Winds whip through Halifax

Published November 1, 2003

Warden Ray Carter surveys damage to All Saints Cathedral’s roof.


Parishioners waited nervously for Bishop Fred Hiltz to arrive for the 125th anniversary celebration of St. James church in Herring Cove, N.S. The previous two visits in as many years by a diocesan bishop were occasioned by the worst snowstorm in a decade and the heaviest rainfall in memory.

Those parishioners and many more had good reason to be nervous on Sept. 28, which marked the arrival of Hurricane Juan. In little more than five hours, the wind and rain took a tremendous toll on the province of Nova Scotia in a path running from Halifax north to Truro . In addition to shattered windows and stripped shingled roofs, Hurricane Juan toppled the mightiest of the city’s decades-old maple, elm, ash and beech trees. The falling trees downed power lines, blocked streets and damaged scores of houses.

While St. James, Herring Cove, emerged unscathed (but for some minor water damage to the parish hall), other churches did not escape the punishing winds.

Halifax ‘s cathedral church of All Saints , which had replaced some stonework and its transept roof over the past year, lost the new roof ? about 2 1/2 tonnes of wood frame, roofing material and copper flashing ? with one powerful gust. Parishioners found the roof smashed into a nearby parking lot.

With the roof gone, wind and rain entered the cathedral, causing damage to the structure and contents. In a letter to parishes in the diocese, Bishop Fred Hiltz wrote the executive of the cathedral’s governing council had issued a $10,000 cheque to cover the cost of the insurance deductible. The cathedral is also examining design modifications to the tower and changing its flooring during the repair process.

The damage also meant that the diocese’s electoral synod, scheduled for Nov. 22, had to be moved from the cathedral to St. James church, Armdale, in Halifax .

Elsewhere in the city, a tree fell on St. George’s Round Church but the building was not seriously damaged.

Paul Sherwood is the editor of Diocesan Times, the newspaper of the diocese of Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island.


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