St. Jude's Igloo Cathedral – Iqaluit, Nunavut - Atlas Obscura

St. Jude's Igloo Cathedral

Iqaluit, Nunavut

This igloo-shaped landmark in Iqaluit serves as the seat of the Diocese of the Arctic. 


This Anglican cathedral has been called the Cathedral of St. Simon and St. Jude, or more recently, St. Jude’s Cathedral, but it doesn’t really matter what saint it belongs to, as most people just call it “The Igloo.”

The giant, igloo-shaped dome and point steeple was originally built in 1972, and attracted church goers and looky-loos alike. It’s the seat of the Diocese of The Arctic, whose reach is the widest of any Anglican diocese on earth, covering Northern Quebec, the Northwest Territories, and of course Nunavut, where the cathedral takes center stage in the skyline. Designed by Ronald Thom and built entirely by volunteers, St. Jude’s inside was more stunning than the outside, with a baptismal carved out of soapstone, ornate wall hangings, many examples of Inuit craftsmanship, and a cross made out of the tusks of the majestic narwhal. 

Apparently not everyone was a fan of the igloo church and the building was destroyed in 2005 by an arsonist. Demolished a year later, it took until 2012 to raise the $6 million required to resurrect the quirky place of worship.

Designed very closely to its previous shape, St. Jude’s just goes by the nickname, “Igloo Cathedral” now, as it should be.

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