Moncton is the urban heart of Acadie. The construction of the Notre-Dame-de-l’Assomption was the first audacious gesture through which Moncton’s Acadian community asserted itself and claimed its place in the urban life of its time. This specifically North-American flavor of modern urbanity is expressed in the architectural details of the building. Like New-York’s Empire State Building or Los Angeles’ City Hall, the Cathedral soars towards the sky in true skyscraper form - the only one of its kind in Atlantic Canada - a real architectural testimony to its time period. The exterior exhibits numerous splendid examples or Art Deco influenced sculptures, much like the ones that appeared in many American urban centers in the early 20th century. Other elements, borrowed from neo-gothic, romanesque revival and even byzantine architecture, remind us that the Cathedral has its place in the far reaching traditions of western religious architecture.
A Project that Brings the Community Together
The construction of the Notre-Dame-de-l’Assomption Cathedral brought about the mobilisation of many actors. Their stories are really worth telling.
First and foremost, it was Archbishop Monseigneur Louis Joseph Arthur Melanson who brought the Acadian community together in order to achieve this large-scale project. This visionary leader’s story is told with color and emotion in the new immersive 360° projection in the church chapel.
A Storytelling Building
The Notre-Dame-de-l’Assomption Cathedral is an extraordinary storyteller! The details of its architecture bring together and interpret a fascinating collection of epic, biblical and historical stories.
Among these tales, three narrative orientations are totally unique to this Cathedral. First of all, an important place is awarded to women of the Bible, as the nave’s stained glass mosaics are dedicated to them exclusively. Then a special role is given to First Nations, to which two large mosaics are dedicated. This is particularly rare for a church. Finally, the Cathedral’s details propose an interpretation of important episodes of Acadian history. They also make numerous allusions to the local society’s dominant industries (transportation, fishery, agriculture, etc.) Testimonies of the local culture and history are thus immortalized in the nave’s two largest stained glass mosaics and the stone capitals above the church’s columns.
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