Discover the bells of the Cathedral of the Holy Trinity!
Demonstration in English of the art of bell ringing every Saturday of August at 10:00 and 1:00pm.
Demonstration in French of the art of bell ringing every Saturday of August at 11:00 and 2:00pm.
The Cathedral’s bells date from 1830 and are the oldest change-ringing bells in Canada. They were made by the Whitechapel Bell Foundry in London, England, the same foundry that cast Big Ben, the Liberty Bell in Philadelphia, and the great bell “Jean-Baptiste” of Notre-Dame Basilica in Montreal. The Whitechapel Foundry has been making bells for centuries and indeed is the oldest manufacturing company in the United Kingdom.
English change-ringing bells, which are rung in elaborate, changing sequences, are quite rare in Canada. In the whole country there are only seven bell towers with change-ringing bells. Quebec is the only city in Canada that has two change-ringing towers: that of our Cathedral and that of the former St. Matthew’s Church, now the succursale Saint-Jean-Baptiste of the Bibliothèque de Québec. The former St. Matthew’s Church was sold by the Anglican Diocese of Quebec for one dollar to the City of Quebec, in 1979, so that it could be converted into a library.
The Cathedral of the Holy Trinity has eight bells in its tower. The heaviest, the tenor, weighs 840 kg (1852 lbs.), while the lightest, the treble, weighs 297 kg (646 lbs.). A team of eight ringers is required to ring all eight bells in sequence. The Quebec City Guild of Change Ringers is probably the only bilingual (French-English) change-ringing team in the world, and has already had two French-speaking leaders, or tower captains. It includes male and female members, and the ages of the ringers ranges from 15 to 65 years. Over the years the City of Quebec has asked the change ringers from the Cathedral to ring the bells on such special occasions as Christmas, New Year’s Day, Saint-Jean-Baptiste Day and on the anniversary of the day of the founding of Quebec City. The two Quebec City towers have also been visited on a number of occasions by special delegations of bell ringers from the United States, England, Scotland, Ireland, Wales and Australia.
In 2006, the Cathedral of the Holy Trinity Foundation undertook the major project of a full restoration of the Cathedral’s great peal of eight English change ringing bells.