169 – The Gothic Arches

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This famous Saint John building, locals have come to know as the Gothic Arches, is designated a ‘local historic place’ on the Canadian register.  It’s significance lies in it’s history and amazing architectural design.   The large stones conveyed a message; Saint John would be more resistant, after the Great Fire of 1877, destroyed the first wooden Centenary Methodist church built here in 1839.  Because of it’s large seating capacity, in May 1883, this venue hosted the 100th anniversary celebration of the landing of the United Empire Loyalists.

The Church of Canada was created in 1925, and this church became known as the United Church of Canada, until 1999 when the dwindling congregation moved on to smaller quarters.  For a few years, this grand building, which takes up almost a whole city block, was vacant and a target of vandalism.  Some interested citizens attempted to turn it into a multi-purpose center, but it was clear the building was obviously not being cared for or kept up properly, as it continued to decay.

Eventually the property was put up for sale a couple years ago, listed for $400 000, before being purchased by it’s new owner Jody McCairns.  The plan is keeping with a trend across Canada of turning abandoned churches into condominiums, as congregations continue to age and shrink.  There has been no visible progress on the project, but real estate agents have stated the project is where they expected it to be and could be boosted by possible economic projects such as the Energy East Pipeline, which they hope will increase housing demand if it makes it here.

Gothic Arches on CTV News – http://atlantic.ctvnews.ca/

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