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Churches preserved to benefit the population

Old black and white photograph taken in summer, close-up of a white wood church facade, the steeple is placed at the top of a tower on the church’s left side.

Sainte-Thérèse-de-l’Enfant-Jésus Catholic chapel around 1935, Vaudreuil-sur-le-Lac

Churches bear a significant identity value for most local communities since they play such an important part in local and family histories. Beyond religious practice, the church symbolizes a collective memory that is of great heritage and historical importance.

Color photograph taken in winter, close-up of a white wood church facade, the steeple is placed at the top of a tower on the church’s left side, in front, a sign reads: City Hall.

City hall of Vaudreuil-sur-le-Lac, 2014

Throughout the last centuries and until very recently, it was with great effort that the parishioners saw to the construction, decoration and maintenance of the church. This is why citizens are so affected when a church closure is announced.

With this in mind, many municipalities choose to purchase the building in order to conserve it within the community. Conversion projects tend to gravitate around community, social, cultural or even sports centers benefitting the population. These new mandates have the advantage of preserving the relationship between citizens and the building, as it remains a place to gather.

Color photograph taken in winter, close-up of church facade on which the lower part of the walls is covered in stones, the gabled roof contains stained glass windows and there are trees on either side.

Saint-Pierre Catholic church, Pointe-des-Cascades, 2018

The conversion of a church is a long and complex process which requires time, willpower, and energy on many parts. It requires a wide range of expertise, a strong mobilization from the population and important financial resources. It is without a doubt a political and social choice.

Color photograph, church interior with exposed curved wood beams and framework

Inside Saint-Pierre Catholic church, Pointe-des-Cascades, 2015

If the private purchase of a church does not guarantee its permanent preservation, its purchase by the municipality seems, pehaps, a better long-term solution.