers: “La voix d’Évangéline” and “L’Ordre Social,”
Passers by can still see the stone honouring this event on the exterior of the cathedral, right at the corner of St George and Lutz.
The cathedral’s works of art make very numerous references to the sea. The artisans were instructed to create works that honored the trades of the fishing industry, which is very important in the region. But references to the sea, such as fishes and boats, have been important christian symbols since the Antiquity. The ship and the anchor are symbols of safety.
Interesting fact: Since the 4th century, the central aisle of most churches has been referred to as the "nave". This word means "ship" and its Latin root ("navis") can still be found in words like "nautical" and "navigation". The idea is that this part of the church is like a vessel where the faithful gather and are taken on a spiritual journey.
Agriculture is very important in the region. Many references to the trades of this industry can be found in the cathedral’s architectural details.
Interesting fact: Mgr Arthur Melanson, the first archbishop of Moncton - the very same who spearheaded the efforts to build the cathedral - made a significant contribution to the advancement of agriculture in the region. He was in favor of a more learned and efficient approach to agriculture in Acadie. Thus, he wrote to the heads of Saint-Joseph University and suggested that a school of agriculture be created. Mgr Melanson even wrote the foundations of the program himself and, with the help of the Ordre de Jacques-Cartier (also known as « la Patente »), he found ways to fund it. Mgr Melanson considered the inauguration of this school of agriculture as his most significant contribution.
An important military victory of this same revolt is precisely the event that is commemorated during the jewish holiday of Hanukkah.