Please note that the poems and essays on this site are copyright and may not be reproduced without the author's permission.


Saturday, 6 April 2013

Cathedraltown


.
File:Cathedral of the Transfiguration (Markham) Sunrise.jpg

The Cathedral of the Transfiguration, Markham, Ontario, Sunrise: photo by Jian Zhan, 9 August 2011




All conclusions were foregone before all beginnings
came. A kid on a skate board rolling down a nearly empty street makes

a noise like
rolling thunder, or perhaps it is actual thunder rumbling
off toward the south, from the direction of Lake Ontario. A dark wing

of cloud pauses to genuflect at the Cathedral of the Transfiguration
before moving off toward Box Grove.





File:Cathedraltown Markham's Laneway Entrance.jpg

Laneway entrance, Cathedraltown, Markham, Ontario: photo by Cbcwilson, 25 September 2011

File:Cathedraltown Markham Streetscape.jpg

Streetscape, Cathedraltown, Markham, Ontario: photo by Cbcwilson, 25 September 2011

File:Night view of cathedraltown neighbourhood.jpg

Night view of Cathedraltown neighborhood and theme cathedral in the background, Markham, Ontario: photo by Cbcwilson, 22 July 2011



Cathedraltown, near the Cathedral of the Transfiguration, Markham, Ontario: photo by SorinNechita, 12 August 2006




View of the new Cathedraltown, with Cathedral of the Transfiguration, Markham, Ontario: photo by SorinNechita, 12 August 2006


Cathedraltown townhouses, Markham, Ontario: photo by Will S., 16 February 2009



Cathedraltownhouses, from up close, Markham, Ontario.This was taken from through my windshield, to avoid hassle from the security guards. "Reminiscent of classical European towns"? "A special place with timeless charm"? Yeah, right; whatever... BTW, in addition to this new housing development to the north of the cathedral (and the one also north of it which I drove through), there is another new one going in just south of the cathedral, too. And there are new ones across the road. This cathedral in the middle of nowhere, is rapidly being surrounded by suburban development: photo by Will S., 16 February 2009




Catholic Cathedral of the Transfiguration sign, against the locked fence surrounding the church, Markham, Ontario
: photo by Will S., 16 February 2009


Billboard for Cathedraltown townhouses, Markham, Ontario. (What the developers are planning for these suburbs they're constructing): photo by Will S., 16 February 2009



Cathedraltown, Markham, Ontario: photo by Will S., 16 February 2009


The cathedral, and the artificial lake, Markham, Ontario. I drove down an unassumed road south from Elgin Mills Road, which didn't have a "no trespassing" sign, only an "unassumed road" warning sign, to get a shot of the cathedral from this angle. That road started in a new housing development there, which had a different name, but it actually took me right into Cathedraltown. As I came to a T-intersection, and turned left, I saw a parked car with two occupants in it idling at the intersection. When I got out of my car to take this and the other shot of this church, a man and a woman got out of the car, and watched me, looking like they were going to approach me. (Again, there were no signs to indicated I had trespassed onto private property, even if the roads themselves were unassumed.) But I quickly returned to my car after grabbing my shots, and the security guards got back in theirs: photo by Will S., 16 February 2009




The Catholic Church of the Transfiguration, Markham, Ontario. A Slovak, Byzantine-rite Catholic church; however, this church is surrounded by a locked fence, and isn't used for regular worship
: photo by Will S., 16 February 2009


2008_12_2_church.jpg

When the Pope consecrated this beauty, he didn’t know what it would be used for.
One of the coolest locations [in John Carpenter's 1995 horror film The Mouth of Madness] is “The Black Church,” apparently located in the middle of nowhere. If you’ve ever gone up the 404 you’ve no doubt seen the Cathedral of the Transfiguration on Woodbine, north of Major Mac.  Built in the 1980s by a Slovakian developer, its interior has been a neverending construction job. You can still get shots that look more or less like this, but it is gradually getting surrounded by a new “new urbanism-style” community called Cathedraltown: still from The Mouth of Madness and caption via Reel Toronto, 2 December 2008


The massive Slovak Cathedral of Transfiguration, started in 1984, is still unfinished. It sits, closed and lonely, near Highway 404.
The massive Slovak Cathedral of the Transfiguration, started in 1984, is still unfinished. It sits, closed and lonely, near Highway 404: photo by Steve Russell/Toronto Star, 26 June 2011



The Cathedral of the Transfiguration, Markham, Ontario
: photo by SorinNechita, 12 August 2006



Cathedral of the Transfiguration, Markham, Ontario: photo by Timothy Corbin, 17 August 2012

9 comments:

TC said...

An interesting bit of history on this curious place, here:

The cathedral that Toronto forgot: Toronto Star, 26 June 2011

Though it's as yet to see regular use as place of worship, the Cathedral of the Transfiguration has had occasional secular visitors. It was famously used as a a location in John Carpenter's 1993 H.P. Lovecraftian end-of-the-world horror film In the Mouth of Madness.

In the Mouth of Madness (1995) -- trailer

At 1:18 of the trailer, the cinematic road conducts our scarified view toward the front door of the cathedral, aka the Black Church. In the film the church becomes a central fount of evil that pollutes an entire town.

The Black Church: In the Mouth of Madness theme (John Carpenter & Jim Lang)

Spoo-ky!!

STEPHEN RATCLIFFE said...

Tom,

Yes, "Spoo-ky" indeed -- except for that "kid on a skate board rolling down a nearly empty street"


4.6

light coming into fog against invisible
ridge, birds beginning to call in field
in foreground, sound of wave in channel

lines at left side of other,
see in that spot this

fact rather, there “that is
be,” near to it there

grey white of fog reflected in channel,
circular green pine on tip of sandspit

Wooden Boy said...

Here we are, caught between the real and the imagined thunder, a strange place to be.

Wooden Boy said...

The soundtrack would make a great soundtrack for a promo for Poundbury, Prince Charles's grand labour of love.

Dalriada said...

it reminds me a little of a church in Fall River R.I. Sorry about the URL length I may have exceeded my monthly limit Tom?!

http://www.google.com/imgres?imgurl=http://02809photo.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/03/StAnnesFallRiver-6970-2.jpg&imgrefurl=http://02809photo.com/2011/03/06/saint-annes-church-fall-river-ma/&h=449&w=650&sz=194&tbnid=IeiMb0MBR3-o-M:&tbnh=91&tbnw=132&prev=/search%3Fq%3Dpics%2Bof%2Bchurches%2Bin%2Bfall%2Briver%2BRI%26tbm%3Disch%26tbo%3Du&zoom=1&q=pics+of+churches+in+fall+river+RI&usg=__pQzMbkrcUyo2DXWeIy1ORm4lGdo=&docid=eUsu173V4yoIYM&hl=en&sa=X&ei=465gUaCkMei_0QG604HYDQ&ved=0CC8Q9QEwAA&dur=99

TC said...

Thanks, all.

WB, Poundbury came up a dead link (Ghost Town)

Colin, St Anne's of Fall River, the Church of the Longest Link Ever Forged, would be distinguished from this vast aberration by several important factors, principal among them the fact that it has actually been in steady use for some 120 years as a functional place of worship (as opposed to a mega-curiosity showpiece and testament to blind human vanity).

For me the interest here was the collision of values, Church vs. private enterprise. I had innocently wondered, where did the money for this incredible boondoggle come from... and the answer was, surprise! from that great Holy Trinity of Canadian energy resources, uranium, oil and gas. (I won't bother to rehearse the Star piece. Wasted the time on linking to that already.)

The echoing silence and aching vacancy of the "Georgian"-style Cathedraltown development that has grown up around the monstrous disused $30 million-and-counting ersatz cathedral -- perhaps the most salient instance of architectural miscegenation since Horace Walpole's fake medieval pile, Strawberry Hill (think: Disney does the Hearst San Simeon Castle, with a nod to Ivan the Terrible) -- has less to do with religion than with real estate, finally.

The Cathedraltown development, "new new-urbanized" indeed, summons phantasmagoric visions of a 21st-century Levittown.

White people's exclusionary real estate, the true world religion of our epoch.

The psychogeography should be familiar enough to all, by now. The model is this:

Tract

Artificial, walled-off, private-security-cop-patrolled gated-and-fenced suburban pseudo-communities -- the grid-map monuments our bland, homogenized historical period in the West will be remembered by.

They are characterized by soullessness, visual cruelty, and an iron regulation of traffic of which the prime characteristic is the closure of escape routes.

These templates, among others, come to mind:

Borges: La Casa de Asterión / The House of Asterión

Truman Show (1998): Being Spontaneous

Wooden Boy said...

This project is an indulgence in every sense, a throwback, feudal gesture. One the almighty would seem to have left in the in tray.

That a real estate development could function here and fund a great lump of futility like this is wishful thinking to my mind. The Church seems to want to step away slowly, and if anybody knows about real estate development, it's them.

Here's a link that works (I hope).

TC said...

Yes, one might identify a sort of "family" in these phantasmal apocalyptic New-Urbanist pilgrimage-development sites

The Whistling Witch, indeed appears almost a parodically sinister John Carpenter location.. cum B&B?.

(Are indulgences on sale at the postcard stand, do you suppose?)

Wooden Boy said...

Given that the place looks and feels like purgatory, they'd be guaranteed swift sales.