Montreal

Quebec City's 134-year-old St-Jean Baptiste church to close its doors

People in Quebec City are trying to find a new use for a heritage church building. Église St-Jean Baptiste will hold its final mass on May 24 before closing its doors for good.

Église St-Jean Baptiste's final mass takes place May 24

The Second-Empire style church needs millions of dollars in renovations and restoration. (Paroisse Saint-Jean-Baptiste )

People in Quebec City are trying to find a new use for a century-old church closing its doors for good after its final mass this Sunday. 

Église St-Jean Baptiste, located on St-Jean Street in the heart of the city, was built in 1881. Church officials say the building needs about $10 million worth of repairs and renovations, which the parish can't afford. 

Dozens of people attended a meeting Monday to discuss possible uses for the building.

It would be important for me that it does not end up being condos.- Pascaline Lamarre

They suggested a range of options including a daycare, a library, a community centre, a theatre workshop, or a music studio.

Others insisted it should remain a house of worship.

Pascaline Lamarre attended the meeting and said that no matter what happens, the building must remain open to the community.

"It's a building the people have already paid for within the past century," she said. "It would be important for me that it does not end up being condos. In my opinion, that would not fit the people and the spirit of the neighbourhood."

Quebec's culture minister said her department could finance a significant portion of the church's restoration, if it falls under the right criteria. (Paroisse Saint-Jean-Baptiste )

Stewart Edwards, who also attended the meeting, said it is important to protect the building for future generations. 

"If we want to preserve the building for a thousand years then there's going to be a thousand years of different types of activities that go on inside the building" Edwards told CBC. 

"That will be for future generations to decide what they want to do with that. But we, our generation, was given a beautiful piece of architecture right in the middle of our community. I think it would be nice to pass that along."

Quebec Culture Minister Hélène David has said she is open to evaluating projects to find a new use for the building, adding that her department could finance up to 80 per cent of the restoration if it falls under the right criteria.

The final mass in the ornate church will take place on Sunday. (Paroisse Saint-Jean-Baptiste)

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