By Barry Magrill
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Extra info for A Commerce of Taste: Church Architecture in Canada, 1867-1914
The Dominion of Canada’s population centres were located within relatively easy reach of US publishers’ printing presses and their distribution networks. The outpouring of printed material and its accumulating variety of imagery read into, and out of, the pattern books’ contributions to some intense architectural debates about the way churches should look. Those aesthetic debates reflected the interdenominational rivalries, as well as the internal tension within the Anglican Communion about the level of ritual observance in worship.
1). The strength of such imaginings brought similarly attired churches into existence in emerging Canadian railway towns like Fort George, British Columbia (fig. 2). Below the surface of the way things looked, the organization of building committees composed of businessmen, lawyers, architects, and builders demonstrated that erecting a church was dependent on the utilization of modern economic systems. It is more than a little ironic that modern economy was exploited to produce an architectural fashion that embraced historical precedent.
A remarkable aspect of the pattern book, and especially its representation in church-building enterprise, was the balance of commerciality and the sense of decorum that appealed to church-builders. The pattern books introduced in the Canadas new commercial and consumption practices that constituted new social identities. This new social order was particularly apparent in the development of a “modern” Dominion, despite its deep roots in British tradition, history, and values. Britain had already experienced a so-called transformation into “modern” society brought to the fore as much by economy as by technology.
A Commerce of Taste: Church Architecture in Canada, 1867-1914 by Barry Magrill