Ontario church built in 1871, listed for $1
The delicate stained glass and ornate wooden detailing are sure to enthrall any person who steps foot inside St. Jude’s Anglican Church in Brantford, Ont., but the pews have been empty for two years and the 10,000 square-foot space is being listed for sale for just $1.
The church was built in 1871 but closed down in 2015 due to a dwindling congregation.
Laura Beth Bugg, an assistant professor for the Study of Religion at University of Toronto, said that trend has been happening more frequently in recent years.
“You have an aging population in Protestant churches … and aging buildings themselves,” she said. “So the aging congregations that used to pay to support these buildings aren’t able to maintain them anymore.”
Bugg added that cultural and demographic changes are also having an effect on the increase in traditional churches closing.
WATCH: St. Jude’s Anglican Church in Brantford listed for $1. Farah Nasser has more.
“Pipelines of migrations — say from Western Europe — that used to be filling the pews in these churches have ended over the years,” she said.
“The new pipelines of migrations that we’ve seen since the 1960s and 70s are now coming from South Asia, from China — and these migrants are practicing Hindus, Buddhists and Muslims.”
Ipsos polling, conducted for Global News, showed that while 70 per cent of Canadians were raised Christian, only 48 per cent still identify as being Christian.
Roy Rodrigues, a real estate broker with Remax Escarpment, said he had a difficult time putting a price on the church and decided to list it for $1 so that perspective buyers could determine its value.
“It’s worth a lot more money than what people may perceive it’s worth,” Rodrigues said.
Rodrigues’ business partner, George Burtniak, said putting a higher price on such a unique space could have driven away potential buyers.
“We could put a price of $500,000 [or] $700,000 … [but] somebody seriously looking at it for a new congregation thinks, ‘Well we can only afford five.’ The developer thinks ‘Well, I can afford a million,'” he said.
“It’s like a card game. Whoever has the best hand will win.”
Tom Robertson, a potential buyer, said he was interested in purchasing the church to convert it into a multipurpose space.
“The architecture is always beautiful, so much money and detail and love was spent on the interior and the exterior,” he said.
Rodrigues said the church had received a lot of interest from prospective buyers, with close to 400 inquiries through calls, emails and viewings.
The church received numerous offers on Monday evening and Burtniak said they are currently being looked at by the seller.
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