Ajax Buys An Historic Church Building In Pickering Village

Ajax has decided to preserve some of history of Pickering Village by purchasing the St. Francis de Sales church building (they didn’t get the parking lot beside it).  It seemed like a steal:  buying a church for $50,000.

Then I started reading about the church.

It was built in 1871 by the renowned architect Henry Langley. it features an octagonal spire; stained glass windows which bear the names of some of the early founding families, and a steeply pitched roof marked by three rose-coloured trefoil window dormers.

Now, I have seen my share of old churches.  Although the floor boards are a little worn and the pews a little rickety, they still hold the spirit of the community inside.

I wouldn’t necessarily draw the same conclusion for the St. Francis de Sales church on Church Street, in Ajax.

The church  was falling into disrepair by 1952: the roof was sagging, and the top of the building was leaning out. The parish community thought they might just tear it down or fix it up. They decided the church still had life left in it, added steel reinforcements to the walls.

The building continued to deteriorate, and more reinforcements were added to keep the walls from falling out.  In 2005, the Catholic community in Ajax abandoned the whole building for a solid new foundation on Ravenscroft Road.

This is what Ajax boughta tired church.  They are looking for help, though.  They would like to give this building a second life.  Maybe one day, if it is not beyond repair, we will be able to enjoy a community gathering again under its fine dormers.

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