Looking for a heavenly real-estate opportunity? An old church that's on the market in Ladywood, Man., is generating interest from people who want to live in it.
Denise Shanoha says she has been approached by people expressing interest in the former church building, which she owns across the street from her general store in Ladywood, located about 70 kilometres northeast of Winnipeg.
Shanoha said business at the general store, which she opened three months ago, has been doing so well that she hasn't had time to dedicate to the church.
"I really don't want to sell the church, but I need the money. And this whole community knows that as well, so they're supporting me," she said Wednesday.
Wooden pews remain stacked up inside the building, which features stained-glass windows.
"Everyday there's someone who comes into the store [and asks], 'Do you know who is selling the church?' And I said, 'You're looking at her' and then the questions come, they give me their names and numbers," Shanoha said.
Shanoha said some, like her, want to turn the old church into a business, but she added that others have expressed interest in converting it into a residence.
Converting old churches into homes is happening in other Manitoba communities, like in Garson, where a century-old limestone building was purchased by Paul Bilsky in 2004.
"Wood floor to ceiling and just the detail, the stone on the outside, the history behind it — just all of it, really," Bilsky said.
"More and more rural churches are kind of losing their congregations and sitting empty, and many people would rather see them used," he added.
Bilsky said it was important for him to keep the old Presbyterian church close to its original state as much as possible, in order to preserve its historical significance.
In Winnipeg, the developer of a church-to-condominium conversion project in Osborne Village said that building's existing architecture is also being preserved.
"We put a few balconies in, added a few windows, but tried to keep the look in general very similar to what it would've been right from day one," said Mike Fast, who developed condos from the former First Church of Christ Scientist on River Avenue.