Toronto

Toronto parish wants to partner with condo developer to rebuild aging church

Cranes are in the sky all over Toronto, and one Catholic parish is taking advantage of the city's condo craze to rebuild an aging church.

St. Monica's Church would be rebuilt next to 44-storey residential tower

The new rendering for St. Monica's Parish located at 44 Broadway Ave., near Yonge and Eglinton. (Collecdev)

Cranes are in the sky all over Toronto, and one Catholic parish is taking advantage of the city's condo craze to revitalize an aging church.

St. Monica's Parish in midtown is working with builder Collecdev on a plan to tear down the existing church on Broadway Avenue and rebuild it adjacent to a 44-storey residential condo tower. 

The partnership will provide the church community with the hefty sums necessary to bring St. Monica's into the modern age, says James Milway with the Archdiocese of Toronto.

Milway says St. Monica's, originally erected on the site in 1906 and completely overhauled in 1959, needs an upgrade.

"It's functional, but it is just functional. It allows people to come and worship," he said.

"But it is not something that is good for the 21st century. It lacks accessibility," he told CBC Radio's Here and Now.

St. Monica's Parish at Yonge and Eglinton will be redeveloped into a new modern facility, including an attached residential tower. We spoke to a member of the Archdiocese of Toronto about the plans and what the structure will ultimately look like once completed. 6:55

Milway stressed that the signature materials inside the current church — statues and stained glass windows, for example — will be brought to the new location.

A 'unique application'

The redevelopment of church spaces has been trendy in recent years. But most projects end with former church ultimately being converted into private living spaces. 

In the case of St. Monica's, the partners have proposed tearing down the existing church, severing the property into two and selling one half to Collecdev. The money generated from the sale will be used to build a new, $17-million modern church in front of the tower.

A city decision on the proposal is expected in 2021. (Collecdev)

The property will also include housing options for retired Catholic priests.

Maurice Wager, president of Collecdev, says the proposed project is exciting and will optimize land use "both at a vertical level as well as within the community context."

Anna Bailão, city councillor and chair of the planning and housing committee, said in a statement to CBC Toronto that she is open to the proposal.

"As our city rapidly grows, innovation and new approaches should and must be considered to address our housing challenges and the St. Monica proposal is certainly a unique application."

A city decision on the project is expected in 2021.

With files from Lisa Naccarato

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