Please note that as of October 8, 2021 we are accepting rental reservations for the Birks Heritage Chapel. All government and university directives regarding COVID-19 must be respected for all rentals.
Important notice for Winter 2022: The chapel has been reserved as a quiet space for the Winter 2022 while the building is open (Monday—Friday, 8 a.m.–6 p.m.). No rentals are allowed during these times.
If you have questions that are not answered below, please send an email to chapel.relg [at] mcgill.ca
Renting the Birks Heritage Chapel
The chapel is available for rental to members of the McGill Community and to the public. If you wish to rent the Birks Heritage Chapel, please fill out the Birks Chapel Reservation form below with your proposed dates, as well as start time and end time, and email it to chapel.relg [at] mcgill.ca. We will reply by email to let you know if the Chapel is available for your dates.
You can find more information on the chapel below. To rent the chapel, you must submit the Birks Chapel Reservation Form. You can find more details about renting under section 'Renting the Birks Heritage Chapel'.
Weddings and Baptisms
The Chapel is available for rental on weekends for weddings and baptisms. Please note that your minister or officiant is responsible to complete all the legal and/or religious documents pertaining to your marriage or baptismal ceremony. You are free to use the minister or officiant of your choice. We have also provided a list of ministers and officiants below.
For information about having Roman Catholic Services in the Birks Heritage Chapel please contact the Newman Centre, 3484 Peel Street, telephone: (514) 398–4106 or (514) 398–4107, email: newmancentre [at] mail.mcgill.ca.
The Chapel may be reserved for wedding rehearsals on Thursday or Friday afternoon from 4–6 p.m, Friday evenings after 6 p.m. or on weekends. During the summer months (June to August), the Chapel may be reserved only on Thursday afternoons, Thursday evenings or on weekends as the Chapel is closed on Fridays.
Memorial services and other events
The Chapel can be rented for memorial services or events organized by McGill Faculty members or McGill Student Associations during the week or on weekends. Please fill out the reservation form to inquire about availability and rental fees.
If you have questions, please send an email to chapel.relg [at] mcgill.ca
Location & Opening Hours
The Birks Heritage Chapel is located in the Birks Building on the McGill University campus.
3520 University Street
The Birks Heritage Chapel is open from Monday to Friday (9 a.m.–6 p.m.) from September to May. From June to August the Chapel is open from Monday to Thursday (9 a.m.–5 p.m.). You can visit the Chapel during our opening hours. No appointment is needed.
Please note that the Chapel is closed from December 20 to January 5 and on Fridays during the summer months (June-August). The Chapel is not available for rental during these periods.
The Birks Building and Chapel are wheelchair accessible. There is a door on the South side of the building with an automatic door. Upon entering, you will find an elevator to your left that can take you to basement level (B), the foyer (1st Floor), Chapel (2nd floor) and Chapel Balcony (3rd floor). There is a wheel chair accessible washroom in the basement beside the elevator.
The Birks Heritage Chapel does not have on-site parking. Meter parking is available on University Street. For information about visitors paid parking on-campus, visit McGill Parking website, or call 514-398-4559.
About the Chapel
The two-story, galleried chapel seats about 110. It originally reflected the interdenominational nature of the original colleges, and the ecumenical intention of Divinity Hall, now the Birks Building, home of the School of Religious Studies. Its more recent function reflects the pluralism of the campus, the variety of faiths within the School of Religious Studies and McGill itself.
A carved wood tracery screen separates the narthex from the nave and supports the gallery which is entered from the third floor. The ceiling is groined wood vaulting, and the floors are stone slabs, with coloured marble and terrazzo in the chancel. The walls are of acoustic plaster, the woodwork straight-grained white oak, waxed. The clerestory windows depict the crests of British and Canadian universities: on the right side, facing the altar, Dublin, St. Andrews, Glasgow, Edinburgh, Manchester, London, Cambridge, Oxford; on the left, Dalhousie, British Columbia, Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Alberta, Queen's, Toronto, McGill. Above the altar rises a large and beautiful stained-glass window depicting the Ascension. The chapel windows were designed by C.W. Kelsey.
The hangings in the chancel area were designed by the internationally known artist Normal Laliberté and installed in the chapel in 1979. The three cloth reredos panels display the central Christian symbols of the cross and the dove. Five painted wooden panels surround the altar in Laliberté's glowing colours and Indian motif. At centre front is the Christ, with his Chi Rho symbol, the first two letters of the Greek word christos; to the left, the symbols of the evangelists John and Matthew, an eagle and a man; and to the right, the symbols of Luke and Mark, an ox and a lion. On the left side of the altar table is a painting of the Jesse Tree, and on the right, Adama and Eve on either side of the tree of knowledge.
Also to be noted among the chapel's furnishings are, in the right-hand aisle facing the altar, a memorial Roll of Honour, a framed text from Normal Laliberté expressing his inspiration in the altar designs, and an icon of St. Paul on the Areopagus presented in 1949 by the late Arch-bishop Damaskinos of Athens in recognition of assistance rendered by Canadians during the period following the Second World War. On the central column on the left-hand side is a stone of marble from St. Columba's Isle of Iona, Scotland. On the south wall is displayed a Torah scroll presented by Rabbi H.J. Stern and Temple Emanu-El Congregation, and a memorial tablet to F. Cyril James, 1903–1973, and Principal 1940–1962. The Casavant organ was given as a memorial to Charles Curd by his family. Mr. Curd was Chairman of the Congregational College, 1911–1925.