Historic Cornwall – Lefave

Lefave was one of the early suburbs in the former Cornwall Township that became a Cornwall neighbourhood on January 1, 1957 when the City annexed much of the Township.  The name Lefave no longer appears on Cornwall maps.  Lefave encompassed a three block area between Anthony and Leonia from the River north.

Holy Cross Church and School were once at the heart of the neighbourhood.

Catholic schools frequently take the name of the parish in which they are situated, however, in this case, the school came first.

108 Anthony_Holy Cross Church_1984_ext front_WMThe rather plain concrete church’s physical dimensions were 45’ wide by 138’ long, originally sitting on 6 lots (250’ x 150’) purchased from John Lefave on the corner of Leonia and Easton on March 5, 1945. In 1949, two additional lots were purchased from the same owner, resulting in the church property becoming bordered by Anthony, Easton and Leonia.

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.

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.

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.

108 Anthony_Holy Cross Church_2018-07-18_WMShortly after this photo was taken in 2018, developer’s plans to demolish the church were scrapped.

Instead in 2019 it became a Sikh Temple.

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