The fourth church
Photo: Michel Gravel
The vertical lines of the cruciform neo-Gothic building are very strong, emphasized by the bossed grey stone and ashlar, the series of buttresses along the side walls and the soaring spire. The church measures 152 feet (45.60 m) long by 63 (18.90 m) wide, the sacristy measures 37 feet (11.10 m) long by 30 (9 m) wide.
Everything is perfectly symmetrical, with pinnacled turrets on both corners of the façade. The very restrained treatment of the walls with their arched windows is set off by a corbelled cornice. There is a statue of St-Joachim in the niche of the façade dating from 1935 which replaces the previous one from 1871.
A cant apse
The Pointe-Claire church's distinguishing feature is a cant apse, which is also found at another one of Bourgeau's churches, St-Patrick's Cathedral. Another noteworthy feature is the juxtaposition of the two roof types: a two-sloped gable, as well as a conical roof made up of seven sides that rest on a cant apse.
A typical steeple
The steeple was inspired by certain elements taken from the Christ Church Cathedral, such as the louvre-boards (blade ensemble that is inclined to make the bell sound travel downwards). The impressive spire that soars up into the sky houses three bells; Marie-Joachim (1700 lbs), Jean-Rémi (900 lbs originally, then recasted to 1500 lbs in 1886), and Joseph Charles (700 lbs). The steeple underwent major stabilization work in 1954 under the supervision of Marc Angers, architect.
Richly decorated interior
The strong verticality of the exterior is complemented by the richness of the interior decoration. The nave is divided into three, with the main section divided into 5 bays, featuring pointed arches springing from the pillars which support the 90 foot (27 m) high vaulted ceiling. The niches are endowed with ornamental sculptures. The treatment of detail is magnified by the use of polychromy. The liturgical furniture benefits also of this exceptional feature that grabs you when first entering the church. Thanks to Curé Bernard Tremblay, the interior decoration was restored in 1987.
A new organ
Like all churches, St-Joachim has its own organ. However, the original one built by Louis Mitchell was replaced in 1908 by an organ from the Canadian Organ Company of St-Hyacinthe. In 1967, an electric organ was added.
In 1870, during the construction of the third church, the crypt began to be used for interments. More than 300 bodies would be interred there, the last one in 1953. The body of the famous Pointe-Claire mystic madame Brault is buried there.
One of the highlights of Victor Bourgeau's career
Today, we can admire this fourth church that along with the windmill is an integral part of Pointe-Claire's identity. According to architect Germain Casavant, from the CUM, the architecture of the church is one of the highlights of Bourgeau's career. "With Leprohon, he would have succeeded in combining the experience acquired at Notre-Dame and Saint-Pierre-Apôtre and bring it together here in Pointe-Claire. We can see this in the interior where a respect of unity between the pulpit, the altar and the rest of the decoration is found.
An original architecture was created by Victor Bourgeau in his neo-Gothic work on the island of Montreal, that distinguishes itself from the Protestant and Anglican communities whose inspiration was derived more from the Victorian neo-Gothic.