Monday, August 17, 2009

Day 229: The Oratory

Day 229: The Oratory, originally uploaded by susanvg.

St. Joseph's Oratory dominates the skyline in the western part of Montreal. Montreal is a city of churches and this is its largest. The building went up because of Brother André. According to the website of the oratory, about two million people visit yearly. This helps defray the huge cost of maintaining a structure of this size.

The number of people in Montreal going to churches on a regular basis has diminished. A number of churches have found new uses - turned into condominiums, a dance performance space, a library. Others share their space as concert venues, community centres etc. Still others have been sold to other religious groups and are serving a different population. I am all for a more secular society, inclusive of all people. However, these buildings played a part in the architectural history and social history of our city. I wonder if we can preserve this heritage through finding even more uses that are inclusive, reflecting the more multi-cultural face of Montreal.

1 comment:

  1. Interesting thoughts which, I wonder, are mostly applicable in the larger, urban settings. For example, while the decline in attendance is possibly similar, the reuse of the facilities is not an issue or a factor in the small community in which I live.

    I think this is an excellent photo ... thanks for sharing it.