Our Churches, along History Path

Churches

The religious history of Point-Saint-Charles is characterized by the many denominations which built churches there. The Protestants located their houses of worship in that sector south of the train tracks which split the neighbourhood in two, while both French and English Catholics chose the sector north of the tracks for their churches. The turn of the 20th century saw the arrival of Poles and Ukrainians, the former roman Catholics and the latter Byzantine. In the 1920s, a wide-reaching consolidation took place among the Protestant churches which resulted in several merged congregations. Toward the end of the twentieth century, Muslims, Sikhs, Koreans, and Philippines started settling in the area and setting up their own congregations, in some cases recycling buildings earlier denominations had abandoned. Jehovah witnesses built their own Kingdom Hall on rue du Centre.
The histories of many churches of Pointe-Saint-Charles are marred by fire.

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Grace Church, Anglican

620 Fortune St.

Starting in the early1850s, Anglican immigrants from the British Isles came to settle in Goose Village and Griffintown, both located near the Grand Trunk Railway (GTR) and the Victoria Bridge sites, which were soon to begin construction.

To serve this population, the first places of worship were located in quarters owned by the GTR, until the railway needed them to house its workers’ families. At this point, worshippers were offered an empty railway car for their Sunday gatherings.

In 1871, a church was built on Wellington St. at the corner of Centre St. The site was a generous gift from Mr. Charles John Brydges, the GTR’s General Manager. It was named Grace Church in honour of his daughter. This church would become the first parish in Point Saint Charles.

Over the years, the congragation outgrew the building. So, in 1891 the site was sold back to the GTR for $20,000 and the parish acquired another one from the Congrégation de Notre-Dame, farther west on Wellington St. at the corner of Fortune St. The second Grace Church, the current building, opened on September 1892. Aside from worship, the parish also became an important place for community life with a choir, theatre groups, baseball, football and hockey.

A few years ago, the church was sold since the number of parishiners was no longer sufficient to take care of the upkeep. The church now has quarters at 620 rue Fortune, where services are held every Sunday and one Wednesday a month. The church also serves a noonday meal.
 

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St. Matthews, Prebyterian Church
Mac-Vicar Hall

579-581 Charon St.

In 1857, this congregation went under the name of the Point Saint Charles Mission. Meetings were held every two weeks in the ticket office of the Grand Trunk Railway Depot. A Sunday school was also started and it had three teachers and 17 students.

A piece of land was purchased on Congregation St. in 1858 to build the first church. Its capacity was 420 and in 1860, the Mission became St. Matthew’s Church.

With its growing congregation, the church soon became too small. So in 1890-91, construction began on a new church, at the corner of Wellington and Bourgeois Streets. At the same time, Mac-Vicar Hall was also built on Charon St. to house the Sunday school.

Three times, in 1912, in 1915, and again in 1924, the community voted not to join the United Church, retaining their independence instead.

The fire on January 4, 1926, left only the walls standing. In 1927, a new church seating 1,000 people was built. The architects were Maxwell & Pitts.

The community marked its centenary in 1957.

Fire would strike again in 1977 and level the church. Thereafter, services were held in Mac-Vicar Hall.

Since June 1999, St. Matthew’s serves the Korean Presbyterian community.

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Centenary United Methodist Church

585 Fortune St.

In 1864, Point Saint Charles’ first Methodist church opened on the corner of Wellington and Charon Streets. In 1891, a new, bigger church was built and given the name Centenary Church in honour of the centenary of the Methodist Church in Canada. It cost $32,000 and could seat 950. The congregation counted 400 families and its Sunday School was Montréal’s largest. The Hope Chapel on Ryde St was also built, served for ten years and, then was sold. It is still standing today.

Centenary joined the United Church of Canada in 1926.

In 1950, fire ravaged the church. It was rebuilt on a smaller scale, with only 250 seats and at a cost of $70,000.

The Mount Zion Seventh Day Adventists bought the church for $300,000 in 1990. The front and side walls date from 1891.

Since the church’s sale, Centenary United Church has been holding religious services in the presbytery at 585 Fortune St.
 

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Main Memorial Church
(Point St. Charles Congregational Church)

First kown as the Point St. Charles Congregational Church, it was a branch of the Cavalry Congregationalist Church. Congregants purchased Saint-Mathews Presbyterian church for their services. Sunday school was held in O’Brien Hall, a gift of the O’Brien family.
A new church was constructed at the corner of Hibernia and Wellington, from 1906 to 1913. The building was consacrated March 10, 1912. In 1925, it was renamed Main Memorial Church, in honor of Rev. Arthur W. Main, pastor from 1906 to 1913. The church was closed in 1962 and destroyed by fire a few years thereafter.

 

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St. Gabriel Church                                                                           (English-speaking Roman Catholic Church)

2157 du Centre St.

The construction of the Victoria Bridge and the enlargement of the Lachine Canal attracted a great number of Irish immigrants to Point Saint Charles. By 1871, 74% of the immigrants spoke English of whom 28% were Irish Catholics. In 1875, the parish of St. Henri built a small mission chapel at the corner of Centre and Laprairie Streets. The Irish community was ceded a piece of land by the Sulpicians. This lot, located on the block formed by Laprairie, Manufacturer (Augustin-Cantin), Island and Centre Streets, enabled the parish to respond to the needs of a growing population. Between 1889 and 1895, the parish church was raised at the corner of Centre and Laprairie Streets. St. Gabriel Church had become a major meeting place for the Irish community. This block would eventually include the Centre Louis Riel, a part of the École Chauveau (Decision House), the churches, and the rectories.

In 1956, a fire would destroy the interior of the church and the two bell towers. Reconstruction of the interior and major modifications to the façade would be undertaken in 1959. The parish was a beacon of the Irish presence in Montréal. Every year, plays by Irish playwrights were performed and people took part in the St. Patrick’s Day Parade. After St. Anne’s Church in Griffintown was torn down in 1970, the Order of Ancient Hibernians’ puts on its annual march to the Black Stone from St. Gabriel’s.
 

 

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Église Saint-Charles-Borromée
(French-speaking Roman Catholic Church)

2111 du Centre St.

At first, St. Gabriel Church was able to serve the entire Roman Catholic population in Point Saint Charles. But in 1882 and 1883, French Canadians requested their own parish from the archbishop with no result. Then, in 1883, two more fruitless requests and most of all immediately after the remark by Father James Salmon from the pulpit one spring Sunday inciting French Canadians to found their own parish, a delegation headed off to the Archbishop Fabre. His Excellency assured them they would have their own parish.

Later that same year, Father Siméon Rouleau, the new parish’s first priest, oversaw the construction of a small wooden chapel built where the rectory now stands. This was done by the parishoners, laboring day and night to finish it in just two weeks’ time.

Soon, the small wooden church became too small and the congregation began to think about building a proper church. The parish hired Maurice Perrault & Albert Mesnard to design it. Between 1889 and 1891, the present foundation with a one storey structure was built. Completion took place from 1901 to 1905.

In 1913, fire ravaged the church. Reconstruction, using the same foundation and other surviving elements would be done according to the plans of architects Honoré MacDuff and Ludger Lemieux.

To this day, people still go to admire its magnificent interior, to listen to its organ, No. 646, by the world famous Casavant Co. of St. Hyacinthe and the bells, made by French firm Amédée Bollée. The exquisite gold brocade vestments survived the fire and are still in use. The three main altars were made in Italy from Carrara marble and the balustrade, in New York.
 

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Baptist Church (1868-1985)

Corner Liverpool and Wellington

This church was the third one built in Point Saint Charles by the Baptist cummunity. The first one opened in 1858, the second, in 1891, but continued growth forced the congregation to seek new quarters yet again and a new church opened its doors in 1900. Architect Arthur J. Cooke designed the Neo-Gothic church using a triangular plan that is symmetrical from the entrance.

In 1985, the church building was sold to become the Gurdwara Sikh Temple. Since then, you will see worshippers taking their shoes off before going inside, as is custumary among the Sikhs.

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Holy Trinity Church

1670 du Centre St.
Erected in 1933

June 11, 1916 marked the first mass celebrated for the Polish community. It was held at Saint-Charles parish school on Island St. From 1917 to 1933, the community met at Saint-Joseph’s, on Richmond St.

On October 4, 1933, Bishop P. Gauthier officially declared the parish of Holy Trinity officially opened. Its priests were Franciscan. The services were held in Polish, with one mass in English on Sundays at 11:00 a.m. Childreen took Polish language lessons courses in the church basement on Saturday mornings and religious instruction was given once a month.

The frescoes in the choir are the work of Stanislas Kalski. The stained glass windows of St. Francis, John Paul II and Maximillien Kolbé* were produced by the Guido Nincheri Studio in 1991. This church serves the Polish community in Montréal’s Southwest Borough.

*Maximillien Kolbé was a Polish Franciscan who died at Auschwitz on August 14, 1941 at the age of 47. Pope John Paul II canonized him on October 10, 1982.

Architect René Charbonneau designed the church.
 

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Holy Spirit,                                                                                     Byzantine Rite Ukrainian Catholic Church

1785 Grand Trunk

The first wave of Ukranian immigrants came to Canada at the end of the 19th century. Many took the government’s offer of land in the West and settle there but there was also those who chose to work and live in Montreal.

1919 saw the first celebration of a Byzantine Rite service in Point Saint Charles when Father Theodore Dwuleet blessed the baptismal water at St. Gabriel’s on Centre St.

In the early 1920s, one-third of the Ukrainian population in Montréal lived in Point Saint Charles and by 1931, a committee was elected to set up a Ukrainian parish there. In 1932, Father Josaphat Jean, a French Canadian and friend of the Ukrainian community, acquired a piece of land to build a church.

Construction of the Holy Spirit Church was finished in 1948. Its onion dome is typical of the Byzantine style. Its blue interior boasts noteworthy murals. This church serves the Ukrainian community in Montreal’s Southwest Borough.

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Mount Zion Seventh Day Adventist Church

2020 Wellington St.

This congregation came to Pointe-Saint-Charles in 1976 and its first service was celebrated at Lorne School on Coleraine St.

That same year, they rented St. Matthew’s Presbyterian Church at the corner of Wellington and Bourgeoys streets. When fire destroyed the church in 1977, the community moved to the Presbyterians’ Parish Hall on Charon St.

Then, in January 1978, they purchased a meeting house at 2558 St. Charles St., which itself would fall victim to fire on August 14, 1988. Although this was a severe trial, the congregation could take consolation in the fact that no one was injured. For a very short period, services were held at Bethany United Church at 3009 Wellington St. in Verdun.

On April 28, 1989, the congregation bought the Centenary United Church at the corner of Wellington and Charon Streets and as of May 13, 1989, officially took the name of Mount Zion.

Worship is conducted in a very sober meeting room with kneelerless benches. The parish hall, used for a variety of other activities is on the same floor. There are two choirs: one for adults and one for children.

The parish’s 100 or so members come mainly from Montreal’s Southwest Borough.
 

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Église Saint-Jean-l’Évangéliste

590 Fortune St.

Among the many circumstances that led Joseph Charbonneau, Archbishop of Montréal, to found a new parish in Pointe-Saint-Charles was that part of the population found it hard to get to Saint Charles’. The Parish of Saint-Jean-Évangéliste was thus begun on January 17, 1946, and Reverend Henry Gaboury was its first priest,

The Congrégation de Notre-Dame sold the parish the land on which the rectory and the church were to be built, just behind the residence occupied by the teaching sisters on Wellington St. That residence has since been demolished and replaced by the Dublin-Fortune Residence.

On March 24, 1946, the parishioners met in the basement of Saint-Charles’ for the first mass, where upon it was decided that the parishioners would celebrate mass in there at 9:30 a.m., while their own church was being built.

Then, on March 27, the new priest celebrated his first High Mass in the Congrégation de Notre-Dame chapel. That same day, he set his office up in the nuns’ residence, until the rectory would be completed.

In 1964, the church choir was renovated with volunteer help by a few citizens. Artist Charles Daudelin created a beautiful baptismal font, tabernacle, and sanctuary lamp, all in bronze.

When the Église Saint-Jean was sold to the Montréal Filipino Seventh Day Adventist Church in September 1998, Daudelin works were turned over to the Building and Sacred Art Committee of the Diocese of Montréal

Architect: Lucien Parent

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Montreal Filipino Seventh Day Adventist Church

590 rue Fortune

See église Saint-Jean-l’Évangéliste

Gurdwara,                                                                                             Sikh Temple (since 1985)

See Baptist Church

The Kingdom Hall of the Jehovah’s Witnesses

2525 du Centre St.

In 2002, the Jehovah’s Witnesses scored quite feat building their Kingdom Hall on Centre St.in less than two weeks, thanks to the help of the church members. The meeting hall seats three hudred and is used by three congregations: Ville-Émard (French-speaking), Universal Congregation (English-speaking), and the Chinese Congregation. Most worshipers come from Verdun, Saint-Henri, Petite-Bourgogne and Pointe-Saint-Charles.

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