Posts Tagged ‘christianity’
The Toronto Star‘s Allan Woods looks at how the religious archtiecturee of Québec is being repurposed for secular purposes.
Quebec’s religious real estate is being sold off and transformed for secular purposes at an alarming rate, raising concerns about the protection of the rich religious heritage of a province once partially run by priests and nuns.
Nurtured in the Catholic faith, Quebec has largely left behind religion in the half-century since the Quiet Revolution which, among other things, ended the practice of priests and nuns administering the province’s education and health systems.
Now the province is faced with a glut of under-used and expensive churches that can no longer be maintained or upgraded on the meagre donations of congregants. The result: a record 92 churches were sold in 2014, according to Quebec’s Religious Heritage Council.
Former churches in Quebec are now home to concert halls, circus schools, climbing gyms, public libraries, palliative-care centres, condominiums, community centres and daycares. One downtown Montreal church serves as a nordic spa and gym. Another in the town of Coaticook, near Sherbrooke, Que., has been turned into a glow-in-the-dark mini-golf course.
While the idea of a putting green in a century-old place of prayer might displease purists, the alternative — leaving churches to rot and eventually face the wrecking ball — is worse, said the Université de Québec à Montréal’s Lyne Bernier, who holds a Canada Research Chair in Urban Heritage.
“If we don’t try to come up with plans to try to reuse these buildings . . . then we’re demolishing them to put up new buildings that are insignificant in comparison and I think a society would be poorer as a result,” Bernier said.