No decision has been made on the future use of the now vacant space next to the Anglican Cathedral
The parish hall next to St. Luke’s Anglican Cathedral on Albert Street East was reduced to rubble.
“It’s ongoing right now,” says James McShane, dean of the Diocese of Algoma and rector of St. Luke’s Cathedral.
“Demolition began on Saturday. Work will conclude with clearing debris and leveling the property, cleaning it properly over the next few days.”
McShane says there was no heritage designation on the property.
“The parish hall was quite a visionary design of its time. It served the church very well for many decades.”
“But society changed. The building’s suitability for potential uses just didn’t match.”
The original cathedral building on the site was consecrated as a parish church in 1870 by the Rt. Rev. Alexander Neil Bethune, Bishop of Toronto.
The parish hall was added at the additional cost of $8,000 in 1910.
Diocesan synods (large governance gatherings of clergy and lay non-clergy) were held in the parish hall until about 1970, when events grew too large for the building.
“As well as the Synod, events such as Sunday School, Junior and Girls Auxiliary, Anglican Youth Association, Women’s Auxiliary and more were held in the hall,” a statement read. history of the structure prepared for the Algoma University Diocesan Archives fonds.
“Of course, there have been necessary repairs, redecorations and renovations over the years, including replacing heating mechanisms, building additional storage space, repairing the roof, rebuilding entrance, interior modifications to kitchen, dining room, etc., redecoration of bathrooms, new exterior doors, etc.,” the document states.
“The cost of maintaining an older building can be very high,” McShane said.
“The leadership of the diocese and the cathedral has given much thought to the location of the building over the years.”
“A lot of studies have been done, but the building could not be maintained and continue to serve the church well in these changing times.”
“It went into decline over the years. It just got to a point where it was no longer sustainable.”
“The requirements for access have changed over the years. Its functionality in the life of the church, versus the costs of operation, maintenance and preservation, just didn’t line up,” McShane continued. .
“The building was aging and deteriorating. It had the potential to be a significant liability, especially since it was unused and unmaintained. It was the right time to demolish the building.”