Nova Scotia

Demolition of Canadian Martyrs Church in Halifax to begin next month

Saint Mary's University, which owns the property, hopes Canadian Martyrs Church is torn down and the site landscaped by the end of the summer.

Roman Catholic church site to become part of Saint Mary's University campus

Work to demolish Canadian Martyrs Church on Inglis Street is expected to begin by the end of next month. (Brian MacKay/CBC)

The former Canadian Martyrs Church in south-end Halifax will be demolished this summer, a Saint Mary's University spokesperson confirmed Wednesday.

The university bought the 5,100-square-metre property from the Roman Catholic parish at the end of 2016. The church is located on Inglis Street, adjacent to the university.

"This is a valuable piece of land not so much because of its size but because of its location," university spokesperson Margaret Murphy said.

"It completes the campus as a university in one city block."

Demolition to begin in June

Two buildings on the site, the former church itself and an adjoining centre containing administrative offices and a gymnasium, will be torn down.

Some groups have indicated an interest in salvaging certain parts of the building, Murphy said. However, the contractor who is awarded the demolition job will decide if that can take place.

"They have the option with how they proceed with demolition. One option is certainly to dismantle the building if there's interest," she said.

But there won't be a lot of time to mull over that option. The university wants the work to begin at the end of June and be completed by the end of August.

Site to be landscaped

The tender indicates there is asbestos in the building, mostly in the basement and gym areas. There is also at least one area where lead paint is present.

The tender also requires the contractor to ensure the large trees on the property remain and are not disturbed.  

After the buildings and foundations are removed, the area will be landscaped and part of it could be used for parking in the short term.

Long-term plans for the site will be based on a recently adopted campus masterplan. 

According to Murphy, whatever is eventually built will suit the neighbourhood and the students' needs.