Posted by: Manager / Associate Curator | October 12, 2019

Holy Cross Church

Responding to the growing population in the vicinity of Courtaulds, Holy Cross Parish was carved out of the parish of St. Felix de Valois on January 17, 1954, celebrating its first Eucharist almost one year later on Christmas Eve of 1954. Holy Cross was re-absorbed by St. Felix (albeit in a replacement church in a more viable location), celebrating its final Eucharist on January 7, 2017. The Diocese of Alexandria-Cornwall explained the rationale for the closure: “with the changing demographics, fewer people attending church on a regular basis and a lack of French speaking priests, it had become clear that three Francophone parishes were no longer needed. After consultation over several years with both the parishioners of the affected parishes and the Council of Priests, Archbishop Terrence Prendergast, the Apostolic Administrator of the Diocese of Alexandria-Cornwall, made the difficult decision to close Sainte-Croix (Holy Cross).” The new boundaries of St-Felix include everything in the City east of McConnell and south of Marleau.

Catholic schools frequently take the name of the parish in which they are situated, however, in this case, the school came first. All Catholic parishes within the City of Cornwall are direct or indirect off-shoots of Cornwall’s first Catholic parish, St. Columban, which began as a mission of St. Andrew’s Parish. Like Nativity and many other Francophone parishes, Holy Cross began as a bilingual parish, initially unable to sustain itself as a unilingual Francophone parish.

The now late Bishop Eugene P. LaRocque decided to strengthen the Francophone community by declaring as many bilingual Catholic parishes as possible to be unilingual French or English. As such, the Anglophone component of Holy Cross was encouraged to move to the newly-founded parish of St. Peter. Prior to the 1978 split, the 25 year-old bilingual parish had grown from a membership of 600 to 6,000 parishioners.

The rather plain concrete church’s physical dimensions were 45’ wide by 138’ long, originally sitting on 6 lots (250’ x 150’) purchased from John Lafave on the corner of Leonia and Easton.

In 1949, two additional lots were purchased from the same owner, resulting in the church becoming bordered by Anthony, Easton and Leonia.

The adjacent Holy Cross School has long-since ceased to function as an elementary school, eventually being demolished to create a new residential subdivision, as pictured.In February of 2019, the City received a Demolition Permit request from the new owner. This is what the former church looked like at that time.

The nave in 2019

Looking towards the loft

The main sanctuary

A heating pipe had ruptured, spewing steam throughout the basement hall.

At the time, the owner had tenants in the former rectory; his plan was to preserve the rectory, but demolish the church.

In the summer of 2019, rather than being demolished, the church was re-purposed as a Sikh temple.

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