NCC seeking public input on century-old Gatineau convent

The National Capital Commission is asking for the public to weigh in on the future of a 107-year-old Gatineau, Que., convent site near the Ottawa River shoreline.

Congrégation des Servantes de Jésus-Marie region's last cloistered religious community

Members of the Congrégation des Servantes de Jésus-Marie worship inside their rue Laurier convent in Gatineau, Que., in 2017. The NCC is seeking public input on the future of the convent, which it purchased in November 2016. (Josée Guérin/Radio-Canada)

The National Capital Commission is asking for the public to weigh in on the future of a 107-year-old Gatineau, Que., convent near the Ottawa River shoreline.

The lands belonging to the Congrégation des Servantes de Jésus-Marie were purchased by the NCC in November 2017 from the community of nuns, whose numbers have shrunk over the decades.

The cloistered religious community has become too small to make full use of the main 82-room building, the NCC said. The nuns are now in the midst of relocating to a new home in the city's Mont-Bleu neighbourhood.

The NCC is planning to blend the convent and surrounding lands into Jacques-Cartier Park after March 2020, when the current lease runs out.

Founded in 19th century

The community was founded in Masson, Que., in 1894 before establishing the rue Laurier convent in 1902. The convent was built in 1911, with the chapel added in 1926.

The nuns comprise the last remaining cloistered religious community in the Outoauais.

The NCC said it wants to preserve the nine-hectare site's historical importance, while also creating a space that allows park visitors to wander through the main building.

People who want to weigh in on the convent's future have until Oct. 24 to fill out an online survey.

The public consultation will be used to set guidelines for a future request for proposals for the site, the NCC said.

The National Capital Commission purchased the convent and surrounding lands from the Congrégation des Servantes de Jésus-Marie in 2016. The NCC is now seeking public input on the future of the building, which is surrounded by Jacques-Cartier Park. (Radio-Canada)

With files from Radio-Canada