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Tuesday October 19th, 2010

Posted at 8:58pm

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Assumption Church's planned Heritage Centre (courtesy AHTF)

The future of the beginning of Windsor, Assumption Church — which we’ve written about extensively in the past — is undertaking a massive philanthropy project to restore the crumbling structure to it’s mid-1800s glory.

“It was the centre of Windsor, the gathering place for all things in the community,” said Anthony Daniels, auxiliary Bishop of the local Roman Catholic Diocese, at a media event at Assumption University Tuesday night.

Daniels talked about how Assumption church was founded at a time when the area now known as Windsor was being settled hundreds of years ago.

Assumption, originally a small chapel, formed the core of the tiny Sandwich community at the time, and the region grew outward from there.

Brick Damage (courtesy AHTF)

The present building, constructed between 1842 and 1845, utilized bricks made in Sandwich Town, and has stood in relatively good condition as both a religious and historic landmark for Windsor until recently.  In 2006, a study determined that Assumption Church was in need of major structural repairs — on the the order of $9.8 million.

Philanthropists and fundraisers are charged with the task of repairing this piece of Windsor’s history, and several sponsors for the project have already stepped up.  Gerald Freed of Ottawa Street’s Freeds announced his financial support during the event on Tuesday, along with the Rafih Auto Group who will be raffling off a car.  The Collavino Group, builders of the WFCU Centre and the new Freedom Tower in New York City announced they will be donating a piece of structural steel from the original World Trade Centre to be placed in a Peace Garden on Assumption’s property.

Assumption Site Overview (courtesy AHTF)

The lands surrounding the church and the neighboring University of Windsor and CAW Student Centre will be reshaped based on a plan created by Patrick Bollenberghe of MBTW Watchorn — the renowned architect and creator of Windsor’s original Riverfront Master Plan.  The structure of the church itself will undergo updates designed by architect Jason Grossi of Studio g+G architects.

Model of Assumption Church and its grounds by the University, created by g+G Architects

The Assumption project is expected to take five years to complete, and you can find more information at:  http://assumptionheritagetrust.org

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