Lions Gate Bridge: Christ Church, Vancouver (detail) c. 1937
In the 21st century, Canada (and the world) is overwhelmed by a tsunami of imagery. Who looks at stained glass any more? Unexpectedly, our site gets about 10,000 visits a year, averaging 3 minutes per visit.
The Institute for Stained Glass in Canada is a not-for-profit educational society based in Vancouver, registered since 2007 under the Societies Act of British Columbia. Thanks to grants from heritage agencies in Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba and Vancouver, we have documented buildings and windows in ten provinces and territories. Thousands more windows from the 1850s to the present need to be recorded before they disappear.
With the steady loss of thousands of Canada’s irreplaceable historic churches, the ancient and modern art of stained glass is widely overlooked in Canada. How come?
Unfortunately, the various Heritage and Archival agencies in Ottawa have proven indifferent to this subject. Are they still frightened of religion or simply lame? Ottawa’s stance is perplexing and dysfunctional, while the Library of Congress has the vision to be a genuine archive.
An enormous range of traditional and contemporary styles – in churches, synagogues, mosques, reserves, court houses, libraries, hotels, hospitals, schools, legion halls, legislatures and college buildings – reveals what is still among Canada’s finest examples of early public art. Only a very few books on Canadian stained glass have been published, but you can check Amazon.
We are a small group of photographers and researchers based in Vancouver, with collaborators in Québec, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Ontario, Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Alberta and British Columbia. Our Board includes several well-known British Columbians. The Institute site has no ads and no commercial interests. We depend on support from heritage agencies, foundations and help from people like you.
Please consider supporting our work on behalf of your province or community.
Patrick Burns, Founder