NDG's Trinity Church set to close after 90 years

Anglican Diocese of Montreal says a solution could not be found to ensure "financial substantiality" for the church.

Anglican Diocese of Montreal says solution could not be found to ensure "financial substantiality"

Trinity Anglican Memorial Church, will close in 2017 at a date yet to be determined. (Google street view)

Trinity Anglican Memorial Church, the building that houses the NDG Food Depot on Sherbrooke W. and Northcliffe Ave., is set to close in 2017 at a date yet to be determined.

The Anglican Diocese of Montreal announced Thursday that the church will close, since "a solution could not be found that would ensure financial substantiality."

Executive Archdeacon Bill Gray told CBC that the church has been looking for a way to "revitalize Trinity for over a decade."

"Many have understood for some time that it was getting tougher and tougher to take on all the responsibilities of maintaining a church on that site," he said. 

Trinity was built in 1922 and officially opened in 1926. It was dedicated as a memorial to soldiers who died in World War I, and is classified as a Class B Heritage building. 

"Trinity Church was built in a day and age where you could seat 1,000 people," said Gray. "Trinity has a really vibrant core community ... but the building is beyond their capacity to maintain."

'Terrible' time for congregation

Parishioner Joyce Ellis told CBC she finds the decision to close the church 'disrespectful,' to the memory of the veterans who are memorialised on the walls.

"Don't let these people die in vain, their name just thrown away. Where will they put their names now?" she said.

She says the church has been an important place for her community and her family.

"It makes me feel terrible," she said. "This is the church my children were christened in. The church my children were married in. This is the church that I still go, I sing in the choir. Just gone like that, like we are nothing."

NDG Food Depot in need of new home

The NDG Food Depot has called the church's basement home since June 2013.

Daniel Rotman, the depot's executive director, says the community organization has been looking for a new home for years, with no success.

"The board has been aware of this possibility for quite some time and the board has been actively searching for a permanent solution for the past three years." 
Daniel Rotman is the executive director of the NDG Food Depot. (CBC)

He says real estate is limited in NDG and the three offers they've made have all been rejected.

Despite the church's closing, Rotman says the depot will remain open until they can find a more permanent home.

"People depend on the emergency food baskets, the free community meals, the cooking classes and the community resources and support that the NDG Food Depot provides. Right now there is no alternative or replacement in the service area we cover."

Preparing for an unknown future

For now, little is known about the future of the building or the land it sits on. 

Gray confirmed to CBC that they are in close contact with the NDG Food Depot and that "plans are underway with the leadership of Trinity Memorial Church to help its parishioners find a new spiritual home."

He went on to say that the annual Christmas service would go on as planned ahead of the 2017 closure.

With files from Shaun Malley, CBC Daybreak