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Church being converted into gym and spa

sophie 158.jpgJust last week, the world's attention was focused on Rome, as Catholics and non-Catholics alike waited for the plumes of white smoke to float up from the chimney of the Vatican to announce the selection of a new pope.

But here in Quebec, many churches stand empty. Convents, monasteries and churches have been converted into condos or theatres.

And questions still remain about what to do with the real estate congregants have vacated.

A former Dominican church on St. Denis Street in downtown Montreal is now under renovation.

In April, new owners plan to open Le Saint-Jude gym and spa in the former sanctuary.

The design for the renovation won a Canadian Architect 2012 Award of Excellence.

The jury called architect Thomas Balaban's design "a refreshing solution for the elephant in the room of decommissioned, unprogrammed church structures often left stagnating in the neighbourhoods across the country."

See a photo album of Le Saint-Jude on our Facebook page.

Listen to Cinq à Six host Jeanette Kelly's conversation with one of the partners in the project, Tony Attanesco.


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(Photo credit: Tanya Birkbeck)