Ottawa

Old Outaouais church resurrected as recording studio, music venue

An Ottawa music lover has given a new life to an old stone church in the Outaouais by turning it into a recording studio, concert venue and artists' residence.

Church will host 1st concert this fall

Saint John the Evangelist Anglican was built in 1885 in Quyon, Que. It's now home to a recording studio-slash-arists' residence. (Erin Flynn)

An Ottawa music lover has given a new life to an old stone church in the Outaouais by turning it into a recording studio, concert venue and artists' residence.  

Erin Flynn bought the 132-year-old St. John the Evangelist Anglican Church in 2017, after it had been decommissioned for several years.

The church is found in the small community of Quyon​, Que., on the shores of the Ottawa River. 

"Being in the country, being with nature... as soon as we got here and walked in we kind of knew that this was the spot," said Flynn, the station manager at Ottawa community radio station CHUO.

"It sounded right, it felt right and it's not like anything else we could have found," she told CBC Radio's Ottawa Morning.

We hear how two former Ottawans are carving out a niche in West Quebec transforming a church into a concert venue, a recording studio and more. 7:26

The renovated space has held on to much of its past, still possessing the original floors and stained glass windows.

The church also has a kitchen where visitors can get a vegan meal, and artists can find privacy in the bell tower to work on their projects and look over the grounds. 

"It's very simple," Flynn said.

'It's been a dream'

Mike Dubue, a local composer and producer who previously fronted the band Hilotrons, called the church "a dream space to work in."

He said future plans involve starting a local market on the grounds, as well as installing a 35-millimetre video projector on the church's front lawn.

"[It's important to be] giving back to the community," Dubue said.

"We know so many people that want to be part of this with us, too. We have such a vast community that we know that it's a lot of fun involving lots of those people, as well."

Ottawa musician Keturah Johnson said she's using the space to work on her new album. 

"It's been a dream," she said. "We have been taking on the church as a new instrument to the album... trying to get the mood of the town and place involved in the album." 

A glimpse inside the church that Erin Flynn and Mike Dubue have converted into an Outaouais haven for music lovers. (Quyon Church )

Flynn said she hopes the church remains an important part of the community, which is home to only a handful of shops and services.

"We've talked about treading lightly and going slowly trying to see... already [what is] happening in the community, what are the needs, where we can fit in, how we can be helpful," she said. 

The church will host its first-ever concert in its new guise this fall. Canadian musician John K. Samson, former lead singer for The Weakerthans, will be performing Oct. 5. 

CBC Radio's Ottawa Morning