Congregation Emanu-El of Victoria

Posted by mwinston

On June 2nd 2013, Congregation Emanu-El of Victoria will celebrate its 150th anniversary. The Vancouver heritage restoration specialists hired to take on Congregation Emanu-El’s restoration project point out three main facts about the synagogue that make it such an amazing and important piece of Jewish and Canadian history. Firstly, it was built in a unique architectural style known as Romanesque revival that is not common in North America. Secondly, the shear longevity of the building is noteworthy. Lastly, the building has been used for its original purpose since the day it was built.

 This 150 year milestone is not just important for the Jewish community but for all of Canada. Congregation Emanu-El is a piece of our collective history that will be commemorated in 2013 with a rededication ceremony. The event will include groups of all nationalities and faiths, much like the original cornerstone laying ceremony in 1863.


Understandably, this 150-year-old building is in need of restoration and repairs. As it continues to age, the weight of the roof is pushing outwards and causing cracks in the walls. Despite the historical significance to the entire community, Congregation Emanu-El has been turned down two years in a row for federal government funding that would help with the repairs of this registered National Historic Site. They are now pursuing other grant sources as well as a broad range of private fundraising initiatives.