Historic Assumption Church Named A Top 10 Endangered Place In Canada

Tuesday May 26th, 2015

Posted at 4:41pm

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Assumption Church has been named one of the top 10 endangered places in Canada by Heritage Canada.

The list is released annually with a goal to bring national attention to sites at risk due to neglect, lack of funding, inappropriate development and weak legislation.

The National Trust uses three primary criteria to determine the 10 final sites for inclusion on the list:  Significance of the site, urgency of the threat/potential for a positive and creative solution and evidence of active community support on the ground for its preservation.

The trust says that Assumption Church made the list because the church is a prominent landmark steeped in history—a Gothic Revival tour de force serving the oldest continuously operating Roman Catholic parish in Ontario, with roots dating back to the early 18th century.

Assumption was built in 1842 on land donated by the Huron Nation, the present church is associated with an earlier Jesuit mission for the local Huron and Ouendot First Nations; with service to the area’s first French farmers; and with the founding of Assumption College, which ultimately became the University of Windsor.

Owned by the Roman Catholic Diocese of London, and located on a notable site east of the Ambassador Bridge and adjacent to the University of Windsor, the building is loved by parishioners and the wider community.

The Trust says that Assumption is endangered because substantial funds estimated at $10 to $15 million are needed to make essential structural, electrical, mechanical and life safety repairs and upgrades.

They note that there is a will in the community to save the building, and optimism that the funds can be found, and that major donors have come forward offering multi-million dollar contributions.  However, “fundraising efforts have been a rollercoaster ride of hopes raised and dashed. A 2009 fundraising campaign led by prominent local figures was terminated by the Bishop without explanation.”

The Diocese of London announced on Labour Day weekend 2014 that the church would close, and the last mass was held on November 2nd, 2014.  Weekend masses were moved to the closed Holy Name of Mary church on McEwan.  The Rosary Chapel, meeting hall and parish offices remain open on the Assumption site.

A $10 million donation was offered by a private donor in September, but in April the Diocese said that it did not materialized,

The report concludes that “There is no indication of the Diocese’s intentions for the future of the building.”

 

 

 

 

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